Grisselda Nihardja

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Posted in Books • 7 June 2014

Whered You Go Bernadette - grisscorner

Have you ever bought a book because of the cover? *raising my hand*

That happened when I saw Where’d You Go, Bernadette at Books and Beyond.  It was a fall in love at first sight moment – as silly as it sounds – and I thought I have to buy it that day.  Actually I was a bit nervous to start reading the book because just by reading the synopsis I thought it was not my cup of tea.  I like Young Adult Dystopia, Fantasy, and Romance Contemporary and this book is definitely none of that. But I bought it anyway, and suprisingly, I’m hooked on it.

What it is about?

It’s about 15 year old Bee, who lives in Seattle with her Mom, Bernadette, and her father who’s like a genius in Microsoft.  Bee got a chance to ask anything from her parents since she aced her report academic report card and she asks for a family trip to Antartica. The thing is, Bernadette dissapears two days before Christmas and of course Bee wants to find her mom.  Who doesn’t? That’s exactly what I’d do if my mom gone poof. So Bee is trying her best to track her mom through piles of  memos, emails, official documents, etc.

My thoughts on Where’d You Go, Bernadette:

This is the first time I read a book with an unique story telling.  Maria Semple wrote this book in a very fresh satire, original, and interesting kind of way!  I felt like I was also there with Bee, reading tons of emails, articles, documents, FBI documents, conversation recap, and other things to help tracking Bernadette. I’ve read this book in one day because I couldn’t stop until I know for sure why Bernadette did that, what’s triggering her action, who is she actually, and other questions that I had in the beginning.

Bernadette is actually an architect, and she used to live in Los Angeles before moving to Seatle.  By reading the first chapter you’d know Bernadette hates Seatle, including the parents community in Bee’s school.  Basically they want Bernadette to get involved in the community, like trying to do something to make the school better and stuff, but on the other side Bernadette doesn’t want to be bothered with those kinds of things – if they need money, let’s just send money to the school, end of story.  I know how it feels being a new person adjusting to an entirely different city and culture.  Of course it’s not easy, it’s not the comfort zone, it’s completely different from people, places, food, the “competition”, to transportation and traffic, you name it.  I can relate to Bernadette, because I know the struggle, and heck yeah it’s very easy to got annoyed with annoying parent in school! :p Bernadette is struggling to get over and move on from her previous events in her life.  She has developed depression and agoraphobia that made her hire a personal assistant from India to take care her daily errands.

I love the fact that the characters in this book have flaws.  Bee is not perfect, Elgin – her dad – is not perfect, and Bernadette obviously is not either.  Add the other parents in Bee’s school for that category.  They have ups and downs, just like ordinary people in this world, no matter how clever, no matter how rich, and no matter how good they look. They have their own doubts and they have different ways to face problem.  This book s

Bee and Bernadette have a beautiful strong mother-daughter bond. I can feel Bee’s determination to solve all the “mystery” and find her mom because she’s simply miss her and worry about her.  It’s easy to emphatize with Bee, Bernadette, and Elgin and at the end of the story I ended up love this book.  The story is touching, it’s not only about family but somehow I feel we can learn to find what we love to do in our life, what makes us happy, and the most important thing is accept who we are.  If you’re unique, good for you!  Probably not everyone in the world will understand you, but you are you.  Just flip your hair and do your thing :)

The closure is satisfying, yet somehow feels like an open ending which surprisingly I love since I can imagine/choose which kind of closure that I like.   I’m glad I picked up this book, and definitely it’s going to be in one of my all time favorites.

Recommended For:

People who want to try something different.  You’re going to find the story, the characters, and the story telling are totally different compared to the others.

Rating: 5 Stars Out of 5! :)