Review & Giveaway: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publish Date: August 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover | 336 pages
Rating: 4½ of 5
“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. When Bernadette disappears, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence–creating a compulsively readable and touching novel.”
Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a fast-paced, fun, satirical look at the stereotypical Seattle culture. This is not your average humorous novel. It is quite original and in many ways defies description.
Bernadette is on the verge of a breakdown, rarely leaves her house, dislikes interacting with people, and uses an internet assistant as a virtual secretary. After a series of run-ins with her neighbors, Bee’s school and her ever growing anxiety over a trip to Antarctica, Bernadette disappears.
The story is told from the point-of-view of daughter Bee using some narrative but mostly a vast assortment of documents — anything and everything: emails, faxes, press releases, doctor bills, reports, notes, articles. While this sounds random, it’s not; it’s woven together seamlessly as we read through correspondence from one person to the next, the story falling into place. The characters are well-drawn and memorable. I’m still laughing about the virtual internet assistant, Manjula.
Although the title implies that Bernadette is missing, she doesn’t disappear until almost the end. The story is a build-up to that point and told after-the-fact by Bee, which I didn’t realize when I first started reading the book. To say much more about the plot would be a spoiler. It’s very enjoyable the way it evolves and the technique of using correspondence works well. It’s fast and fun and may even have you laughing out loud.
If you would like a chance to win a copy of your own, the publisher has generously offered three copies to give away to my readers.
- Contest is open to those with an address in the US or Canada (No PO boxes).
- To enter fill out the form below. For an extra entry, tweet or blog the giveaway prior to 9/15.
- The deadline for entry is Sunday, September 16th. I will draw three random winners who will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond with a mailing address. One winner per household.
[Contest has ended]
Winners: Debbie, Amy and Lee
Source: Review copy.
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