Where’d You Go, Bernadette: Book Review

You hated when I said you were my best friend. I now agree with you on that last one. I’m not your best friend. I’m your mother.

Bernadette Fox, Where’d You Go, Bernadette

With an approaching family trip to Antarctica as reward for daughter, Bee, and her perfect grades, her mother, Bernadette, goes into a panic to prepare her family, but mostly herself, for the trip. With Bernadette’s past constantly creeping up on her and the dreadful life she is trying to live in Seattle becoming too much to handle, she disappears without a word to her family. Using old emails, letters and school memos, Bee unveils a secret past that Bernadette has been hiding for decades.

After seeing a lot of hype and great reviews on this book, I decided to finally pick up Where’d You Go, Bernadette (it only sat on my shelf for a good year and a half before I decided to do so). I feel like I’m a little late in the game to be reviewing this one, but why not?

Let me start by saying that I thought this was a good book, but I’m not quite sure what all the hype was about. Maybe this kind of story is not my style? I seem to be going after all the hype books lately and being just a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I really did enjoy this book but maybe I was expecting a bit more because of all the hype?

I really loved the way that Marie Semple composed this book almost completely out of letters, emails and notes between all the characters. It gave the reader an inside look at what each character was thinking and feeling in that moment. It made for an easy read and I enjoyed the concept very much. I thought the character development was wonderful with each and every one of them! That’s hard to come by sometimes and Semple knows what she’s doing when it comes to the character development in this book. Bernadette’s humor and way of dealing with life make you love and relate to her. Bee exhibits such maturity and strength for a fifteen-year-old and the reader is able to watch as she grows into a young woman. I absolutely loved reading about the mother-daughter relationship that these two characters have and the growth that the reader is able to experience with them.

Spoilers Ahead!

I have a love/hate reaction to the ending of this book. I didn’t care for the fact that there was so much mystery around Bernadette’s disappearance to find out she was just in Antarctica and stayed there to help build a site. But I also appreciate that it shows her growth and her love for her family because she made the trip, even though she was deathly afraid to do so. I also didn’t quite understand the need to throw in Soo-Lin’s pregnancy with Bernadette’s husband, Elgin, into the story? It was shocking but I felt unnecessary to the story line.

4 out of 5 stars!