Where’d You Go, Bernadette
By Maria Semple
A Book Review by Frankie Brazelton
8 out of 10 Muddy Crowns
A Quirky Adventure with Spunk
If there’s one thing any reader can tell you about this novel, it’s that it is original and creative in its structure. That alone is refreshing for the avid reader! This story is told through a series of emails, faxes, and all sorts of varying forms of documents and communications i.e. report card, TEDtalk transcript, and passenger log. This novel is incredibly well thought out and designed for a unique reading experience. As a fanatic of the vampire genre, my instinct was to think that this style is paying homage to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Surely Maria Semple drew inspiration from those letters between Stoker’s ill-fated lovers? I could be wrong, but I like to draw attention to that connection.
The audacious plot is centered on the mysterious disappearance of the idiosyncratic title character: Bernadette Fox. From Seattle to Washington, and Argentina to Antarctica, Bernadette’s temerarious actions prove to set in motion life-altering consequences.
Mother to a brilliant and vivacious daughter, Bee, and wife to Microsoft genius, Elgie, Bernadette’s life is anything but conventional. Living in a dilapidated former home for girls, and doing everything in her power to avoid the public, Bernadette becomes a recluse and eventually hires a virtual assistant from the opposite side of the globe to accomplish the simplest of tasks for her. However, this soon proves to be the catalyst for the ensuing adventure that will test the strength of marriage, the bond between a mother and daughter, and the sanity of a person who has long been haunted by a past defeat.
Peppered with colorful characters, this lively novel amazes the reader with Semple’s ability to present the story through so many different eyes. She’s a master of disguises, proving than she can be the voice of a myriad of characters from all walks of life.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an intelligent and spirited book. A great novel to start the New Year!