Where’d you Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple
Little, Brown and Company, 326 pages
When Bernadette Fox graduated from architecture school, she established herself quite firmly as a genius of found materials. An abandoned bifocals factory, under Bernadette’s vision, became a beautiful, postmodern house filled with glimmering furniture constructed from the glasses that were left behind. For her next project, Fox committed to build a house out of glass and steel, composed entirely from materials found within a twenty-mile radius. Fox made the glass from local sand, sourced the steel from a recycling yard, and created a work of such beauty that she was awarded a prestigious grant. Then tragedy struck, Fox stopped creating, and she and her husband retreated to Seattle.
Fast forward fifteen years, and Fox is a mess. She lives with her husband and daughter in a dilapidated, abandoned girls’ school. She trusts no one and rarely leaves home. A virtual assistant from India takes care of all necessary calls and practicalities, her husband spends nearly all his waking hours at the Microsoft empire, and the mothers at her daughter’s school consider her beneath contempt. When her daughter Bee has her heart set on a family trip to Antarctica, it’s too much for the reclusive Fox to handle, precipitating a series of crises that help Fox find her way back to sanity.
A thought-provoking and darkly funny take on identity, achievement, and family life, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? will appeal to readers who enjoyed Meg Wolitzer’s The Ten Year Nap and the works of Elinor Lipman.