People like you must create. If you don’t create Bernadette, you will become a menace to society.
Prior to reading this book I was suffering from Writer’s Block and to quote this book, I was becoming a menace; a little naughty, very mischievous and a big fan of sarcasm. I had also reached new levels in clumsiness and don’t get me started on my car parking abilities. Then I read this book and everything made sense.
This book is one of those which you read over the summer and you will still be thinking about it while shovelling in your Christmas dinner.
If you love a sassy voice, a story told through a lively mix of police and FBI reports, emails, school letters, a teenage daughter’s commentary and an unforgettable cast of characters then you will love this book.
Here’s the blurb: (taken from Goodreads).
Bernadette Fox has vanished.
When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where’d You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother.
Here’s my review:
The humour in this is fabulous. Maria Semple is the queen of comedy. I particularly enjoyed Bernadette’s correspondence with Manjular, her ‘virtual assistant from India.’ The sublime plot thread about the blackberries was hilarious and Bernadette’s ex-friend, Audrey’s emails to Elgin’s (Bernadette’s husband) personal assistant are chuckle inducing.
I loved the voice of Bee, Bernadette’s plucky teenage daughter. Bee is a great character who decides to investigate the disappearance of her mother. There were times when I wanted to climb inside the book and hug Bee. The love she has for her mum is so adorable:
I can pinpoint that as the single happiest moment of my life, because I realized then that Mom would always have my back. It made me feel giant. I raced back down the concrete ramp, faster than I ever had before, so fast I should have fallen, but I didn’t fall, because Mom was in the world.
This is a hilarious but tragic and poignant story of a woman going through a personal crisis. If you have been through any form of personal crisis you will instantly warm to Bernadette. Her hell in suburbia is so relatable.
As you get further into the book you can see why she hates leaving the house and hates the other parents at her daughter’s school.
Reading this story is like following a trail of breadcrumbs. In every email, school letter and police report there is a little crumb of Bernadette’s journey into her crisis and you slowly get to piece together this amazing character.
The deeper I got into this book the more I loved Bernadette and her daughter.
This book is funny, witty, quirky and at times heartbreaking. It is an unforgettable reading experience.
Favourite quotes are:
That’s right,’ she told the girls. ‘You are bored. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it’s boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.
My heart started racing, not the bad kind of heart racing, like I’m going to die. But the good kind of heart racing, like, Hello, can I help you with something? If not, please step aside because I’m about to kick the shit out of life.
I also adored the cover and book spine – I love a book which looks good sticking out of a handbag.
Go read it today, it’s fab!
If you fancy reading this click here.
On Thursday I will be doing a special blog post for one of my favourite authors who is doing a giveaway. So don’t miss my post on Thursday! So exciting.