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Monday, June 1, 2015

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? | Maria Semple

Where’d You Go is a comedy novel about an ex-architect, Bernadette. She struggles after an embarrassing event that ruins her career, and causes her to become agoraphobic. Her bizarre behavior causes never-ending feuds with her neighbors, tension with her husband, admiration from her daughter, and ultimately, her disappearance. For a more complete summary, you can go here.

This is definitely a quirky and unique story. The format is a story composed by Bernadette’s daughter, Bea. She creates a compilation of receipts, emails, police reports, letters, and her personal anecdotes in order to find her missing mother. I thought the formatting was really original and definitely added to the story. My main struggle with it was that I never knew when to stop reading. Usually chapters are checkpoints for when to take a break from reading—or to go to sleep. However, in this book, all the documents run together with only a few section headers to break it up. The formatting also made it confusing to determine what was going on in the beginning. Although, it became much clearer pretty quickly. 

The characters reminded me of the families from fancy private schools that are always trying to one-up each other, either through involvement in the school, big parties, or fancy houses. It was interesting to see satirical take on that, as well as on families in general.

I really enjoyed this story. It’s not one of my favorite books, but it definitely enjoyable and was not predictable—which I always appreciate in a story. I also give it a lot of props for going beyond the typical structure of a normal book. Also, the dynamic characters all had a lot of flaws, but I found something to like about all of them. 

If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

 ****   4/5 Stars

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