Where’d You Go Bernadette – Maria Semple /// Adult Contemporary
After talking to some friends, I’ve decided people are either going to love this book or hate it. I found no middle. Which is usually odd, especially in my friends group. So once again, being my nerdy self I dug into research mode. Maria Semple was a screenwriter for both Mad About You and Arrested Development. Knowing that, this book made more sense as it is definitely in that same quirky (I hate that word) taste. The humor was subtle and not annoying as when people try to hard to be funny in writing.
The book is epistolary which just always knocks the book down for me. I find it distracting and incredibly hard for the author to pull off well. Maybe I’m being biased but whatevs, just not my scene. That being said, this story did flow well. So if you’re like me and hate reading letters you can probably at least make it through this one. I did and I am the queen of giving up on books.
There are certain plot points that require certain suspension of disbelief. So in that regard I would call it “eh” if you like plot driven narratives. This novel is very character driven and the characters are like-able so it is not hard to get sucked in to their world. Bernadette, who the novel is centered around from the point of view of her daughter, is seen by the outside world as an overly anxious, anti-social recluse. Her daughter understands her as merely someone who does not like people and does not even try. All of the people in Bernadette’s life, except her daughter, are the most “normal” yet the most satirical. Her husband, Elgie, is a top guy at Microsoft with a ton of little groupies following him around. Their neighbor, also a mother at her daughter’s school, is stereotypical one-percent yuppie mom.
If you need a strong plot to get you through a book, this is not for you. As much as I loved this book there were plot points even I didn’t like (to say would be to spoil) and things left unanswered at the end. It reads very much like a satirical soap opera and if you loved arrested development just imagine that humor without, sadly, Lucille.
ReRead? Definitely one day
“Do you know how absolutely exotic it is that you haven’t been corrupted by fashion and pop culture? A month ago I mentioned Ben Stiller, and do you remember how you responded? ‘Who’s that?’ I loved you all over again.”
“That’s right,’ she told the girls. ‘You are bored. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it’s boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.”
“Can you believe the weather?’…’Actually, I CAN believe the weather. What I can’t believe is that I’m actually having a conversation about the weather.”
Final Thoughts? This book was a fun read. It was enjoyable and made me laugh at loud at all of the one-liners that didn’t feel forced. The characters developed from stereotypes into actual characters as Bernadette interacted with them. All together a lovely book that is totally worth it.