Where’d You Go, Bernadette

I am a great fan of Gilmore Girls. I am not really a TV person, therefore not many TV serials managed to capture my attention as much as Gilmore Girls. It’s been years since I last followed Lorelai and Rory’s stories, and I am sad to say that I didn’t manage to finish all the seasons. I found out recently that it is available on Netflix, and there is this 8 books to read if you’ve already binged your way through Gilmore Girls on Netflix post. Out of the eight on the list, I could only find one in the university’s library – Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

Bernadette Fox, the lady whose name is on the book’s title, is the mother of a very brilliant girl Bee and wife to Microsoft-superstar Elgin Fox. They live in Seattle, in an out-of-the-ordinary house under out-of-the-ordinary circumstances. Bernadette is perceived to be eccentric and anti-social. Bee, the fifteen-year-old daughter, is an intelligent girl who had been accepted into a boarding school (which is when all the drama begins) and is looking forward to a trip to Antarctica with her parents, as a reward for her performance. The book is a compilation of e-mails, notes and memos written or received by the characters who has a part to play in Bernadette’s sudden disappearance prior to the Antarctica trip.

One of the reasons that it is a recommended read for Gilmore Girls fans is the relationship between Bee and Bernadette. Even though Bernadette appears to be aloof to her neighbour and community, she shares a deep bond with Bee. Bee loves her and defends her when she was being verbally attacked by the other mothers from her school. Bernadette may appear to be hostile and mentally unsound even to her husband, but she did an excellent job raising Bee. On the other hand, another mother who appears to be friendly and have-it-all is actually very much estranged from her son.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is interesting, funny and heart-warming. Being written as a compilation of writings by the characters, it allows me to read first-hand their perspectives. How the same incident can be interpreted so differently by the two parties involved! The fact that Bernadette “became a nuisance” when she no longer is creating (she was a brilliant architect before moving to Seattle), reminds me that our talents should be put to good use.

As for the other 7 on the list, well, it will have to be saved for another time.


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