07 December 2012

Where'd You Go, Bernadette ~ Maria Semple

 **** RECOMMEND ****

Tournament of the Books : 2013

A farce paced ride
A compulsive page turner with a screwball edginess

By golly, does this take you along for a fast (or farce) paced ride!  And while it is a screwball comedy it is also full of pathos and funny/sad observations of the Subaru-driving, Microsoft-working, status-obsessed denizens of Seattle.

I thought the book had a terrific sense of place, just needed a coffee in my hand and I felt like I was in Seattle!  (I'll have to take the author's word for the Antarctic!)  Location almost has as important a role as the characters, providing a cultural landscape for the action.  The narrative is well crafted and far from ordinary.  The tightly woven plot is provided through the documents, emails, journal entries and other information accrued by Bee who is trying to find out where her mother, Bernadette, disappeared to ... and that is a lot more quirky than it sounds! 

The book is about relationships : within the family, between husband-and-wife and mother-and-child, with neighbours, the school community and co-workers.  It is also about motherhood and fulfillment.

Funny, clever, a rollicking read full of affectionate barbs and irresistible characters.