Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Maria Semple

Jan 22

Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Maria Semple

This book by Maria Semple had been on my wishlist for quite some time when it fell into my lap thanks to my friend Alicia. It is a great Monday morning at the schoolhouse when someone unexpectedly brings you a good book.

This Seattle-based story is told from the viewpoint of Bee, an exceptional teenager getting ready for life at a posh boarding school when her close-knit family implodes. Although that sounds terrible, the book was actually laugh-out-loud funny. Bee weaves together emails, handwritten notes, hospital bills, articles, and personal commentary. Bee’s mother is Bernadette. Bernadette is wildly entertaining, highly intelligent, agoraphobic, naive, and endearing. She and Bee have a solid and unique relationship. I cheered for the gals when they have a confrontation with the neighborhood mom-bully. I laughed so hard I cried when Bee and her best friend described drugs with a “Poop” analogy.

There is also a heavy undercurrent of sadness; Bernadette apparently hates Seattle (the constant berating of the city and the people who reside there almost made me want to cross it off of my to-visit list) and she has lost her artistic self due to Bee’s health issues and a workaholic husband. Her mental problems severely affect her daughter and husband; she is mostly oblivious to that fact.  The story is fast paced; you will find yourself wondering if the clues will lead to the discovery of the missing Bernadette.


  1. Sounds like a fun read! I’ll have to read it to my list.

  2. Sandwich Gal /

    It was pretty entertaining!

  3. Mary Pat Crites /

    Thank you for recommending this book. It was fun and fast paced as you said. Truly an amazing bond mother and daughter had that mother trusted daughter to know she hadn’t abandoned her and that daughter wouldn’t accept that her mom wasn’t really “gone.”

  4. Sandwich Gal /

    That makes me so happy, Mary Pat!!


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