Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.
Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.
To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.
I really wanted to enjoy Where’d You Go, Bernadette after hearing so many rave reviews. I wouldn’t say I didn’t enjoy it, but I felt a little let down by it in the end.
The characters themselves were all great. I loved reading about Bernadette and all her craziness, although sometimes she seemed to be a little too crazy. Why her husband didn’t intervene earlier and try and get her help is beyond me, especially considering the state of their “house” and her agoraphobia.
The way the story was put together didn’t quite make the mark for me. When I read the book cover I thought the story would be more about Bee trying to figure out where her mother disappeared to. Instead, it was a little discombobulated and when Bernadette finally does disappear, the remainder of the story seems rushed and plot lines seem unfinished. (What about Soo-Lin? Audrey?) I was rapidly turning the pages to see what happens, only to feel a little let down.
(I’d also like to know what Bernadette has against us Canadians, haha!)
Still, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is still an OK read. There a hint of satire and sarcasm that really spoke to me, so I’m still going to give it 3.5 stars out of 5.