Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I'm not sure how I forgot to write this book up, when I've been telling all my girlfriends to read it - and yes, definitely more of a 'girlfriend' book.  This book is quirky, pointed, meanly-funny, and shockingly well written.  Semple is obviously either a Seattle-native, or has lived there for years, as she is right on with her irritations of the Northwest (yes, we do all wear REI clothing and  say 'no worries' to just about everything).  Bernadette, our resident heroine, is a stay-at-home mom with a single daughter and Microsoft husband.  Her neighbors (aka 'gnats') annoy the heck out of her, while she lives in a moldy old nunnery at the top of Queen Ann hill.  As the story of Bernadette's'insanity' unfolds, we also learn of her previous life as an architect in southern California, adding depth to her character and some motivation for her behavior. Her relationship with her long-distance East Indian assistant, her planning of a trip to Antarctica, and her relationship with the other moms makes Bernadette one of my favorite literary charaters of the last few years. I literally could not put this book down, I laughed out loud frequently, and related waaaaay too much to Bernadette's behavior (haven't we all wanted to run our mini-vans over ridiculous PTA moms just once?!).  LOVED this book!

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