Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A novel to gobble up


Meghan Sullivan

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Bernadette Fox is kind of like the family member that you love, despite the fact that they’re a little bit over the top and out-there. She adores her daughter, Bee, more than anything, and she has a very unique sense of getting revenge on the mean girls in town. You’ll start to fall in love with her for her strange view of the world.

Bee, an only child, clearly looks up to her mother. The pair act like best friends at times, serving kind of as “partners in crime” to fight against the drama from the other moms at Bee’s school. Honestly, I thought that it was beautiful to see a mother-daughter relationship that was so tight while the daughter was supposed to be going through her moody early-teenage years.

Bee is brilliant and generous and wants to take the world by storm. She sets her mind to something and refuses to not see it through, and she has dreams that put the average eighth-grader’s to complete shame. But, despite the fact that she is mature and well-educated, I didn’t get the vibe that the author was trying to make her seem older than she should’ve been, and she didn’t seem to be stuck-up or snotty about all that she knew and had going for her.

Maria Semple’s novel is beautifully constructed through emails and letters, but it still gives you Bee’s thoughts as situations come up. Through this writing technique, Semple lets the reader get the perspective of multiple characters, and it builds up to the inevitable plot twist that’s lying in wait.

Semple split the novel up into six or seven parts, but she didn’t include chapters within those parts. This made it hard to find a really good stopping point for me sometimes, and generally made me want to read through an entire section in one sitting. I literally could not put the book down, prioritizing my “for fun” novel over my schoolwork on more nights than I care to admit (oops). You will find yourself sucked into this book, needing to know what happens next.

If you’re wanting to read a novel about love, adventure, and the coldest place on Earth (Spoiler alert: not Minnesota!), then I would highly recommend picking up a copy of Where’d You Go, Bernadette. And, for those who are less likely to read, a movie version of the novel was released in August of this year, but I’m not sure how it holds out to Semple’s work.