Maria Semple, a former writer of the resurrected sitcom Arrested Development has since turned her hand to writing novels instead of TV shows. Her 2nd--Where'd You Go, Bernadette--is an hilarious comedy of manners set in Seattle. The novel is a modern epistolary piece, using emails, memos and other documents for the majority of the storytelling. Following young Bee as her mother fears the family's upcoming cruise to Antarctica, Semple's hilarious work takes on some interesting works, making it a fabulous piece to describe the time we live in.
While Bee may be our part-time narrator and full-time sleuth, this novel belongs to her mother, Bernadette. The agoraphobic middle-aged woman we see at the beginning of the novel becomes a fuller character as the novel progresses. Seeing her as an architect in her twenties, being "green" before the eco-friendly movement had truly evolved. A hippie at heart, taken too far out of her comfort zone by life's circumstances, Bernadette is at first unlikeable, and slowly becomes relateable. Frighteningly so.
You will laugh when you read this book. It's light enough to be perfect for beach reading, but substantial enough to keep you thinking. Your bursts of laughter will make your friends fight over who gets to borrow your copy first. It's wacky and zany, but at its heart, this is a story about a daughter's love for her mother with lots of weird happenings and misunderstandings around them.
Bottom Line: I loved reading this book. It was fun and surprising. Perfect for summer, or any other time of year. Go get your copy now!
You can find Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette at your local chain bookstore, online, or at an independent bookstore near you (click here for a list). You can also download it to your Kindle, Nook, iPad or other eBook reader.