It’s been a long time since I laughed out loud while reading a book. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is spit your Diet Coke funny. I’ve lived slices of Bernadette’s life, right down to the passive-aggressive snooty private school politics and paralyzing life changes and completely related to her world.
It’s a witty read. The story is pieced together from emails, text messages, and letters that reveal an artistic and well, genius, woman who gives up everything for her daughter. By the time her daughter no longer needs her attention every moment, Bernadette is adrift in a life she no longer recognizes. At the beginning, we see Bernadette at such a low that she hires a virtual assistant in India to take care of everything from Thanksgiving reservations to planning a family cruise to the Arctic. To hide her dysfunction from her husband, she instructs her assistant to deduct her salary from her personal checking account, a grand total of $30 a week since she’s paying her 75¢ an hour. From there things head south in the worst way possible. It takes a remarkable series of events involving mudslides, the Russian mob, school fundraisers, and death by cruise ship for Bernadette to remember who she is and find pleasure and purpose in life as herself, rather than as an extension of her family.
Thoroughly entertaining and perfect for vacation or by the fireplace reading, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is highly recommended.