Where'd You Go, Bernadette
By Maria Semple
Bee's mom has gone missing, and Bee's not going to stand for it. Told through e-mails, notes, video footage, and anything a private investigator might get her hands on, this is the story of the search for Bernadette Fox. Bernadette has made plenty of enemies since moving to Seattle, but her daughter, Bee, idolizes her. This precocious, brilliant 15-year old, is thoroughly devoted to her mom but she hasn't noticed some of her flaws. For instance, Bernadette's fervent desire to avoid contact with anyone outside their family. Or her intense fear of leaving the house, so much so that she hires a woman in India to take care of all of her affairs via the internet. When Bee gets a good report card and tries to cash in on her parents' promise to take her to Antarctica, Bernadette agrees. But through an unlikely and increasingly madcap series of events, planning for this trip brings the Fox family's world crashing down around them. And then, Bernadette is gone.
Though it may seem like Bernadette is the clear victim here, she's quite a polarizing figure. My sympathies veered wildly between the characters at times, and Bernadette's bitter view of the people around her is occasionally difficult to swallow. But Bee's optimistic attitude and the bizarre actions of some of Bernadette's rivals help the entire book come together as a story of a woman against the world. In the end, you really do wonder what happened to her. And you're rooting for Bee to find out.
This title is available as a book, an audiobook, and a downloadable audiobook. I listened to it, so if you've got a commute to work consider this a recommendation for you.
Review by Danny Hanbery