Year 8, Book 98

98. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Bernadette Fox is a reknowned architect who essentially disappeared after the completion of her first and only building. Her husband is high up in Microsoft heading up a new and important project. They have a 15-year old daughter Bee, who convinces them to take her on a trip to Antarctica, which Bernadette who has become almost agoraphobic over the years begins to panic about setting off a series of absurd events that eventually lead to her disappearance. The story is told mostly from Bernadette’s perspective, but sometimes from other characters’ as well intermixed with correspondance such as emails and letters as Bee tries to piece together what happened and tries to find out where her mother has gone.

It’s an absurd, but fun novel told in a creative way. I especially enjoyed how the changes in perspective flipped some things on their head. When Bernadette is sharing many of the things she’s doing based on her thoughts and feelings they seem normal, but when looked at from the viewpoint of others they come across as entirely insane. Who is to say what is normal and what is not? I give it a 7 out of 10.

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