Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

(2012)

Maria Semple relates the tale of where Bernadette went and why using emails, letters, reports, articles, and other short pieces created by or relating to the characters. Interspersed are passages of Bernadette's daughter Bee's narration. With all the variation in modes of writing, I was surprised at how smoothly this story read.

Bernadette lives with Bee and her husband, Elgie, in Seattle. Bernadette hates Seattle, almost as much as she hates the mothers of other students at Bee's school who pester her like gnats and talk about her behind her back via email. Bernadette clashes repeatedly with one gnat in particular who happens to live next door. In comic style reminiscent of Arrested Development, a show Semple wrote on, events escalate to the point where Elgie loses confidence in Bernadette, and she disappears.

Even with an unfortunate plot hole later in the story (evidence of a letter written in one location was actually written later in another), I loved this hilarious tale of modern suburban life populated with quirky, yet realistically complex characters. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good story.

Also available as downloadable audiobook in WMA format.

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