Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

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Rating: ★★★★

15-year-old Bee decides that Antarctica will be her family’s Christmas vacation destination this year as a reward  from her parents for earning high grades in school. She and her father Elgin are all geared up to go; no one notices that her wonderfully intelligent mother is about to undergo a severe mental breakdown. Her mom is Bernadette Fox: an aspiring architect who vanished from the art scene in order to raise a family. Bernadette suffers from agoraphobia; her closest friends are her daughter and husband. Her lonely lifestyle makes her an easy target for the other mothers; they think that her lack of involvement in the school PTA is worrying, that her disinterest will cause more harm to the school than good.

Overwhelmed by the thought of going away for 3 weeks on an entirely different continent and fed up with the troublesome mothers of Galer Street School, Bernadette disappears without a trace, leaving her family bereft and bewildered.

Bee then rakes through her mother’s emails, letters, and memos, anything to help her find Bernadette in order to bring her home.

Thoughts: I LOVE Bernadette Fox. Absolutely love her. She is wonderful, funny, so smart, and awfully misunderstood; I wanted to protect her at all costs.

The characters in here were sublime. I was empathetic towards Bernadette and loathsome towards Audrey, one of the moms from Galer Street, who took it upon herself to make Bernadette’s life a living hell (or at least a very annoying one).

To keep it short and simple, it was witty and fantastic and I want everybody to read it.

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