Book Discussion: Where’d You Go Bernadette

Welcome to the Book Club discussion for Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple. Below is a list of discussion questions to get the conversation started. We are excited to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Feel free to answer all the questions, or pick and choose a few questions to discuss!

  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette is told from the point of view of a daughter trying to find her missing mother. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from Bee’s perspective?
  • What are your thoughts on Bernadette’s character? Has she become unhinged or has she always been a little crazy? What, if anything, do you think sent her over the edge? Have you ever had a moment in your own life that utterly changed you, or made you call into question your own sanity?
  • The book has a very playful structure. Do you think it works? Why do you think the author chose it rather than a more straightforward, traditional structure?
  • What do you think of Bernadette and Elgie’s marriage? Is it dysfunctional?  Is there real love there?
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette is, at its core, a story about a woman who disappears, both literally and figuratively. Were you able to relate to the book? How and why? Do you feel Bernadette’s disappearance was unique, or do all women, in a sense, disappear into motherhood and marriage?

Questions from litlovers.

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April Book Reveal: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence–creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

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