At one time about a year ago, my sister, my sister in law, and my sister's boyfriend's sister were all reading Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple. From what I heard, they all liked it, even though they are in 3 different states, and live completely different lives. From that point, I knew that sooner or later I would be reading it too. So this month I was excited when it was the pick for The Typical Book Group.
Where'd You Go Bernadette starts off as a series of emails between Bernadette, a stay at home mom in Seattle, and her virtual personal assistant, Manjula. Soon, some memos from her daughter's school are mixed in, along with catty emails between some of the other moms about Bernadette. The communications continue to escalate, painting a picture of Bernadette's life in Seattle, and her life pre-parenthood.
Bernadette's husband is distracted while he's working on a big project for Microsoft. Her daughter, Bee, is an overachiever, who has managed to talk her parents into a trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades. Bernadette begins to feel some anxiety about the trip, and also about the state of her life in general. Once again the situation escalates, and is soon spinning out of control.
I loved the first 4/5 of Bernadette. I tore through the pages, and couldn't wait to sneak away and read more. Bernadette herself was such an interesting character, with her lost architectural career and her strange interactions with the other parents, who she calls "gnats". The last 1/5 of the story was told in a more traditional narrative form instead of emails, messages and letters, and it slowed down, while staying interesting. Bernadette would be a great book for a vacation read, but be sure to bring a back up book too. If you somehow found yourself with 3 or 4 uninterrupted hours, you could probably read Bernadette in one sitting. Given that it was such an easy read, it feels mean to be critical, but I have a few issues with the story that I will mention on my Spoilers Page. I'll also talk more about it later this month when we meet to discuss it.
I checked this one out of the Library, so it's one more book done for the I Love Library Books Challenge.
Next Up: Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Still Listening to: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho