Friday, September 5, 2014

Julie's Review: Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Author: Maria Semple
Series: No
Publication Date: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Length: 9hrs and 39 minutes
Narrator: Kathleen Wilhoite
Obtained: Mine via Audible
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A clever story with lots of humor and heart.
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle - and people in general - has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic. To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence - creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

Review: Where'd You Go, Bernadette is a wonderful story about the love between a mother and daughter, when the mother doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the mom's. See Bernadette is pretty much a genius when it comes to architecture but she gave that career up and has been living the life of a stay at home mom since Bee was born. To say that's made her a little off, is to say the least. Bernadette has, in a lot of ways, lost her $%!@. Having said that she is fiercely protective of her daughter, Bee; who in turn is protective of Bernadette.

There is much to chuckle at during the course of the novel. It is funny, it is honest and it is an interesting look at someone who has gone a little over the edge. Bernadette and Elgy have both receded into their own worlds. Except his is more commonplace, the workforce. You see, Elgy is a big wig at Microsoft and spends a lot of time working on his project, Samantha 2, so he's rarely home.

Of course, Bee goes to a private school and with that come the mother politics. Based on the last couple books that I have read dealing with mom's, I'm not so sure women should rule the world, man can we be bitchy and we are all guilty of it. Is it all a bit extreme, of course it is, which makes you able to chuckle through it.

I listened to it via Audible and thought that Ms. Wilhoite did a fantastic job with all the different characters and dialects. You know when she was Bee, Bernadette or any other character. I imagine that reading all the emails and letters might have been a little off putting for some but it was wonderful to listen to. I feel like the emails showed the insight to Bernadette's issue(s) and it connected Bee to her mom in a way that she might not have known.

If you are looking for a sweet story that does address some difficult issues, then I highly recommend Where'd You Go, Bernadette. I can't wait to see what Maria Semple writes next.



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