On the shelf: ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ by Maria Semple

Mature Lifestyles Book Review


By Melissa Fox, Grand Rapids Public Library


Extremely funny and smart, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is the kind of book you recommend to everyone you know. Told through letters, emails, other correspondence, and official documents collected by Bee, the daughter of the quirky and unusual Bernadette, this is a fast read, yet the story is slowly revealed, with each letter and email adding up to a larger picture that comes together in the end like a jigsaw puzzle.


The main character, Bernadette, is the kind of person you want to know and, in some instances, be more like. She hates Seattle and the culture of her daughter’s private school, she’s the weird neighbor, the not-like-everyone-else’s-mom mom. The kind of details and dialog the author adds to this book—they keep an Airstream parked in their backyard!—will keep any literary fiction reader happy, while the pacing and humor will appeal to those who are craving a good beach read, and the mother-daughter relationship in this book will draw every reader in.