Where'd You Go, Bernadette: September 2013 book of the month
Our September Book of the Month is wonderfully eccentric, both for the way it is written (a jigsaw of emails, letters, official documents, police reports, and many other sources) and for its heroine, whose take on the world is highly unusual.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette is really a suspense story, as clever teenager Bee tries to track down her missing mother, the notorious Bernadette.
But although the style and plot keep you reading at a cracking pace, it is the caustic satire on modern life, parenting, social interaction and the American Dream that is firmly at the novel's heart. Bernadette's dry humour and unorthodox methods create drama wherever she goes, as does her unconcern about being disliked.
Whether outsourcing her life to an Indian concierge service, infuriating the other private school mothers, baffling her Microsoft-genius husband or attempting to organise a family holiday to Antarctica, she leaves a trail of disasters that eventually lead to the novel's climax.
The novel's wit and refreshing comedy make it a perfect piece of intelligent escapism. As Jonathan Franzen put it: "I tore through this book with heedless pleasure."
About Maria Semple
Maria Semple worked as a TV writer in Los Angeles for 15 years, working on hit shows including Ellen, Saturday Night Live, Mad About You and Arrested Development.
Her first novel, This One is Mine, was described as 'shocking, memorable, scathing, funny, delightful, hilarious and exquisite'. She lives in Seattle.
Book club discussion: Tuesday 24 September
We are thrilled that Maria will be joining us and answering questions about Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, her writing career and her creative inspiration on Tuesday 24 September. So please feel free to post your thoughts about the novel throughout the month, pop up any advance questions and we will see you for Maria's live webchat on Tues 24 September, 9-10pm.