Maria Semple has put in words the absolutely hilarious absurdity that surrounds us in the modern world day after day. It was impossible not to laugh out loud while reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette. The novel tells the tale of Bernadette Fox, a middle-aged housewife, who once was a hot and promising architect until a neighbour from the Hell came to visit.
Author: Maria Semple
Publisher: Gummerus 2012 (Finnish edition)
Original language: English
Bernadette’s story is partly told through the eyes of her 15-year-old daughter Bee and her tech guru husband Elgie Branch. They live in Seattle, where Bernadette has resorted to avoid human contacts as much as possible. Especially she wants to stay clear of the other mothers of her daughter’s private school. The resentment is mutual as Bernadette is generally regarded as a weirdo. However, for Bee she is the best Mum in the world.
When Bee tells she wants to go on a trip to the Antarctic with her parents, Bernadette panics and her actions from then on create a full-blown chaos. At the peak of the moment she disappears without a trace. Everyone else has resigned all hope of finding her alive, except her daughter Bee. With evidence provided to her by a secret assistant, Bee goes on to find out what really happened and where her mother is.
Semple’s novel has gained lots of admirers and no wonder. It is funny, touching and to the point. Our world is sometimes crazy, crazier than one could ever imagine.