Monday, January 14, 2013

Review: Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Well, blow my skirt up!!

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. 
Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic. 
To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

I have to be honest.  I did not expect much from this book. The synopsis didn't grab me, nor did any of the early reviews.  I was looking for a "fluff" book, something easy while I was running around prepping for the holidays, and thought I would skim through this one. Was I wrong!

I never expected this book to become one of my favorites of 2012!

I was energetically and enthusiastically surprised by Where'd You Go, Bernadette!   I could use words like funny, quirky, unexpected, hilarious, strange, silly, or hysterical.  Instead, I'm just going to tell you all that I loved it and you should read it!

“My heart started racing, not the bad kind of heart racing, like I'm going to die. But the good kind of heart racing, like, Hello, can I help you with something? If not, please step aside because I'm about to kick the shit out of life.” 

Disclaimer: you need a sense of humor and a very forgiving and suspension of disbelief in order to enjoy this book.

“This is why you must love life: one day you're offering up your social security number to the Russian Mafia; two weeks later you're using the word calve as a verb.” 

This is one book where I would be afraid to listen to the audio - if it's done right, it could be magic; but if it's done wrong, it could be a disaster!  As it is, I had to think hard about whether or not I listened to the audio, because there is such music in Maria Semple's dialogue.  The voice in my head nailed it.  I have to go search out some audio reviews...either that or get working on my audiobook demo. Sorry, tangent. (It's kids are sick...haven't slept in a few days.)

This book made me happy.  Not many books out there can own this badge of honor.  We have paranormal love stories; crazy wives; sons on trial for murder; societies both giving and curing the same plague; imaginary friends; and time travel, and this doesn't even include the dystopian section of my library.  What we don't have is a story about a family who will literally love each other to the ends. of. the earth.  THAT makes me happy.

Happy reading!!

Book Extras:
Maria Semple website, Twitter, Facebook

About the Book:

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (August 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316204277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316204279
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches

About the Author:
Maria Semple's first novel, This One is Mine, was set in Los Angeles, where she also wrote for television shows including Arrested DevelopmentMad About You, and Ellen. She escaped from Los Angeles and lives with her family in Seattle, where her second novel takes place.
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