The Book Stops Here: Where’d You go Bernadette by Maria Semple
By CJ Trent Administrative Assistant Mathematics Department
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 13:02
Are you ready for a wildly funny skewering of Seattle’s hipster culture, political correctness and all things Microsoft? Novelist Maria Semple gives the reader all of this and more: TEDtalks, militant blackberry vine abatement, psychological doublespeak, frenemies and admins in hoodies madly intertwine in this fast-paced tale of the Fox family.
Mom Bernadette is super smart, an architect and former MacArthur Genius Grant winner, as neurotic as she is brilliant. Dad Elgin is an “Outstanding Technical Leader” at Microsoft and famous for his shoeless, visionary TEDtalk (number 4 on the list of all-time most watched TEDtalks).
Precocious only child Bee is the top student at the exclusive Galer Street Middle School. Bee’s parents have told her she can have anything she wants for a graduation gift, and Bee wants a family trip to Antarctica.
Bernadette, who can barely leave the house unmedicated and has recently hired a virtual assistant in India so she doesn’t have to talk to anyone, reluctantly acquiesces.
As plans for the trip take shape and progress, everyday life starts to unravel for Bee’s parents. Bernadette’s secret past reemerges and may well overwhelm her, while Elgin is tempted by his hero-worshiping assistant, who in turn is egged on by the Fox’s neighbor, the envious and devious Audrey Griffin. And then Bernadette disappears.
Where and why she’s gone, and how Bee manages to locate her and reunite her family, is the sweet and touching heart of this hilarious, careening novel. I loved this book, chomped through it and swallowed it whole in an evening, laughing madly. And I learned a lot about Antarctica as well.
C. J. Trent works for the Math Dept. and rarely wears hoodies.