My Top 5 Books of 2013 – Book 4

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple.


I’d heard good things about this, so when I spotted it in my local Waterstones, I thought why not? It was a great decision to make; Maria Semple has penned a book of beauty.

This book focuses on Bernadette Fox, who to her family is a wife and a mum but to fellow mothers at her daughters school is something of menace. When Bernadette goes missing, it is down to her 15-year-old daughter Bee to find her.

The great thing about this book, and an aspect I particularly enjoyed, is the way the book is presented. The book is made up of dialogue, instant chat messages, emails, letters and magazine articles. This allowed me to build a better understanding of the characters and the motivations behind some of their actions. It really allows you to build your own story and opinions, instead of being swayed by the author.

There is a quirky humour to the book and I particularly enjoyed Bernadette’s opinions of the other mothers from Bee’s school. The relationship between Bee and Bernadette is quite endearing, so when Bernadette goes missing, you really empathise with Bee’s journey to find her. All the characters are so well developed and each have something different to bring to the story, but Bernadette was perhaps my favourite as she’s so eccentric, and at times, I felt that she was socially awkward, which provided some great moments of humour.

This is an incredibly layered book with lots of things going on, but Maria Semple avoided it becoming too confusing by constantly switching perspectives in each chapter. The ending did seem a little far-fetched but that somehow added to the charm of the book. It was funny; it was well written and was a fresh piece of writing from a very talented writer. I’d recommend this book to those who like fast paced novels, quirky humour or more of an indie vibe from a novel.