Book Review – Where’d You Go, Bernadette
October 23, 2014
Where’d You Go, Bernadette is the selection for my work’s book club this month. It is a book I had heard good things about, and I suggested it to the group at our last meeting. Unfortunately, after reading it, I’m slightly disappointed that I made the recommendation. It is not what I consider a “meaty” book club selection that sparks extensive discussion or debate.
In a nutshell, Bernadette is a former architect that has become so socially reclusive that she requiries a personal assistant in India to handle many of her day-to-day functions. Following incidences with her husband, his coworker, and a neighbor, Bernadette goes missing. The story revolves around her daughter Bee attempting to track her mom down.
I was very hopeful at the beginning of the book, intrigued by the characters of Bernadette and Bee. However, I don’t feel Semple developed the main characters as fully as I expected. At the end, I still didn’t have a solid grasp of who they were as individuals. In addition, I feel that the plot twists were a little contrived as Semple attempted to wrap up the story in a tidy package.
On the plus side, I like the format Semple uses of alternating between narratives, emails, letters, and official documents that Bee uses as she attempts to track down her mom. The shifts kept me interested in finding out what new information was coming next. In addition, I like how Semple explored the themes of mental illness and how a person’s identity changes with big life events.
Although this is not an ideal book club selection, I do think it provides a suitable option as a beach or airplane read. It is a light, quick read that does provide some entertaining moments. I know I am late to the game reading this one, and I’m guessing many of you have already read it. This book does receive good reviews on goodreads, making me curious what you think. Comment below and let me know what you liked or didn’t like.