Book Review- Where’d You go Bernadette by Maria Semple

I have not posted a book review for a while. I honestly finished this book a long time ago too. I also started a book and then I stopped because I had no time to read and by the time I could actually sit down for a while, I couldn’t remember anything about the book. When I had time, I finally finished another one, and so I have another book review to write. And after I write that maybe I’ll actually be on time with my reviews this summer. I can write it when I actually finish it so it won’t be difficult to remember.

So. This book was really interesting. At first, it’s a little crazy with what’s going on. It is a series of memos, emails, and notes mixed with the actual story. Eventually, I ignored it because I got interested in the plot. And don’t let the deter you, it was a great book. It makes sense halfway through, and the humour is just perfect. This book follows Bee’s hunt to look for clues to discover the mysterious disappearance of her mother, Bernadette. Bernadette as a character is quirky, and she is the source of a vast majority of the smiles. As usual, I will give you the quotes that stood out to me.

1.       Because they’re annoying, but not so annoying that you actually want to spend valuable energy on them (23).
I laughed so hard at this. Who hasn’t run into people like this? One will always come across the people that you simply have to brush off and yeah, maybe scare them by almost running into them with your car (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER). I wouldn’t actually do that, but I wanted to give you a taste of the events that make this book a page-turner. Like I said, the humour in this book is perfection. It’s so easy to follow, and easy to relate to.

2.       “You’re bored. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it’s boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be” (43-44).
This quote is from Bernadette herself. I completely agree with it. She says it to her daughter and a friend when they are young, and it resonates with Bee throughout her years. And it should! We have all heard the saying “a team is only as strong as its weakest link,” and if we change that to “your life is only as exciting as your boring choices,” then we have ourselves a philosophy to live by! Make life exhilarating, dare yourself to push past your own boundaries, and live with choices you are proud of.

3.       No, the sun didn’t come out, but Mom opened up like the sun breaking through the clouds (81).
I can just imagine this moment. I love watching this happen to people. That moment when you first see all their fears melting away, and it’s like their soul is left bare for you. And it really is the sun breaking through the clouds for the first time in a long time (something I’ve been waiting for where I live). It’s magical. It’s beautiful. It’s like you’ve never felt the sun before. That’s what it feels like when someone finally opens up to you.

4.       Maybe that’s what religion is, hurling yourself off a cliff and trusting that something bigger will take care of you and carry you to the right place (199).
I am religious, and I am proud to say it. I believe in God, and I trust in Him, just like this quote says. To me, this is what religion is. I know the big question is “how do you really know?” Well, I don’t. I have no clue if there is a God. Blind trust? Yeah! Easy? No way! But I don’t need for it to be explained to me. I hate how the simplest things, like love, now have to be explained by science. Sometimes, things need to be experienced and felt, and not explained.

5.       I raced back down the concrete ramp, faster than I ever had before, so fast I could have fallen, but I didn’t fall, because Mom was in the world (267).
I just smiled so much when I read this. I think this is what mother and daughter love should be all about, particularly at young ages. Bee has no idea what kind of life her mother leads, only knowing that she leads it with difficulty, and she loves her mother so much regardless. Her love for her mother fills her with hope and happiness and pure joy. What a wonderful relationship!

6.       It was just me and time (268).
I love it when a sentence so simple makes me stop and reread it. This is patience. You and time. For some reason, it makes me feel calm. It reminds me that life will always keep going, even if I want to stop. It feels like time will always be there when other things won’t. It also reminds me that with time, things will get better. Things will change with time.

7.       She had to carry all my weight in her arms because I had just given up (306).
This is comfort to me. This is support, and love, and what it means to be there for someone. This is the person that you are comfortable to break down around, and you know they will catch you because you forgot the freaking glue to put yourself back together. My heart is all fuzzy from this quote.
So there you go. This book is certainly an easy read. It is lighthearted, and mysterious, and funny, and I finished it rather quickly. The fact that I can recall all the details after this long means it was even better than I originally thought! So I give this book a 4.4/5 (1 being boring and not understandable, and 5 being life changing and jaw dropping-ly brilliant). I am very clearly picky about my fives. I suggest this book for the summer! If you have any book suggestions, let me know!


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