Where’d You Go Bernadette, A Book Review

Where'd You Go Bernadette - A Book Review

Where’d You Go Bernadette is the first book I chose to read from my summer reading list and it did not disappoint.

Bernadette is an incredibly intelligent and creative women who has also become a bit too eccentric for her own good.  Before her daughter was born with life-threatening health problems, Bernadette, a renown architect, was a green, DIY, recycler before it was chic.  As far as creativity goes, she was ahead of her time.  She could have pioneered the reduce, reuse, recycle mentality if she only she kept creating.

Her long-time friend and colleague Paul Jellinek told her “People like you must create.  If you don’t create, Berndatte, you will become a menace to society.”

I’m not quite sure Bernadette became a menace to society, but she certainly avoided making relationships, despised Seattle, and hated the mothers from her daughter’s school.  She referred to them as gnats.

Her husband Elgin was eccentric in his own right, a Microsoft guru who never wore shoes inside.  He loved his wife, but didn’t understand her behavior.  Finally he decided to stage an all out intervention and that is when Bernadette vanishes, seemingly into thin air.

I enjoyed this book very much.  It is pure entertainment that doesn’t require deep thinking, the perfect beach-side/pool-side read.  It will make you laugh.

Much of this book is written in the form emails sent back and forth between the characters.  I’m not usually a fan of books that use letters to convey the story line, but I am making an exception with this book.  Maria Semple did an extraordinary job writing this book.  It was easy to stay engaged in the story, a very satirical look at our opulent American society.

Here are a few questions I’ve been mulling over.

  • Is the author’s take on religious people, “Christians” specifically, warranted?  Is there truth in the stereotypes? …perhaps…yes.
  • What does a person who is a productive part of society look like?
  • Was Elgin any better off than Bernadette or were his eccentricities simply different?
  • If artists do not create, do they become a menace to society or themselves – any merit in that statement?

Where’d you go Berndatte was a delightfully quirky read.  I am glad I put it on my summer reading list.

Have you read it?

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  1. says

    You know I loved this book. I wondered about Elgin myself. Some good questions to think about. I read this book a month ago and I’m still thinking about it.

  2. Deb says

    I haven’t read it yet, but was thinking about it. I don’t like a letter/email format either, but if you say it was good then I’ll probably give it a go.

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