Title: Where’d You Go, Bernadette?
Author: Maria Semple
Summary: Bernadette Fox, Los Angeles native now Seattle resident, is the wife of Microsoft big-timer Elgin Branch, the mother of gifted Bee Branch, the alien to fellow Seattle moms, and a former award-winning architect. A novel stitched together by Bernadette’s very own daughter, it’s comprised of letters and emails that follow the whirlwind that notorious Fox finds herself swept up into, that even leads her to the ends of the planet.
I would rate this book 9/10 stars. This witty, uniquely crafted satire can resonate with not only Seattle natives (who will probably catch on to more of the humor of the story), but with any other reader who may come from a less-than-ordinary family. Comical yet dark, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a laugh, a cliff-hanger, a “wait, what just happened?” moment kind of story, that’ll keep you hooked until the very end.
I started reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette because it takes place in Seattle; my hometown, my motherland. You don’t find many books set in the rainy city, especially not ones that go into such depth and detail about the nitty gritty of this town as Where’d You Go, Bernadette does.
I kept reading because the novel pokes fun at two things very prominent in my average life: 1) my school, Lakeside, 2) all the stereotypes of Seattle that only a native would find funny. I couldn’t put the book down because it felt as if I was reading my own autobiography on Seattle.
I couldn’t get enough of the accuracy of Semple’s portrayal of Seattle from Bernadette’s perspective. As cynical of her thoughts were of my beloved city, everything from the confusion behind why we say “criss-cross-applesauce” as opposed to “Indian Style,” to the mockery of the Microsoft “cult” both cracked me up and resonated unlike any other book I’ve read.
If Bernadette were in a yearbook, she would be voted Most Likely To: “Escape From Prison Unnoticed.”