Author : Maria Semple
Genre : Humor, Fiction
Rate on Goodreads : 3,9/5
My rating : 3/5
Bernadette Fox is notorious.
To Elgie Branch, a Microsoft wunderkind, she’s his talented, volatile, troubled wife.
To fellow mothers at the school gate, she’s a menace.
To design experts, she’s a legendary architect.
But to 15-year-old Bee, she is quite simply Mum.
Then Bernadette disappears. And Bee’s search for her mother reveals an extraordinary woman trying to find her place in an absurd world.
My thoughts about this book :
The two-thirds of the book are emails correspondences, letters exchanges, doctors notes, which at first makes it hard to get into the story, to me at least. I didn’t “jump” into it like I can do with other books sometimes. I forced myself to keep reading because I hate not finishing a book and I wanted to know where the heck did Bernadette go – curiosity is stronger than a few emails and notes, I guess…
After going through all these mail/email exchanges – and after I realized there is NO CHAPTER in this book (am I the only one who is disturb by the absence of chapters ? 😅) – I get attached to Bee and her mom.
I wanted to know more about all the information I had to go through at the beginning, I wanted to know what happened to Bernadette and I enjoyed following their adventures, told in a witty, funny, way.
Bernadette, Bee, the dad, they’re all three attaching characters who you really wish the best to, unlike some other people in the book – at least until you know more about them. But of course I won’t tell more…
I liked the story, really, the subjects, the fact that we have different point of views and which helps realizing how quick we are at judging people sometimes, especially when we know nothing about them…
The story starts in Seattle, favorite city of Bernadette – or not, and ends in Antarctica (did you know that Antarctica is the windiest continent ?).
But really, Maria, what about the end ?! 😱
I’m dying to know what happens next ! To me that is the biggest black point of this book : there is no end. But, there isn’t really a beginning either… I don’t know if I really didn’t like it or if it is just because it is not usual, I really couldn’t tell, because anyway, a book is never the beginning or the end of something, there is always a before and an after…
Regarding the style, I would lie if I say it’s a high-minded piece of art, but it doesn’t pretend to be. However, it is very satirical, which is one of the reasons why I liked the book. I like how Maria describes people and situations and criticizes some kind of people present in our society, some cities and organizations.
Overall I am glad I read this book, but PLEASE MARIA, please write a second book about this lovely family !
Three things I liked about this book :
・It’s written in a very witty, funny style even though the subject is very serious
・I like that it talks about subjects authors rarely write about
・I like the fact that it shows how people can judge too fast, and can be completely wrong even though they are convinced of the contrary
Three things I disliked :
・ There is no real start so my little brain struggled a bit to know when to really get into the story
・ The fact that it starts – and goes on – with emails correspondence, magazine articles, notes… I really had to force myself to keep reading the first part as I really didn’t get the point (I then get it but it took quite some time)
・ THE END MAN ! The frustration is huge !! Like, does the author know we have no clue about what happened in the end ?
A citation I loved :
“I felt so full of love for everything. But at the same time, I felt so hung out to dry there, like nobody could ever understand. I felt so alone in this world, and so loved at the same time.”
― Maria Semple, Where’d you go Bernadette
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Let me know if you read Where’d you go Bernadette !