Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Bernadette is a young, innovative architect who won a MacArthur Genius Grant several years ago when she lived in Los Angeles. Now, she’s living in Seattle and all the creative juices seemed to have been sucked out of her. She’s become an apathetic introvert who doesn’t fit in. She’s hired a virtual assistant and is in the middle of an ongoing dispute with a neighbor. When her fourteen year old daughter, Bee, chooses a family trip to Antarctica as her reward for good grades, it all becomes too much.
When it seems Bernadette has lost touch with reality, her husband, Elgin, schedules an intervention. Bernadette is appalled at the thought of hospitalization and runs off, rather than giving in. Bee is devastated and determined to find her mother. She goes through every memo, note, email, etc. she can find to try to catch up with Bernadette.
The plot of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple might sound a little complicated, but it’s easy to follow, and I found it to be delightful. Bee is precocious and intelligent and just the kind of young character I love. She’s almost too smart for her own good, yet she still maintains her youthful innocence. She’s loyal to her mother and feels the need to defend her.
Told in a somewhat epistolary fashion, this book is pure fun! Readers get insight to the characters through memos, emails, letters, journal entries, etc. and the plot falls together amazingly easily. I was hooked from the beginning and read this book quickly because I had to know what happened.
I wasn’t sure how a novel like this would work as an audiobook, but decided to try it anyway. It’s narrated by Kathleen Wlhoite and she absolutely nails it!! Her voices and expressions are fantastic and when she broke out in song, I literally had goosebumps. She was the perfect choice for Where’d You Go, Bernadette – as a matter of fact, I think her narration enhanced it. The audio is on 9 CDs and last approximately nine and a half hours.