When 15-year-old Bee’s mother goes missing, she’s not content with her father’s answer that it’s “complicated” and not her fault. So when she gets her hands on a thick envelope of documents including emails, journal entries, receipts, and an FBI file, Bee is determined to find out what really happened. What she discovers is shocking, heartbreaking, snarky, sweet, silly and relatable all at once.
In a novel told through these found documents, with occasional interjections by Bee, we discover the answer to the title question Where’d You Go, Bernadette? We learn about a quirky family that lives in a house that must be weed-whacked on the inside, one that plans a trip to Antarctica because Bee gets straight As, one whose dinner reservations are made by a virtual assistant based in India (thus leading to the FBI file). We also learn about a creative woman who can’t recover from crushed dreams, her genius husband who throws himself into work to escape reality, and their uniquely gifted daughter who loves her family despite its eccentricities and flaws.
Written by Maria Semple, the book is a quick read. It’s hard not to be drawn into the lives of Bee, Bernadette, Elgie and the rest of the quirky cast of characters.