Where’d you go,Bernadette by Maria Semple – book review

Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.com

Synopsis

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.

Plot summary

When I heard that “Where’d you go Bernadette” was being made into a film (released in March 2019) I knew I had to read it. The book is focused primarily on Bee, a young fifteen-year-old girl who happens to be very intelligent for her age. There is also Bee’s relationship with her mother Bernadette, an agoraphobic who was once a thriving architect.

As mentioned in the synopsis, Bee gets straight A’s in her exams so she suggests that the family take a trip to Antarctica. Bee, dad and Bernadette begin to prepare for the trip as a serious of events occur throwing the whole Branch household upside down.

Opinion

I would first like to mention that the synopsis is a little misleading. You expect Bernadette to disappear fairly early on right? Wrong! She doesn’t disappear until part 5 which is about half way through the book.

The author mentioned an internet security storyline in the beginning which I liked. She emphasised the dangers of the internet, hackers and the types of information hackers can easily get a hold of. It’s scary stuff indeed.

I flew through the first half of the book. It was mostly composed of emails and letters so it was easy to read. After part 5, the book became a bit complicated. I didn’t really feel anything towards the characters and I began to lose interest in the storyline.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t say this was “one of the year’s best books”. It was okay but it wasn’t great. While I enjoyed up until part 5, the book went a bit bland after that. All in all, I would give “Where’d you go Bernadette” 2.5 stars.