I first heard about Where’d You Go Bernadette from my aunt and was completely ignorant as to what the book was about. I didn’t even know that it was based on Seattle until I cracked the book open! My aunt wasn’t sure what she thought about it, but wanted me to read it and to let me know what I thought after I finished. I was hesitant. Maybe it’s that creepy cover? (I had to remove the book jacket before I could start reading!) All I knew about the book was that the author also wrote for Arrested Development, a show that I was never a fan of. So maybe it was a toxic mix of lukewarm referrals, horrible cover art and unimpressive writing credits, but I wasn’t looking forward to reading WYGB.
As I started to read, I struggled. Just as my aunt had. It’s a strange thing to read about the city, the neighborhood and the street that you live on. The title character Bernadette despises Seattle. And while it’s grossly unfair to only point out the negative aspects of living in the city, she’s completely right about every negative quirk. The arrogant Microsoft cult. The women with PhD’s who’d rather spend their day fixated on their child’s school activities. The crazy homeless people. The gray, dreary weather and subsequent bad hair days. The “Seattle freeze” where people just don’t talk to you past idle chit chat about the weather. Oh, and there are a TON of 5-way intersections.
WYGB is written almost entirely in emails, IM’s and handwritten notes. This format makes reading faster and easier to skim. That’s ok. Where’d You Go Bernadette isn’t hard hitting factual drama… it’s fluff. In the end, you’ll find yourself speed reading to find out what happened to Bernadette anyway.
WYGB is a great book to read on a plane or over a vacation. The story is interesting, intriguing and plays on all the right emotions. You inexplicably care about this weird, unrealistic family and their seemingly outrageous lifestyles. You’ll desperately want to find Bernadette and help her realize that everything isn’t so bad. I started reading the book on a paticularily cold and dreary Seattle morning, curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee. I finished it that night in bed. If you find yourself in need of a short and sweet good book fix, I recommend this one!