Where’d You Go, Bernadette (2012), by Maria Semple

This book, published this month, obviously is not part of the Time 100 project. But if a visitor comes across this blog looking for stuff about that list, maybe they’ll read this and seek out Maria Semple’s new novel.

In lieu of cranking out several hundred ponderous words on why Maria Semple’s wonderful novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette is so good, why don’t I just offer up some blurbs Little, Brown can slap onto the paperback edition:

“I’d call Where’d You Go, Bernadette my big guilty pleasure of 2012, but the truth is I don’t feel the least bit guilty about the amount of pleasure I took reading it. Neither will you.”
–Michael P., National Book Award-aspiring author of many future Important Works

“Do you like reading? Do you like to smile? Being entertained? Then Maria Semple’s new novel is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. If you don’t, I think James Patterson has a book coming out soon. Just hang tight.”
–Michael P., author of Oh, You Poor Bastard: A Memoir

“Sometimes as a librarian you fall into a rut when you order books. The stories all seem the same, the whole industry is derivative, and you can’t order the edgy, slightly off-kilter stuff you really want to order because you only have enough money to cover the bestseller list. The boring, predictable, safe bestseller list. It leads to late-afternoon contemplation and existential soul-searching about what you got into this business for — “Did I really spend two years in graduate school so I could purchase the 16th iteration of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?”, etc. Then you come across an effervescent novel like Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which appears like a gorgeous summer day after a bleak winter, and it rejuvenates you, reminds you why your job can be so much fun. Because now you get to put this book in as many of your patrons’ hands as you can.”
–Michael P., public librarian and star of local public access television’s “Book Talk”

“Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a novel that could be broken down and critiqued like every other book that gets published, but why would you want to? I’m reminded of the old joke, ‘Why read literature when you can read something good?’ Ms. Semple has managed to write something that’s both. I’d just as soon leave it alone.”
–Michael P., stern book critic of the contemporary literary scene

“Part satire, part mystery, all charm, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an endlessly delightful mash-up that you can sneak into the hands of people who don’t think they like literary fiction.”
–Michael P., professional book recommender

“As you might expect from a woman who wrote for the cult classic Arrested Development, Maria Semple knows how to use rapid-fire humor to uncover emotional truths: beneath all the zaniness and absurdity of the Bluth family was a big beating heart. And so it is with Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Come for the madcap premise and light-as-a-feather prose, stay for Bernadette Fox and her brilliant, beautiful daughter Bee, a complicated love story that will linger long after you’ve finished.”
–Michael P., not really the heartless asshole he comes off as

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