Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Maria Semple

I listened to this book as an unabridged audio read by Kathleen Wilhoite. Her narration made the book for me and I highly recommend reading it this way, if you can.

 

Bernadette Day was once an award winning, up and coming architect but an event happened that pretty much destroyed her and now she’s a stay-at-home mom who does a whole of nothing. When her husband was hired on by Microsoft, they relocated to Seattle and bought an old crumbling building and called it home. Bernadette had dreams of fixing it up but never really got around to it. She’s miserable but very close to her young daughter Bee and now lives in a world surrounded by soccer moms who dislike her because she’s not really like them.

 

 

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And she doesn’t care. She calls them gnats and goes about her life trying her best to avoid them. She’ll gleefully run over their feet and go about her day as if nothing happened.  photo imabitchsong_zpsgzhtlnvl.gif

 

Or at least that’s the rumor that starts off a shitstorm of trouble for Bernadette and her family.

 

As my friend Tressa said in her review, this book is delightful. Bernadette and her daughter Bee are unique, interesting characters with great dialogue and they have a true connection. Bee is wise beyond her years and a bit of brat just like her mom and I loved her for it.

 

This book has funny moments but it’s also about depression and mental illness and what happens to a woman when she’s allowed her talent to lie dying and chooses to sleep-walk through her life. It’s also about neglected relationships and discovering that maybe someone isn’t quite as awful as one assumes when you get to know them a little bit. It only falters a bit for me towards the end when Bernadette’s POV is painfully absent from the story. I felt it dragged on a little too long or maybe I just missed Bernadette’s voice?

 

The format may be a struggle for some as it’s told in notes, instructions, emails, differing POV’s and memories but the narrator handled it all flawlessly.