Over spring break Cortney and I took Eddie to Chicago. We went to some of the typical fun tourist things like Shedd Aquarium and the Lincoln Park Zoo. While Eddie was swimming in the hotel pool (on the top floor), Cortney noticed a little new/used bookstore a couple blocks downs from our hotel. The next night, after dinner–and a few beers–Cortney suggested we walk to the bookstore. And then he bought us each one book.
How do you decide on just one book when you are standing in an old, creaky building filled with words?
So I scoured the shelves.
I picked things up. At some point I had 10 books in my arms.
In the end, I chose Where’d You Go, Bernadette? I really didn’t know anything about the book other than I saw on Facebook that a group of friends had read it and discussed it and they liked it.
And the cover looked interesting. Sometimes it’s just that simple.
I’ve heard people say this book is funny. That is not entirely accurate. If you are looking for fall down giggle-fest, you will be disappointed. This book is witty and smart. Yes, you will chuckle, but it’s not a “humor book”.
The story is told mostly in a series of emails and other correspondence that 15-year old Bee put together with some of her own narrative in between. Together, they paint a portrait of her mom, Bernadette Fox, a former award-winning architect turned recluse and the series of unfortunate events that lead to her disappearance.
The title is about more than just the main vanishing act in the book, though. It also refers to where Bernadette goes mentally. She was once a stable, successful architect, but now she never leaves her house other than for school drop off and pick up. The book reads partly like a mystery, partly like a narrative, and partly like a scrapbook of letters and emails.
It’s a very quick read; I think I picked it up on a Friday night and was done by Sunday before bed. Bernadette’s character fascinated me because I found myself being able to relate to her reluctance to leave the house, talk on the phone, or do anything that involved dealing with people. I also found it disturbing that I related to her so well.
If you’re looking for a quick, entertaining read for a weekend, this is it.