Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Maria Semple



Where’d You Go, Bernadette – I bought this because I saw it on some random Internet list of books with the best cover designs. I literally judged this book by its cover. Not ashamed.


Most of this book has a really deft balance between sharp, sarcastic humour, at everyone’s expense, and exploring its characters’ frayed edges. Bernadette is, or becomes, crazy in a lot of ways, and one reason is that she’s an artist who first can’t come back from failure and then can’t create – the passages around artistry and creation were the most powerful to me, and are resonating in these seconds after I’ve finished. There is a lot packed in around motherhood, and religion. I think I’ll have fun re-reading this. For what felt like a quick read, I have lots to analyse.


The form is great: emails, letters, even faxes and transcripts. Lots of voices, nicely juggled. There is a happy ending, weirdly disappointing – I think some of the misery, hidden in phrases in the book, had me expecting a harsh, bracing, unfinished ending. I’m not sure if I like the book better for veering into some sort of redemption.


That’s all for now. 3 down!



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