Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple was my companion during a pretty stressful week. This quirky book was just the pick-me-up I needed exactly when I needed it. I will be honest, satire isn’t generally the genre I pick up when looking for my next read, but this peek into the life of Seattle parents had me cracking up… out loud… on the plane.
It might be because to some extent, the Subaru driving overzealous parents in Seattle are not too far off from a subset of the Utah parents I know. I’m just over a year into my daughters time in her school and I GET IT. As a parent who want the best for my kids, I understand that many of my parenting antics can be pretty easy to poke fun of.
Bernadette is an architect, or at least a former one, and the descriptions of the craftsman style houses that are all the rage in Seattle (and now Utah) were spot on. I had to mark the passage talking about the requirement for a craftsman to be “poorly situated on the lot” just for my husband to read.
It’s laid out in a style I don’t generally like, as a collection of emails, letters, reports, talks, receipts, you name it. When I am reading a book like that, I generally feel frustrated because that style interrupts my reading flow. This time I was listening to it on Audible, though, and I didn’t find the breaks in the narrative to be too distracting. (Have I talked about how much I love Audible for its ability to let me “read” a book while doing dishes? No? Well then that is a post for another day)
Bernadette’s inability to relate to the other private school moms just made me like her more. It’s a story about a mom slowly falling apart and needing to uncover the version of herself before she was a mother, and reconcile it with who she is now. It’s a serious topic wrapped up in crazy mudslides, blackberry bush fights, Microsoft’s attempts at world domination and a trip to Antartica.
This book will make you laugh and roll your eyes, a lot. I suggest picking it up when you need a lighthearted, albeit slightly condescending book.
P.S. The book club pick for September is The Little Paris Book Shop by Nina George.