Disappear–Like the Eponymous Heroine–Into the Novel “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”

nernBernadette, a reclusive yet insightful architect, has vanished, seemingly into thin air. Her husband, Elgin, seems more concerned with developing his revolutionary new Microsoft program than finding her. Thus, it falls on her daughter Bee’s shoulders to discover where Bernadette disappeared. Told through e-mail and snail mail correspondence between characters, the mysterious circumstances around Bernadette’s disappearance became hilariously apparent.

Author Maria Semple is familiar with comedic dysfunctional families through her involvement with Arrested Development and Mad About You, and she applies this knowledge perfectly. The fully-realized characters that inhabit this novel are both absurd and relatable. And the whimsicality of the story and writing make this both a swift and entertaining read. Not since I read Sophie Kinsella’s I’ve Got Your Number have I been so amused by a novel.

Humorous novels are hard to pull off. Reading does not lend itself to LOL levels of comedy. But Semple’s perfectly crafted story combines so many random elements that you can’t help but laugh when you see how all the pieces fit together. Bernadette is definitely one novel that you’ll want to devour some lazy weekend.

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  1. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple | Attack of the Books!

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