Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Architect, Antarctica, Blackberry Bush

A good read with a blend of genres is hard to find in one book. Authors sometimes get lost with multiple narrators, attempts at humor, ill-conceived romances…you know the drill. Where’d you go, Bernadette? is the exception to this conundrum. The book received rave reviews and managed to live up to each one.

One time winner of a “genius” grant for her architectural prowess, Bernadette Fox goes into hiding in Seattle with her Microsoft entrenched husband and ramshackle house. Bernadette never really learns to adapt to her new environment and spends her time ranting about the 5-way stops, mother “gnats” from her daughter’s school, and anything else that is distinctly “Seattle.” However, the one thing in Seattle that Bernadette does love is her daughter, Bee (short for Balakrishna). The excitement kicks off when Bee requests that her graduation from middle school be commemorated with a family trip to Antarctica. Yes, Antarctica.  I can’t risk giving too much away, but rest assured that Antarctica becomes the catalyst for mudslides, an affair, anxiety, an overseas assistant, FBI involvement, and a disappearance. The multiple narrators add to the mystery as each offers his/her own perspective on the situations that lead up to Bernadette’s disappearance.

Author Maria Semple is a novelist and television comedy writer. This is her second novel. She also divulged in a NYT interview that Where’d you go, Bernadette? is semi-autobiographical, so keep that in mind as you read.


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