Book review of “Where'd You Go, Bernadette”

What happens when a Type- A, MacArthur-winning former architect and whose opinions become her problems, goes missing? Her plucky, bright and endlessly curious teenage daughter, Bee, strings together documents, emails, FBI reports, magazine articles into a collage to find out, as the title of the book suggests, where Bernadette disappeared to. “Where'd You Go, Bernadette” is a modern day epistolary novel, about misplaced genius and portrays motherhood as something that is equally frustrating and consuming as well as complex yet wonderful.

Bernadette is a stay at home mother who is remarkably anti social who has alienated everybody around her, including her Microsoft geek of a husband. Her decaying home becomes a metaphor for her emotional state. Semple gives us real people in real time, three geniuses who are a bit out of the box.

Due to the structure of the book you find yourself racing on, desperately trying to fit in the pieces together to get a better understanding of Bernadette's life and the reason behind every one's dislike towards her. Bee's feverish yet systematic search for her takes the reader not only through Antarctica but also through a compelling plot. With numerous endearing moments and realized characters, the book rises in a crescendo of unbelievability, Maria Semple, hardly gives her reader time to breathe.\

-Dewvashree Goenka