Book #12 of the 2015 Reading Challenge – Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple


Read a funny book. Read a mystery or a thriller.

I’ve certainly never read a novel like this one! The way it’s written breaks probably any and every rule of how conventional novels are written – and it works.

The story of Bernadette (a strange, anti-social woman who wears big, black sunglasses) is just hilarious and the more you read, the better it gets. The novel begins with a series of emails between Bernadette and Manjula Kapoor (her virtual assistant). You are basically reading their continuous email correspondence along with emails between other characters and regular narrative. It seems really weird at first, but keep reading.

At first you don’t really know who Bernadette is except for the obvious – that she’s a mother and a wife. But later you’ll discover her entire life story, which is quite entertaining and quite brilliant.

The title “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” obviously reveals that Bernadette went somewhere and that her whereabouts are surrounded by mystery. I was reading the novel wondering when she’d disappear until I realized that she’d been gone the whole time and that the story is actually told by her daughter, Bee, who is trying to figure out where her mom is by putting together emails, letters, etc.

In the end, they do find Bernadette.

The fact that there isn’t a question mark in the title seems odd to me, but I don’t know if I should read anything into it. A quick online search led me to the author’s Facebook page (gotta love the internet!) and I just wrote her a message asking why there’s no “?” in the title. Let’s see if she (or someone) replies – my fingers are crossed.

The novel is a quick and easy read … perfect to read on a day at the beach, on a long airplane ride or whenever you have a day or two without any plans.

In my opinion, the ending leaves everything open for a sequel, so it’d be interesting to see if one comes along some time in the (hopefully near) future.

I loved it and would absolutely recommend that you read it! If you’re reading this and are in Punta Cana, I’ll give you my copy of the book 🙂


4 thoughts on “Book #12 of the 2015 Reading Challenge – Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

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