Books at the Box Office: Where’d You Go Bernadette

When I discovered this book was becoming a movie, I listened to the audiobook.It was strange, that’s sure, and I was really unsure of how it would transpose to film. The film definitely took a different approach to the story, but I think both of them were interesting enough and fit the themes trying to be covered by the story. They’re kind of different end of the poles of the story—get it? LOL.

Anyway, the book, which came out in 2012:

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect; and to 15-year-old Bee, she is her best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette vanishes. It all began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle — and people in general — has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, and secret correspondence — creating a compulsively readable and surprisingly touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

I really enjoyed the book! It’s epistolary (and email-alory) and that’s hard for some people, but I think it’s fascinating! It helps the characters come to life in unique ways, and I was compelled by the story, though I may have liked it more in physical form than audio. The narration was funny though!

Now, the 2019 movie:

Cate Blanchett plays the titular Bernadette, and she’s good, obviously, but her daughter, Emma Nelson, is the real breakout in this, in my opinion. Looking at Billy Crupp for an hour or so isn’t too bad though. The scenery of this film is a huge selling point–Antarctica!–and the house is so fascinating.

You can stream it on Hulu.

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