When Bee aces her report card she claims her reward, which is a trip to Antarctica, but her mother, Bernadette, disappears due to her intensifying allergy to Seattle and people in general, which has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands and Bee uses emails, invoices, school memos, private correspondence, and other evidence to try and understand why her mother has left.
The format is unique and captured my interest right away. It begins with Bee describing how she got her parents to agree to a family vacation in Antartica, then it jumps right into an email from Bernadette to her virtual assistant in India. Of course, you don't know this at first, so it's a bit curious. You think that maybe it's her actual secretary, in real life. Anyway, right away, you know this book was different because this is when you begin to glean the crazy-goodness that is Bernadette.
The book continues in emails and letters from various people to various other people like Bernadette's neighbor, a parent-teacher organization guru, police reports, hospital bills, etc. There is crazy-goodness from all directions! Really the only pretty normal characters are Bee and her father. But they are fabulous, rich characters too.
I will demonstrate some of the deliciousness in quotes.
Bernadette's joie de vivre:
My heart started racing, not the bad kind of heart racing, like, I’m going to die. But the good kind of heart racing, like, Hello, can I help you with something? If not, please step aside because I’m about to kick the shit out of life.Bernadette & husband Elgin's unique parenting skills:
Teachers encouraged us to get Bee tested. Really, though, Bernadette and I had no interest in the gifted-child industry. Perhaps because we both went to prep school and Ivy League universities ourselves, we did not fetishize them like other Seattle parents.Bernadette again with her "tell it like it is" attitude:
"That’s right,” she told the girls. “You’re bored. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it’s boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.And after all the funny, crazy, laugh out loud plot points along the way, the moments when it's completely moving catches you off guard. Here are two moments that spoke truth to me:
People like you must create. If you don’t create, Bernadette, you will become a menace to society.
Maybe that’s what religion is, hurling yourself off a cliff and trusting that something bigger will take care of you and carry you to the right place.Right? Total truth.
I adored this book because it is so uniquely funny and moving. There is so much more than I can describe here. If you like satire and wickedness sprinkled with a little unexpected warmth and truth, you'll love this!
In closing, the author's website is a sight to behold. For real. You must check it out for it's unique-ness. I promise, you've never seen anything else like it, ever. Go HERE.