Where'd you go, Bernadette

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Where'd You Go, Bernadette
336 pages; Little, Brown and Company
You don't have to know Seattle to get Maria Semple's broadly satirical novel, Where'd You Go, Bernadette. The title character, a middle-aged Los Angeles transplant, lives in the Emerald City with her 15-year-old daughter, Bee, and her husband, Elgin, a big-deal executive at (where else?) Microsoft. Once a brilliant young architect, Bernadette now pours her energy into ranting about the flaws of her adopted city: slow drivers, ugly hair, too many Canadians. Eventually, Bernadette goes missing and her family uses e-mails and other documents to try to find her. Underlying the nontraditional narrative are insights into the cost of thwarted creativity and the power of mother-daughter bonds, although a reader may be having too much fun to notice.
— Karen Holt