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Book Review: Where’d You Go Bernadette? By Maria Semple

This is a clever, fast paced book about award winning architect Bernadette, her daughter Bee who is wise beyond her years and husband Elgin. They are living in Seattle and the family is making plans to embark on a vacation to Antarctica, a dream trip that Bee has longed for. All sounds perfect except for the fact that Bernadette is paralyzed with fear over the trip. The travel itself, the mingling with strangers etc. We learn that Bernadette and Elgin lived in LA prior to Seattle. In LA Bernadette achieves fame in the design and architectural world designing her 20 mile home which earns her a Fulbright award. Once in Seattle, Bernadette ceases to create and becomes somewhat housebound. Clearly, the upcoming trip is going to be a challenge for her. There is much humor in the book, despite the heavier side of Bernadette’s fears. Through a series of cascading events Bernadette disappears. Where did she go and why? This is an epistolary novel, unfolding through emails, faxes and some first person narrative from Bee. I found it to be a page turner. Thumbs up!

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