The Book Junkie

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Maria Semple Most of this book is written in correspondence of one type or another from and to various characters in the story. At first, I found this to be a bit confusing but once I nailed down who each character was and got a better sense of the role each was playing in the story, it was no longer an issue.
The most interesting thing about the story is the combination of snarky humor and difficult family issues. I was often laughing at what one character said or what another character did but when you really look underneath the humor, you have some characters in this book that are really suffering. The reader is exposed to the very real issues of anxiety, agoraphobia, bullying, internet scamming, adultery, and neglect amongst others and this is not to be taken lightly. What is even more interesting however, is that even though we have some bad behavior, there are really no unlikeable characters. I disliked all of them at certain moments in the book but once their background stories are shared, I could understand their actions and turn that dislike into compassion and a hope that things would get better for each and every one of them.
Even with all of these deep issues, the story is indeed laugh out loud funny at times and being a mom myself, I could relate to some of the opinions Bernadette had about where she was living and the people she was dealing with. Her reality was a bit different from most people's and she really made some crazy decisions that had me smacking myself on the forehead and wishing I could just shake her until she saw the error of her ways.
I could empathize a lot with Bee, Bernadette's daughter. She didn't really have the life of the normal teenager. What I loved though, was that she just accepted her mom the way she was and was always her advocate. The bond they shared was strong and Bee believed in her mom even when she learned about what was really going on. She never gave up on her.
This was a good book. I would probably give it about three and a half stars out of five. It was both funny and touching. I'm glad I read it and it made me appreciate my family and all of our small dysfunctional moments. I think it also reminded me to not judge when people act in a certain way without getting to know the circumstances first.

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