Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Book Review

(I keep the spoilers to a minimum) This week, I finished reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette, a book that had been on my to-read list for a long time. This book started out abruptly, as all good books do, and although it was hard to get into at first, the format of the narration eventually became second nature to read.

Bernadette is a mom in Seattle and the only thing she doesn’t complain about is her best friend and daughter, Bee. The two are peas in a pod, yet neither really knows the inner workings of the other’s brain. Bee wants nothing more than to spend Christmas on a cruise through Antarctica, and Bernadette wants nothing more than to avoid it.

The book is told through a series of letters, emails, PTA meeting notices, and sometimes through Bee’s perspective directly. Everything intrigued me about their life. Bernadette’s husband’s job at Microsoft, her own run ins with the catty neighbors, Bee’s fascination with Antarctica and boarding school.

I liked this book best when I found myself relating to office drama, neighbors who do everything they can to be nice to your face and talk about you behind your back. Being from a small town, I don’t relate to many movies or stories that often feature New Yorkers or trust fund babies complaining about how hard they have it being on top. However this book offered a refreshing take on just those sort of topics.

Bernadette and her husband moved from California to Seattle, and Bernadette hates it there. She sees Bee as her only ally, and at times, she is. I loved how the relationships between characters were revealed, and the plot was sometimes so shocking that I felt as though I were back reading one of my beloved fantasy novels. This book is surprising and real and confusing right until the end. I could relate to every character in some way, which is difficult for an author to pull off. It’s definitely a story that will stick in my mind. I don’t often read contemporary, but gems like this make me want to read more.

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