Bernadette is Worth Finding
What would you do if the police and the FBI were in your living room and your mother disappeared from an upstairs bathroom? Fifteen-year old Bee chooses to investigate because she can't believe her mother, Bernadette, would just leave her. And so begins the central mystery of Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple.
Bee is an eighth-grader with extraordinary parents. Her father is a computer genius who works for Microsoft and her mother is a talented architect who stopped working sometime before Bee was born. The three of them live in a ramshackle building that was a reform school for unwed pregnant teens. Their home is falling apart; blackberries are growing up through the floorboards, watered by all the leaks coming through the decomposing roof. Bee doesn't especially mind, because this is normal for her. She also thinks it is fairly normal that her mother--who does not like being around people--has a virtual assistant in India who pays all the bills, orders in groceries, and takes care of any tasks that can be done over the Internet.
The novel is told from Bee’s point of view, but it includes all the emails, police reports, and other data Bee gathers during her investigation, so you get a chance to see how Bernadette thinks. She’s a woman with strong opinions, and many of her observations are very funny. Overall the whole novel is fun but has enough real emotion to make you care about this oddball family.
An Alex Award Winner!
Where Did you Go, Bernadette? just won an Alex Award. That's an award given to adult books with teen appeal. You can find other winners here.
CynthiaR learned that a thin layer of mayonnaise in a sushi roll is actually quite delicious. Thank you Yuze!