Humor Literary Fiction Recommendations Women's Fiction

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

When the charmingly eccentric Bernadette Fox vanishes from her home, her precocious fifteen-year-old daughter, Bee, is left to pick up the pieces of her past and solve the mystery of her missing mom. But if this sounds like a typical mystery of whodunnit or even whydunnit, it’s not. It’s something else entirely.

The focus of this book is not the crime – if there even is a crime – but rather the characters of Bernadette, Bee, and Bernadette’s idiosyncratic and wicked smart husband, Elgin Branch. Spending time with these characters is like spending time with your new best friends. They are hilarious, snarky, vulnerable. By the end, you have fallen in love with each and every one of them.

Author Maria Semple is not only a master of emotional nuance, but she takes her readers on a delightful adventure, exploring the worlds of architecture, tech companies, and even the lives of penguins. Penguins? Yes, penguins. And she does it with such ease and agility that even the most techie-apathetic reader (me) is enthralled.

Where’d You Go Bernadette is hilarious, smart, and at times, heart-wrenching. When I finished, I hugged the book to my chest and wept the words, “I loved you so much!” Yes, I tend toward the dramatic, but this book deserved my tears. I recommend it with all I’ve got.


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