Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Oh my goodness. I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed a book this much. I’m not a LOL kind of person, but as I read this I literally laughed out loud.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a collection of emails, notes, memos and regular text featuring 15-year-old Bee, an only child who has convinced her father and agoraphobic, certified genius mother to cruise down to Antarctica, which goes awry when the mother, Bernadette, goes missing. I’d never been on board with the letters-making-up-a-book (I still shudder to think of the time I wasted reading all the way through James Patterson’s Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas), but Maria Semple does a brilliant job of making these snappy, giving you a feel for whatever character is at the helm, and using the technique to move you through complicated twists and turns that could have been weighed down using a more traditional writing format. Because you really get a sense of character, you can also really see how the characters change throughout the book and over the course of a few months.

This book explores architecture, Antarctica, the dynamics of private school life in Seattle and the sometimes beautiful, sometimes tenuous relationship between parents and children, all while being incredibly funny. Can’t recommend enough and I’m anxious to pick up anything else Semple has written!