“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple

Add THIS book to your summer reading list if you are in the mood for a snarky, funny book about a neurotic mother who wants to escape her life, and who actually DOES!

Bernadette Fox is a hilarious character with anxiety issues who is both best friends and obessed with her 15 year old daughter, Bee. She is married to a brilliant man named Elgin who works at Microsoft and has uprooted the family to Seattle. And when I say uprooted, consider this: they have moved into a sprawling home that is so run down there are tree roots that are growing up through the floor boards! Bernadette is SO anxiety ridden that she has hired an offshore Executive Admin who takes care of all of her errands so that she doesn’t ever have to leave the house.

This book is literally “comedy heaven” and is written in a unique way complete with emails and narrator changes just to get the perspecitves of many different people.

Bernadette’s daughter, Bee, attends a private school and some of the funniest parts are the descriptions of the parents at the school (“judging from the contents of her shopping cart – imported cheese, organic raspberries, fruit wash spray – she is the exact quality of parent we need at Galer Street”) and the great lengths Bernadette goes to avoid any and all human contact with those perfect parents.

At one point in the novel there is a school event that doesn’t go exactly as planned and there is a hysterical section that describes the lengths the school has to go to communicate to the parents: “We are still weighing whether to have an all-school assembly, a kindergarten-only gathering, or a parent forum to collectively process this traumatic event.”

The book takes a funny turn when Bernadette goes missing due to the anxiety she feels about a family trip that Bee convinces them to go on to Antarctica. She becomes so stressed that she fakes a dental emergency and everybody begins to look for her. Throw in an affair for the husband, a foe who turns into a girlfriend and hysterical corporate scenes about life at a big company and you have this book in a nutshell.

So if you are looking for a snarky book full of rich and quirky characters that will make you laugh out loud, pick up this book and enjoy!


About Anne Loughrey

I am an avid member of several book clubs and a prolific keeper of my books. I love to discuss books and hear what others think of books I have read.
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2 Responses to “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple

  1. cellenbogen says:

    I look forward to reading it. It’s nice to have a funny book to look forward to.

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