sara's Reviews > Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
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's review
Jan 13, 2013

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, solid, read-and-be-smarter
Read from December 26, 2012 to January 12, 2013

“Ice. It’s trippy, symphonies frozen, the unconscious come to life, and smacking of color: blue…. It rarely snows because Antarctica is a desert. An iceberg means it’s tens of millions of years old and has calved from a glacier. This is why you must love life: one day you’re offering up your social security number to the Russia Mafia; two weeks later you’re using the word calve as a verb” (314). I wasn't ready to write this review, because that would mean I had to close the cover on this book. Where'd you go Bernadette is a rollicking, mesmerizing, folk-tale come to life. Where the heroine is an innately flawed creative artist and mother who has come to a mighty crossroads when the ferocity of her love for her work collides with a force greater than that passion...her love for her daughter Bee.

Maybe she hides a bit behind the guise of "I am an artist ergo leave me alone you lightweight, insignificant, reality television watching, special K chomping, half caf soy drinking, pretend athlete, troglodyte" but really the character that Semple creates is so genuine in her mania and dysfunction, you cannot help but root for her as much as you are irritated with her.

We get lots of a little bit of everything, from the magical mysterical world of Microsoft to the hallowed halls of architecture, from the history of Seattle’s roads to the newest of self help groups to the glacial majesty of Antarctica. And at the heart of it all, are three really brilliant people who want to figure out how best to love each other.

I don’t know how she did it, Maria Semple, because she looks impossibly young to have pulled off a feat like this to roll up pop culture and thumb her nose at it while simultaneously figuring out how to make a epistolary novel format well novel for a modern audience, but she did it. It was a great ride. One of the best I’ve been on in years. So what are you waiting for…go forth sage reader and enjoy every moment.
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