Book: Where’d You Go Bernadette
Author: Maria Simple
Genre: General fiction
Readability Rating: 3 stars
Morality Rating: PG
Target audience: Women between 35 and 50
Buy it: Amazon
Where’d You Go Bernadette Book Summary
It’s just about time for Bee and her family to go on a trip to Antarctica, but as they get ready, things start to go wrong. Her mother begins to act crazy, her neighbors start to fight with the family, and her dad is more distant than ever. Where’d You Go Bernadette focuses on the mid-life crisis of a formerly-brilliant woman and how everyone in her life is affected when she starts to go crazy and eventually runs away.
For a book titled, “where’d you go,” I thought more of the story would be about the fact that she was actually missing, but it was interesting to see how the titled character got to the point of wanting to leave. I found the story slightly confusing, but overall, was pleased with where it ended. Anyone who likes fictional stories with more or less happy endings will probably enjoy reading this story.
Plot: Basically, Bernadette is an older woman going through a sort of mid-life crisis who goes a bit loopy and runs away. The story follows her, her daughter, her husband, and her neighbors as she goes through this crisis. However, she doesn’t actually go missing until over half-way through the book. The book had the tone of one of those, “where are they now” TV shows, which I was not expecting at all. I couldn’t tell how long after the incident the story was supposed to be, but since much of the story was told through e-mails and interviews, I guess it was supposed to be quite some time later.
Characters: I can’t say I really liked any of the characters in the book. I thought Bee was both too childish and too adult, and Elgie seemed self-centered, and the neighbors seemed terrible, and Bernadette was crazy… I think if there had been at least one likable character, I would have liked the book a bit better. I think my favorite character in the end was her Indian assistant who she hired for $40 a week.
Setting: The setting for most of the book is Seattle, with the rest taking place in Antarctica. I think both places were described well (obviously I have never been to Antarctica, but the descriptions made it seem believable). I did enjoy all the hatred that Bernadette had for Seattle. Most people, from what I hear, love the place- and when I visited, it seemed amazing- although there were, like the story points out, a lot of homeless people.
Writing: Most of the book is written in e-mails, letters, reports, and case documents. While it was fun to read some of the book written like this, I did find some of the details hard to follow and keep track of. I’m not sure why traditional narration is easier for me to follow, but I felt that I missed several important facts with the book written in this style.
I had high hopes for this story, but I felt like I was reading a case document for a mental patient. That made the story seem more realistic, and consequently, depressing. I wanted to laugh at the book, but I felt that it was all too tragic, in a way, to really enjoy.
Who should read this book: Anyone who has felt a little crazy, or loves to read about why someone might become crazy.
Buy the book.