Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.
Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.
To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.
I initially gave this book five stars on Goodreads, but after sleeping on it I changed my rating to four stars. Let me explain. I loved the way the book was written. Loved getting the perspective of Bee, loved learning about characters through their correspondence, and really related to the character of Bernadette. Bernadette is an oddball who suffers from anxiety, specifically social anxiety, which is also something I struggle with. So sometimes when she was behaving irrationally I was just thinking “Yep, sounds about right, do what you gotta do Bernadette.” I love that this book felt a bit like an onion, with all these different layers that you keep peeling away until you get to the heart of the issues. I also loved the satirical aspect, mocking private schools, crazy in-denial mothers who think their children are perfect, and the culture of Microsoft. With all that being said, I think the ending could have been better. I won’t ruin anything for you with spoilers, but I’ll just say this – I don’t like loose ends and issues that are unresolved. So instead of five stars, I give Where’d You Go Bernadette a very solid four.