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Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (image via amazon.com)

By Maria Semple
Started:
August 8
Finished: August 21

Ahem, so I love Arrested Development and was wicked excited for the Netflix’s exclusive season 4 of the series. I’ve seen every episode at least 100 times and have been known to drop AD references in everyday conversation (case in point, a friend recently told me his ex-girlfriend cheated on him with a BlueMan…and my immediate reaction was “When did your life become an episode of Arrested Development?). So when I found out author Maria Semple used to write for ADWhere’d You Go, Bernadette was a no-branier for a an easy beach read over my vacation in Maine.

I loved this book because it was smart, funny, and I could totally see myself being Bernadette if I ever have kids. Bernadette is a once famous architect now completely devoted to her family, especially her teenage daughter, Bee.  Bee attends a prestigious school in Seattle, where Bernadette and her style of parenting often cause arguments with school officials and other mothers.

After one such run in, Bernadette takes off and vanishes without a trace. Bee, determined that her mother would never really leave her, uses emails, letters, and other bits of information her mother left behind to weave together the cause of her disappearance and (hopefully) her current location. Bee gives small pieces of information to the reader, who must fit them together like a puzzle to solve the mystery of Bernadette’s disappearance. It’s a great commentary on the pressures of modern society, of fitting in as a “soccer mom,” and doing what’s expected of you (for example, the neighbors all seems to despise Bernadette because  despite her husband’s well-paying job at Microsoft, she chooses to live in a rundown former girls’ school instead of a nice, respectable house). Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a filled with hilarious rants, a mother’s love, a daughter’s determination, and an assortment of not-so-outrageous characters that you can picture living on your block.

 

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