Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What I'm Reading: Where'd You Go Bernadette

There is a moment in Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go Bernadette where you feel like you’re snooping through an investigator’s evidence file. There are e-mails, FBI reports, psychiatric evaluations, and articles that, bit by bit, tell you the story of Bernadette Fox.  It is clear early on that Bernadette is a bit of a recluse—a formerly famous recluse.

The story exposes the truth of what happens when a women becomes undone. Devastation takes her apart bit by bit until she is a shell of her former self. Bernadette goes from winning a MacArthur Genius Grant for her architectural work to taking solace in an airstream trailer in the overgrown backyard of her shambles of a house.  Depressing, right? Not as much as you’d expect actually. Bernadette, for all of her reclusive and eccentric ways, is easy to relate to.  At her core, she is smart, loving and genuine. The beauty in her is just masked by her anxiety. I feel like we’ve all had those moments where we’re teetering on the edge. Bernadette tips over…and runs.

Without giving too much away, I will say the book ends as it should in my opinion and leaves you will a sense that the intersection of motherhood, marriage and personal passion can explode into something painful and frustrating. At the same time, it gives you hope that from that explosion can come pure love...and one hell of a story.  

The book is funny, sarcastic and emotional in a way that will keep you turning its pages without attention to the time. 


Anonymous said...

I was thinking about getting this. Thanks for the review. I'll have to see if there is an audiobook...

A Curated Life said...

There is an audiobook. Kathleen Wilhoite does a great job narrating. It's on audible and Amazon.