BOOK REVIEW: Where’d You Go, Bernadette – by Maria Semple

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Title: Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Author: Maria Semple
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Mystery
First published: August 14th 2012
Finished reading: November 23rd 2015
Pages: 330
Rating 3qqq

“That’s right,’ she told the girls. ‘You are 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.”

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My TBR jar decided it was about time I read Where’d You Go, Bernadette. I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction, but I can’t deny this novel by Maria Semple is an entertaining read. The story is fast-paced, easy to read and takes you on a journey all the way to Antarctica. Why did I give it only 3 stars? Because I did have some problems with it. Living in Argentina, I found some of the cliche descriptions of the locals almost insulting. And not only that, most of the other less important characters felt flat and almost appear to be cartoons. Part of it could be described as ‘intention to be funny’, but I wasn’t convinced. The main characters were quite annoying as well at points; especially Bernadette could come over as peevish and moody. I did like the prose and general plot and I loved the descriptions of their journey to Antarctica. The last part of Where’d You Go, Bernadette is quite obvious, but if you like the genre you will probably enjoy the ride.

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Bernadette Fox used to be a successful architect, until something happened and she disappeared from the radar. She left LA with her Microsoft-guru husband and has been living in Seattle ever since… A city where Bernadette still doesn’t fit in even after all those years. Her 15-year-old Bee is quite a genius and when she aced her report card, Bee claimed her reward. Her parents had promised Bee a family trip to Antarctica. The problem? Her father is more than busy with his Microsoft job and her mother doesn’t really like being around people in general. Bernadette even hired a virtual assistant in India to run her errands… And when things in Seattle seem to go out of control, Bernadette simply disappears. Where did Bernadette go? And what is the truth behind all the things that are happening in their lives?

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I wasn’t sure what to expect of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, but I think that overall it was quite an entertaining read. Sure, I had some problems with it (especially with the characters and cliche descriptions), but I really liked the general plot and journey to Antarctica. Even if I didn’t like all descriptions, I can’t deny Maria Semple‘s prose reads easily and I was able to finish this novel almost in one sitting. If you like the genre, you will most likely enjoy this read.

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14 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Where’d You Go, Bernadette – by Maria Semple

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  6. Despite the predictability with some of the plot lines, I enjoyed this book but I really disliked Bernadette. When I mentioned that to the friend who lent it to me, she agreed. In hindsight it made me like the story a bit more because it didn’t sugarcoat Bernadette as a charming eccentric. About halfway through you start to realize she’s a bit of a selfish jerk, which I appreciated because the book is also about her coming to terms with that. I can’t say I’d ever need to re-read it, but I’d recommend it to friends after a light read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I can definitely agree that Maria Semple at least didn’t try to sugarcoat Bernadette’s behavior… And her character does have some development during the story. I guess it would work as a light (maybe beach?) read, especially since it’s so easy to read.

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