REVIEW: Where’d You Go Bernadette

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You know I do a LOT of crafting. And most of the time I’m alone when I’m doing it, here in my studio. I’m not always in the mood for TV or music, and that’s when I turn to books – audiobooks. I go through them like water in the summer. I thought I’d get back in the habit of sharing reviews of my favorites so you can check them out too!

Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A Novel 

by Maria Semple

Synopsis:

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.

My review:

This book hit the spot for a mom like me, and maybe many moms like all of us. Artful, non-conformist, always questioning the mainstream. Proud of being different. And super quirky. Such is the case with Bernadette Fox. She refuses to play the game like all of those around her and even if her husband doesn’t always agree, her daughter, Bee, does. Bernadette’s stubborn idealistic ways cause quite a riff in the community and make trouble for Bee at school. But Bee handles it with grace and lots of sophisticated humor and reasoning far beyond her years. Bee is a little version Bernadette – we see signs of this little girl who is going to grow up and do great and wonderful things, all because of her mother’s guidance.

My favorite part of this story was the strong relationship between Bee and Bernadette – awesome mother-daughter drama going on here. While Bernadette stars in the title, the real heroine is Bee. There was one scene so endearing, my flowing tears dropped on  the table I was painting. This is one of those stoies that has oodles of random tangents, but in the end they each cleverly come to their purpose.

The climax of the story is where this book lost me a bit, a little hard to grasp, but because I loved everything earlier and the characters, I stuck with it and embraced the crazy adventure. If you like the cover, if it draws you in, you’ll certainly like the book too, they did a great job transferring the spirit of the book to the illustration. Part mystery, part action-adeventure, part melodrama, there are many reasons to check this one out!

Pleasant surprise: There are crafty elements in the story!

Love & light,


3 Responses

  1. I just finished this book yesterday, also audio (loved the narrator!). I really enjoyed it a lot, although like you say the ending was a bit odd and had presumed resolution based on Bernadette’s last letter to Bee rather than a certainty of ‘this is how the story ties up’ kind of ending, but still very good. I really liked Bernadette, she may have been quirky but she wasn’t purposefully mean, not like the gnats! We’re actually discussing this book in bookclub on Sunday, so I’m so glad to have run across your review via Pinterest. Always great to have another take, so thank you!

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Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

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