Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple {Book Review}

After I wrote my last book review I received several recommendations for this one so I immediately picked up a copy and got to reading. I wrote my review below {without spoilers} but let’s just say that I now rely heavily on you guys to point me in the direction of the next good read! ;)


Brief Summary

Where’d You Go Bernadette is the story of Bee Branch, a fifteen-year-old girl who lives with her father Elgie, a Microsoft-guru, and her mother Bernadette Fox. Bernadette was once a talented architect working in Los Angeles but after a traumatic event, she moves with Elgie to Seattle and quickly becomes a recluse. Even though her anti-social behavior has caused controversy with the other mothers at Bee’s school, her bond with her daughter is unbreakable.

After Bee comes home with straight A’s on her report card, Bernadette is forced to keep her promise to take her daughter on a trip to Antarctica. As her anxiety for the trip grows, she tries to play along that everything is fine until one day she disappears…

My Review {Without Spoilers}

This book was unique in many ways. First of all, the format is completely different from any other book I’ve read. It’s divided into three separate parts without any chapters in between and although it’s intermittently narrated from the perspective of Bee, the majority of the story is told through a compilation of emails exchanged among the other characters. It was a little strange at first but once I got used to it, it made the story fly by. The plot is wildly entertaining and it leaves you constantly guessing what will happen next. I had a really hard time putting it down!

Another unique factor was the hilarious satire throughout the book. Bernadette’s character was witty and sarcastic and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as I read along. Some people who read it might think that’s she’s a total nut-job, which she kind of is, but I found that I could relate to the challenges she faced with moving to a new city and feeling out of place.

That’s what I loved so much about the story; Maria Semple keeps you entertained and laughing, yet at the same time she weaves in serious issues that so many of us can relate to. It was the perfect balance of humor and touching emotion.

Overall I was really impressed with what a refreshing and funny read this was. The story-line isn’t one that I would typically be attracted to either so thank you for such a great recommendation! It was one of the best books I’ve read in a while.


I still have a few to check out from the comments on my last review but if you have any that you’ve read recently, please share!