15 May 2013

Book Review: Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

After reading several "dark" and serious books for book club over the past few months, we decided to go with something lighter. The subject matter in Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is certainly not light, but Semple has an uncanny way to write about it in a lighthearted way.

The book was really easy to read because it was organized in a novel way - through letters, emails, faxes (yes, faxes) and some narration. As the title indicates, Bernadette has gone missing. As we learn, it's for a variety of reasons.

Thinking about many of the books I've read over this year, I'm surprised about a common theme: So many of them address mental health in some way. In the Girl on Fire, a mother deals with paralyzing depression. In The Round House, a family deals with depression after a horrific event. In Where'd You Go, Bernadette, a family deals with a mother's social anxiety. It's also interesting that all of the books about women (and specifically mothers) whose mental health is impacted by serious and tragic events in their lives.

As someone who has dealt with a mental health issue, it's an interesting component of our culture that is rarely written about in a way that reduces stigma. I have more thoughts on the subject, but not nearly enough time to address them.

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