Where’d you go, Bernadette?

Where'd you go Bernadette Cover“You’re bored. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it’s boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it’s ON YOU to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.” (Where’d you Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple)
“Its like a hypnotist put everyone from Seattle into a collective trance. “You are getting sleepy, when you wake up you will want to live only in a Craftsman house, the year won’t matter to you, all that will matter is that the walls will be thick, the windows tiny, the rooms dark, the ceilings low, and it will be poorly situated on the lot.”

(Where’d you Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple)

Look at the cover of this book: it will tell you everything you need to know about whether you are the kind of person who will love reading it or not. Do you like the happy, ocean blue cover, the properly punctuated title, the bold graphic design? There is a direct correlation between people who are attracted to blue covers and those who love reading hilarious, flighty books about dysfunctional genius families. There must be.

I love books where the main character is largely absent and unknowable. Bernadette’s story is told through a series of e-mails, faxes, FBI reports, and newspaper clippings collected during the five weeks she disappeared. While a few of the excerpts are her personal correspondences, the reader mostly gets to know Bernadette by the way she determines the actions of those around her, constantly pushing people beyond their normal personalities. She’s the kind of character you wish would live in your neighborhood so you, too, could have someone to speculate endlessly about and who would occasionally throw your life into much-needed disarray.

Recommended Action: Buy BorrowTBRAvoid

Length: 352 pgs

Ending: Satisfying

Further Reading: Try as I might, I can’t think of another book that combines such an interesting form of storytelling with a similar level of humor. There are surface similarities between Bernadette and Gone Girl in that they both use excerpts to tell a story of a missing woman… but they really aren’t in the same league.

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