Sunday, October 19, 2014

Whatever Week 3 "Where Did You Go Bernadette?"

The other day I read "Where Did You Go Bernadette? " by Maria Semple.  I found it through a reader of a previous book review blog post.  Brandi of Don't Disturb This Groove mentioned she was reading and enjoying it.  Since I had just put The Outlander Series on ice for a bit, I was reading nothing else and this quirky tale was a huge relief from Scotland in the mid 1700's.

 The book is set in current day Seattle where the Fox family relocated from California when Elgin's  (the dad in the story) business is absorbed by Microsoft.  Along with the move comes an overwhelming, time consuming, all encompassing  job promotion.  Bernadette ( the mom ) moves, leaving  her career as an award winning architect behind. They choose  a crumbling monstrosity needing severe rehabilitation as their home. ( Until later in the book we have no idea WHY the renovation never occurred.)  Add the birth of a sickly baby, and a major anxiety issues for mom and you have the setting for a pretty interesting tale of family and community dysfunction.

Fast forward many years. Bee ( the now 15 year old baby) is enrolled at Galer Street School “a place where compassion, academics and global connectitude join together to create civic-minded citizens of a sustainable and diverse planet.”   This is a school where only excellence  and excellent students are allowed, even if the excellent student is only " working toward excellence."

Where to start?  You know THOSE MOTHERS. The ones who work incessantly  at school to control every facet of their kids lives  to be of service and make their children's schools a more efficient and happy place. You also know THOSE OTHER MOTHERS. The ones who are more aloof in their parenting who are content to let their child go to school and manage his/her schooling and social life who are not as involved with the day to day inter-workings of the school.  This tale involves one of THOSE MOTHERS and one of THOSE OTHER MOTHERS.

The story is told in a series of flashback communications, and miscues between the mothers and the people surrounding them.  Oil and vinegar  mix easier than these 2 women.  ONE needs to control every aspect of the other and THE OTHER is mostly oblivious to anything but her daughter and husband. To say things go from bad to worse is an understatement.

Since we know from the title that Bernadette is missing, we obviously can assume someone is looking for her.  Read the book and join Bee as she wades through the mess looking for either her mother or closure.

This was a quick, fast paced, smart, quirky chick lit book.  Definitely worth the time investment.


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it Anne! I still haven't finished it, so skimmed to the comments in case you gave anything away!!!! ;-)))))

  2. I am not a book kill-joy. I hate spoiler book reviews.