For some reason, this book languished in my “to read” pile for quite some time. I can’t quite explain it, but I found something about the cover to be off-putting, and didn’t think I was going to like it. As the old adage goes though, judging by a cover is problematic, and I found this book to be utterly engrossing and delightful. Once I finally picked it up, I was hooked. A really unique story, told creatively, with rich and vibrant characters. And so so funny.
The titular Bernadette is a mother, but doesn’t fit into the neat box of motherhood as prescribed by society. She refers to the other mothers at her daughters school, the ones that fit in, and volunteer, and seem to know their place in the world as “the gnats,” insignificant little bugs, buzzing around her universe. She is loving and doting on her daughter, more of a friend than a mother, and maybe a little mad. This story examines the tightrope Bernadette walks as she navigates different the roles of her life (creative, mother, wife) and what happens when the tension has become too great. Insanely relatable, heartwarming, and heartbreaking I cannot have enjoyed this book more. This is fun both in content and format, as this book pulls from different letters/observations/emails from characters, which is eventually part of the narrative as well.
This is Semple’s second book, and she has a third as well, and I’m delighted to read them both. A quick internet search yielded the tidbit that she used to live in Los Angeles where she was a write for Arrested Development, Mad About You, and Ellen, and that makes sooooo much sense, having read this book. If those three shows made you smile, then grab this at the next opportunity you have, and you won’t be sorry. Plus, it’s been adapted into a movie which will be coming out in August and the trailer looks pitch perfect with a great cast: Cate Blanchett as Bernadette is perfection.