Whoops, a post slipped through my fingers! I finished reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple a month ago, but I forgot to publish my post about it. Here it is:
Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an epistolary novel about a wacky architect named Bernadette who goes missing just before a family trip to Antarctica. The story is told from the perspective of Bernadette’s 14-year-old daughter, Bee, and a collection of emails, letters, etc. she acquired. The book takes place in Seattle and Bernadette, a transplant from L.A., can’t stand Seattle and has no problem poking fun at the city.
In one such rant about Seattle, Bernadette complains about the slow drivers, “athletic do-gooders,” Microsoft, and the locals’ lack of attention to physical appearance. And she says:
Whoever laid out this city never met a four-way intersection they didn’t turn into a five-way intersection.
I have to admit there is some truth to that; there are some pretty bizarre intersections in Seattle. 😛
Bernadette complains about Seattle frequently (though she came to love it in the end), but it was fun to see the local references scattered throughout the book. She mentions things like Beecher’s Cheese, “Go Huskies!”, U Village, the Seattle Freeze, and the blackberry bushes that grow like weeds. Bernadette even says “the 405,” which is something Californian transplants are notorious for doing.
While gossipy, self-absorbed, passive-aggressive private school mothers aren’t really my thing, I enjoyed the novel. It’s not particularly cerebral, but it was an entertaining and easy read.