Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst of all, I love Maria Semple’s website!  You have to go see it!  Second, I thought her book was funny and unique.

What this book is about, in a nutshell:  Bernadette is an eccentric wife and mother, who is on the verge of a breakdown.  Then she disappears.  Some people are ready to write her off and good riddance, but her daughter, Bee, is convinced that she is still alive and is determined to find her.  Along the way, she also learns a lot more about her mother than she ever knew.

What I like about this book:   This story is smart, funny, and unpredictable.  I rarely knew what was coming next.  It also has a heartwarming message buried inside all the humour.  And I like the dog’s name, Ice-cream.

Bee and her Dad searching for Bernadette in Antarctica.

Bee and her Dad searching for Bernadette in Antarctica.

My Favourite part of the book:  I loved the descriptions of Antarctica.  Describing the icebergs:

“They were so haunting and majestic you could feel your heart break…”

I often feel like my heart could break when I see beautiful things.  Like my children.  And the leaves in autumn.

Who should read this book:  Anyone who likes a quick, entertaining, heartwarming read.

A favourite quote:  Written from Bernadette to her personal assistant, Manjula, who lives in India:

“One of the main reasons I don’t like leaving the house is because I might find myself face to face with a Canadian.  Seattle is crawling with them.  You probably think U.S./Canada, they’re interchangeable because they’re both filled with English-speaking, morbidly obese white people.  Well, Manjula, you couldn’t be more mistaken.

Americans are pushy, obnoxious, neurotic, crass- anything and everything- the full catastrophe, as our friend Zorba might say.  Canadians are none of that.  The way you might fear a cow sitting down in the middle of the street during rush hour, that’s how I fear Canadians.  To Canadians, everyone is equal.  Joni Mitchell is interchangeable with a secretary at open-mic night.  Frank Gehry is no greater than a hack pumping out McMansions on AutoCAD.  John Candy is no funnier than Uncle Lou when he gets a couple of beers in him.  No wonder the only Canadians anyone’s ever heard of are the ones who have gotten the hell out.  Anyone with talent who stayed would be flattened under an avalanche of equality.  The thing Canadians don’t understand is that some people are extraordinary and should be treated as such.”

First, let me be clear that I do not necessarily agree with anything said in this quote- I just like the quote.  And it made me wonder, is it true?  What do you think?

One more note:  Thanks to Reading-in-Bed for giving me this idea to create a scene from the book!  With lots of help from my 10-year-old son.  

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6 thoughts on “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

  1. Cecilia says:

    Ha ha, I don’t have an opinion about Bernadette’s quote but I did love this book! And the quote reminds me of just how quirky and funny the book is.

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