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Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

“Semple-y” Delightful

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple was one of those books that I had been meaning to read for a while now but never got around to it—until a friend loaned me her copy. I’m sure glad she did. As I dove right in, I felt this refreshing splash that sent revitalizing waves throughout my brain. It’s a totally unique and absolutely fun book.  It is about a teenage girl and her relationship with her parents, specifically her mother, Bernadette. Bernadette is an antisocial woman who has her family living in a deteriorating mansion on a hill in Seattle overlooking Elliot Bay.  She is incapable of handling even the smallest tasks and has a virtual assistant in India doing her every bidding for seventy-five cents an hour.  Her husband, Elgie, works at Microsoft and is rarely home.  In the middle of it all is Bee, a smart-as-a-whip girl who wants to go to Antarctica over the Christmas break.  This book is written in a semi-epistolary style with snap and sass. It is a fusion of emails, report cards, letters, faxes, invoices, notes, essays and various correspondences interspersed with Bee’s own narratives.  Through these communications we find out what causes an intelligent, creative, ambitious woman to go off the deep end. We learn Bernadette’s history and the incidents that profoundly affected her.

I have to say that I just love this book. It is absurdly funny and original and gets my “Oh My God, I Just Read the Cutest Book” award.  If you liked The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows or Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, you’ll probably enjoy this one.  For me, “Bernadette” provoked the same giddy smiles with the humorous, clever writing and memorable characters. I recommend this book not just for individual frivolity, but also for book clubs, because I believe it has high potential for mass appeal.  It is a pure delight.

One of my sisters read the book after I did. She said she didn't like it---she LOVED it! So that's three thumbs-up so far: friend, me, and sister. 

Do you think I woke up this morning and drank a big cup of stupid?
Maria Semple, Where’d You Go, Bernadette (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2012), 146.
Seattle is the only city where you step in shit and you pray, Please God, let this be dog shit.
Maria Semple, Where’d You Go, Bernadette (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2012), 128.

Happy Reading,


  1. I loved this book.... It was a super fun, laugh out loud, and to easy read. I enjoyed it from cover to cover.... 2 thumbs up!!


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