Having an English degree, it probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that one of my favourite gifts to receive is a good book. This Christmas, I hit the jackpot and got 5 fantastic books. I was familiar with all of the authors bar one: Maria Semple.
Though relatively new to novel writing, Semple’s portfolio is a rather impressive one – if you’re into television at least. Her on-screen repertoire includes Saturday Night Live, Mad About You and one of my personal favourite shows: Arreseted Development. So understandably, I was more than slightly excited to get stuck into her newest novel: Where’d You Go Bernadette? And I am happy to report that she did not let me down.
The novel follows the events leading up to and the aftermath of the disappearance of Bernadette Foxx: a mother, wife and one-time career woman, struggling to cope with life in a new city. Despite having a successful husband, an over-achieving daughter and a comfortable life, Bernadette seems incapable of dealing with everyday life in her adopted hometown and slowly begins to unravel.
Written as a collection of correspondence between Bernadette and other people in her life including her daughter and husband, Semple explores the themes of female satisfaction, social etiquette, family life and of course relationships. While these are quite heavy topics, Semple manages the perfect balance of humour, criticism and sincerity that allows the book to tackle such issues in an entertaining but insightful way.
Oh, and for the total nerds like me, there’s even a bonus interview at the end in which Semple explains her approach to writing and why she chose the topic in the first place. Anyway, enough’s enough. Just go read it so I have people to talk to about it!