Review | Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

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#QOTD – Is there a part of your parents which existed once upon a time, and is hard to believe today?

I have heard that my mum has always been a fantastic actor, and also a melodious singer! She keeps humming while she is cooking, but I have never really seen her act! Back in her hometown, during the local plays and theaters, she would always be approached for the female protagonist’s role of Sita (Ramayan) or Joymoti (Lakshminath Bezbaroa’s play about the 17th-century Ahom princess). Apparently, her command on stage and her natural long black hair made her the perfect fit for the roles!

But as I said, I have never seen her up on stage. I have never seen her acting. What happened? Where’d you go, Mum? Well, she got married, and moved from one place to another because of my Dad’s job, and raised us – me and my sister! She kept her creativity aside and carried on. Did marriage do this to her? She is an artist who’s not making her art. I am sure it haunts her!

Bernadette Fox is a successful architect who’s in a rut. She hasn’t designed anything in 20 years. Now she’s a mother with insomnia who claims to hate everyone except her daughter, Bee. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a story about a mother putting creativity aside after kids. She faces a creative failure and reaches a point of rage and frustration and grief. This book is not about Bernadette disappearing, but about Bernadette finding herself! And while she does that, we see laugh out loud moments throughtout the story.

This book is not trying to be a high-minded literature. It’s a fun entertaining story about self-acceptance—finding what makes you happy and learning how to balance that with the expectations of others that you can’t shake off.

I don’t want to say anymore because I just want you to go read the book. I mean it. GO!