Have you ever heard of a blackberry abatement specialist? I hadn’t either until I read this quirky, downright hilarious book claiming to be one of the best books you’ll read in recent years. If you grew up in a small town like me, you’ll relate completely to these community-driven parents and teachers of Galer Street Middle School. Over-involvement in committees and clubs galore is just what Bernadette Fox sees as a complete waste of time.

whered you go bernadette

Bernadette and her husband Elgin have recently moved to Seattle for his job at Microsoft. Their 15-year-old daughter, Bee, a student at Galer Street, and their dog, Ice Cream, complete the family set dubbed “The Beatles” by Bernadette and Bee. The novel is told from Bee’s perspective, largely comprised of letters, emails and memos spanning the course of just a few months. As Bernadette’s mysterious past unfolds, you’ll begin to understand her agoraphobia and utter social anxiety, which was sparked by a disaster in her glory days as an architect. When Bernadette disappears, Bee goes into a tailspin, blaming her father for attempting to ship her mother off to Madrona Hill, a rehab center.

It all began when Bee got straight A’s at school (or should I say straight S’s, as Galer uses their own grading scale) and her dream vacation to Antarctica was approved by her parents. Her mother, whose fear of people has driven her to use a virtual assistant in India to do her most basic errands, sees this trip as extremely problematic.

When her mother disappears, Bee uses personal documents to lead her down the trail to find Bernadette. This is a laugh-out-loud yet touching tale about an eccentric intellect and a mother-daughter relationship gone haywire.

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