Book Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

In the ever-buzzing hub of Seattle, there is Bee and her eccentric family. With two successful parents, and a free spirit of a mom–Bernadette, as an example, Bee excels in school and her reward is a family trip to Antartica. But amidst all the chaos of Bernadette’s job and her ever growing dislike of Seattle and its population, Bernadette disappears before the trip even starts to take form. It’s up to Bee to find her mom by piecing together what emails, messages and documents she can find to make sense of her mom’s life that lead her to leave.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette (by Maria Semple)

I wish I could begin this review with a sigh (sigh). This book had so much hype about it and I kept hearing great reviews first-person, face to face was told that they’ll just loved it. So why did I not enjoy it? What happened? Oh yeah, it never got past the surface. Why did no one warn me?? I feel like I would have enjoyed it more, going in knowing that it would be that shallow and far-fetched. I get it, it’s satirical, criticizing a certain population of Seattle, but it wasn’t clever enough. I barely cracked a smile. Gone are the days of Wilde and Moliere.

I found Bee to be the only truly likeable character and the story kept my interest even with so little consequential action but don’t go looking for anything deeper than a series of correspondances and official papers can go. Unfortunately, we do not get a glimpse at how all of this information about her mom affects Bee and her relationship with Bernadette. It’s a quick read and just lightly touches on mother-daughter roles and what genius looks like. Overall I think my expectations might have tainted what could have been a nice “fluff” read but there still was so little going on and I could not get attached to any of the characters that I found it frustrating. You can read the GoodReads reviews/summary here.

Has anyone else read Where’d You Go, Bernadette and found it as wonderful as so many others did? Or did anyone share my opinion or part of it?

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