I am 3 for 3 so far this year. One of my new year’s resolutions was to read one whole book per month and so far I have accomplished this. Phew!
Last summer, I read A Homemade Life thanks to a recommendation on this post. I LOVED the book and have enjoyed making some of the recipes too. Side note….the chocolate cupcake recipe is THE best cupcake I have ever eaten! My dear friend Erin moved to Seattle (where A Homemade Life takes place) and I sent her a copy of this book because I thought she would really enjoy the story and getting to read about her new surroundings.
Soon after sending this package, I received a surprise package in the mail from Erin! She wanted to share a book she had recently loved reading with me: Where’d You Go, Bernadette. She described the book as “funny & poignant” and goodness, was she right! Thanks for the book recommendation, sweet friend!
Quirky is really the best way to describe Where’d You Go, Bernadette. I had been reading mostly serious books recently and this was a nice, light-hearted change of pace. This fictional story takes place in Seattle where a mother and father live with their daughter. Elgie Branch is the father and a genius who works for Microsoft. Bernadette Fox is the mother and a former famous architect. Bee is the daughter, a high school student at a well-to-do private school. Throughout the book, the author includes large chunks of flashbacks so as to understand Bernadette and Elgie’s life when they were first married and both young professionals, as well as describing life in the present with Bee.
Life is going along fine….Elgie is working crazy hours at Microsoft, Bernadette is getting into tiffs with other mothers at Bee’s school (whom Bernadette calls "gnats"), and Bee is getting good grades and hanging out with her one friend from school. Then Bee aces her report card and it’s time to cash in on her reward: a family trip to Antarctica. The idea of this trip sets off Bernadette and she starts to do out-of-the-ordinary, bizarre things. For example, Bernadette hires a virtual assistant named Manjula who lives in India to do things for her like place prescriptions and make appointments for her so she doesn’t have to make local phone calls. Sabotaging a school event organized by one of the "gnats" was also on Bernadette's list of unpredictable behavior.
As the trip to Antarctica grows closer, the packages roll in with supplies for the trip and the family is getting excited. Well…until Elgie confronts Bernadette about her odd behavior and she leaves--- leaves the house, leaves Seattle, and is nowhere to be found. The last 100 pages or so of the book focus on Bee really knowing her Mom and trying to solve the mystery of where her mom could have gone.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a story of a mother/daughter pair who really understand each other, even though the rest of the world does not. Bernadette’s quirkiness adds comedy to the novel as she is “misunderstood” by other Seattleites and irritates her neighbors and the “gnats.” I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a comical, yet eccentric novel about a dysfunctional family living in Seattle. Thanks again Erin for the recommendation!