Musings on personal growth, books, motherhood, writing, and more.
I adore this novel, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. It is refreshingly original—I can’t think of any book I’ve read that is even remotely like it—yet also accessible, engaging, and full of real-life relevance. I listened to it as an audiobook, and it was hard to push pause!
The novel is structured as a book of documents (such as letters, emails, and articles) compiled by Bee, the precocious teenage daughter of a high-level Microsoft engineer and a creative, award-winning architect—Bernadette—whose life has gradually fallen apart. We learn at the very beginning of the book, through Bee’s narration, that Bernadette will go missing; then Bee’s book of collected documents walk us through the story to show what happened and why.
The pacing and suspense of the story are perfect—as I said, I never wanted to stop reading. Humorous moments that made me laugh out loud (literally!) are mixed with moments of characters’ raw feelings, pivotal insights, and gradual transformations.
Personally, I relate strongly to Bernadette’s feeling of isolation from a culture she doesn’t fit in with and people who don’t understand her. Also, in every character—but especially Bee—I appreciate the willingness to be genuine—to feel and express whatever one is feeling, without self-judgment. The book left me yearning to go live in its world with these interesting and authentic characters!