At first, i wasn't so sure that I would be able to finish Marie Semple's novel, Where'd You Go, Bernadette. The style of storytelling, through letters/emails/short chapters, was a bit confusing. I felt like the narration was inconsistent.
It turns out that the narration was told through the eyes of Bernadette's teenage daughter as she is trying to piece together the mystery of the disappearance of her mother occurring just days prior to a planned family vacation to the arctic.
I think what bothered me in the beginning, was although it was supposed to be told through Bee's (the daughters) eyes, Bee seemed to have access to an awful lot of information that she could not possibly know, like emails between the dean at her school and other parents. It seemed implausible. It was eventually explained, but I am not sure that I buy into the explanation.
However, within the first fifty pages of the book, I forgave it's short comings. because it was such a fun read. Semple has created vibrate characters and has given them sharp, witty dialogue. She places them in hilarious scenarios and gives them clear motives. The book has so much that is overwhelmingly entertaining, that I can overlook the bits that don't seem to gel.
At the heart of the story is the mystery of Bernadette. It's not really so much about her disappearance, but that Bernadette as a person is a mystery. Semple does a great job at dropping little hints about Bernadette all the way through her novel and when I finally had a clear picture of the character it made the whole story come full circle. I love the pacing and the reveal.
Semple does a great job at making the places in the story, such as Seattle, their own characters. Seattle, Bee's private prep school and the family home are all as colorful and important as the people in the novel. Places are very specific and important to the core of this story. It's not a story that could happen just anywhere and I love how it's rooted.
Although heartwarming and dealing with some very serious issues, Semple's story is ultimately highly entertaining. It's wickedly funny and I laughed out loud many times.