To Elgie Branch, a Microsoft wunderkind, she’s his hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled wife.
To fellow mothers at the school gate, she’s a menace.
To design experts, she’s a revolutionary architect.
And to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, quite simply, mum.
Then Bernadette disappears. And Bee must take a trip to the end of the earth to find her.
This book is pure satire and I loved everything about it. There were so many times when reading this book that I cracked up laughing and had to explain to my husband what on earth was so funny. This book consumed me very quickly because Maria Semple has a talent of keeping the reader engaged in humorous scenes through the use of many voices and keeps the story interesting by using lots of mediums; there are letters, FBI documents, correspondence to and from a psychiatrist and an emergency room invoice following a hilarious incident (I won’t give too much away!) The characters in this book are all believable and at times their behaviour is completely unbelievable, which adds to the hilarity of the situations. I especially loved the relationship between Bernadette and Bee, perfectly captured in this extract:
“When “Here Comes the Sun” started, what happened? No, the sun didn’t come out, but Mom opened up like the sun breaking through the clouds. You know how in the first few notes of that song, there’s something about George’s guitar that’s just so hopeful? It was like when Mom sang, she was full of hope, too. She even got the irregular clapping right during the guitar solo. When the song was over, she paused.
“Oh Bee,” she said. “This song reminds me of you.” She had tears in her eyes.”
On the strength of this book I have bought her most recent novel, Today Will Be Different. A TV show based upon the books is said to be in the works and it is rumoured that Julia Roberts is to star in it, so I am incredibly intrigued to read.
On a side note: I’m a subscriber to The Bestseller Experiment Podcast and if you’re a writer or even if you just like hearing authors discussing their process to creating their art, I urge you to check this out! I was incredibly pleased to find that Maria Semple was a guest on one of these podcasts recently and I found her insight on writing to b useful. She emphasised writing how you talk and about finding your voice, about quietening the voice of self-sabotage (something I should pay attention to) and not writing from a place of revenge (definitely something I should pay attention to!)
I’m always on the lookout for new book to read and new authors to try so if you have any suggestions, leave me a comment.
As always, thank for reading.