• Rachel Penate

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Updated: Apr 10, 2020




If ever there was a quirky tale about life and motherhood it’s, FOR SURE, this one. When Bernadette’s daughter, Bee aces her report card, all she wants is a family trip to Antarctica. All planning seems to go well without a hitch, until Bernadette starts to — well — lose it.

This book is a hilarious take on the pressures of parenting, society, and self.


WHAT I LOVED: Ironically, what I think most will dislike about this book, I love. The story is told from a variety of perspectives and in a variety of mediums — flipping between letters, diary entries, emails, transcripts, etc. — this isn’t just a solid vanilla cake of writing but rather a multi-tiered delicious sample platter.

WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE: I’m on the fence about the way mental health was treated in this book. I think Semple walked a fine line with her approach on depression and suicide. I have not dealt with either personally, but I’m sure some might be offended by her portrayal of it in Bernadette as almost comical

Overall, a brilliantly written, delightfully character-driven, funny, funny, funny book about the power of family and pursuing your passions. AND — there is a movie out in theaters now, double win!!


If you love books about quirky characters a little outside the box, this one if for you! Click here to read more praise for Bernadette.

*Sensitivity Warnings*: talk of depression and suicide.

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