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.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette is Maria Semple's second novel. A couple of years ago, I enjoyed reading her first, This One Is Mine (here's my review of This One Is Mine in case you missed it). If Maria Semple's new book was anything like her debut, I knew I'd be getting a smart and entertaining novel. Where'd You Go, Bernadette far exceeded my expectations. I loved this wonderful book that combines the moving and the hilarious, poking fun at the absurd extremes of social, parenting, and professional overachievers. There's satire and emotional pain, hilarity and seriousness, all mixed up with an amusing glimpse at Seattle life.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette is new this month from Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group. Check out the book and the author on Facebook.
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Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book to facilitate this review. This post is not compensated and reflects my personal opinion that may differ from yours.