Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple – A book review

Feb 15, 20212 comments

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This year does seem to be good to me. But that might have something to do with me reading only books that have been on my TBR forever. And Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple was just one of those.

How did it turn out for me? You might have to read my book review to know more.

Have you read Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple? How did it work for you? What are your favorite zany characters? Let us talk. Click To Tweet

About Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Where'd You Go, Bernadette book review cover

Book Name: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Author: Maria Semple

Genre: Fiction – RomanceYoung adult

Characters: Bernadette Fox, Elgin and Bee Branch, Audrey and Kyle Griffin, Soo Lin.

Setting: Seattle, Washington, The USA

Plot Summary of Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Bernadette Fox is borderline anti-social and mildly agoraphobic. She is married to a Microsoft tech-wiz Elgin Branch, who is a workaholic and barely present father to their precocious teen daughter, Bee (Bala Krishna).

Bernadette delegates most of her problems to an online concierge Manjula, something Elgin disapproves of and ignores the snotty comments and activities of the her peers from Bee’s private school.

Shortly after Bee persuades them to take a family trip to Antarctica, Bernadette’s life goes into a spin. And she disappears without a trace.

Did Bee find her mother? Is there a happily ever after waiting for them forms the rest of the story in Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

Book review of Where’d You Go, Bernadette

The first thing that will strike you when you start reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is that it is wacky and satirical. And that can be a make or break deal for you. You either love it or hate it.

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Written mostly in an epistolary and correspondence format, it takes a bit to get used to. Understandably, the characters are so weird and such goofballs. While they may feel they are one dimensional, they work, most of the times.

AND I LOVED THEM ALL. Sure some of the things that happen are not so believable, but I found them HILARIOUS.

The Seattle rants and the “Victims against Victimhood” were particularly entertaining. The digs at the gnats and the private school culture were just perfect. I now have to see the Cate Blanchett starred movie adaptation soon!

I loved how the author spoke about mental illness without making it preachy or judging it and the effect it could have on the family as a whole.

The last few chapters felt a bit rushed and could have been more interesting. But I am gonna ignore that for now.

What worked for me

  • One of the best satirical I have read in the recent times. It had several laugh-out-loud moments and I would reread this book, hopefully.
  • The writing and the characters are zany and over the top, and I love that! Bernadette would be a character that you would love or hate, but she will be unforgettable.
  • I love how the author dealt with mental illness and its effect on oneself and one’s family. And the social stigma attached to it.

What may have been better

  • The last 50 pages turned out kinda less entertaining.
  • The writing style and characters may seem over the top and if you don’t immediately connect to them, you may never.
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Content warning

Parent abandonment, Mental illness and attempt to commit to psychiatric hospital.

Bottom line

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is highly entertaining and hilarious. If you have not read it already, you should do it already.

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Let’s chat

Have you read Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple? How did it work for you? What are your favorite zany characters? Let us talk.

Hello there!

Gayathri loves reading, recommending books and talking about bookish things in real life. Her blog is just an extension of that habit. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she freelances as a beta reader. She lives currently in Dubai.Head over to meet me


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Jenny @ Reading the End
11 days ago

I loooved this book! I kept thinking that it was going to turn out sad, and I was waiting for the other (sad) shoe to drop. When that didn’t happen — when it reached the end and it was a happy ending — I was so relieved and grateful to the book. And then of course the whole time I was reading it, I was just giggling to myself and having a ball.

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