First…the book. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple is a fantastic and fun read. I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s an epistolary novel written from the perspective of Bernadette’s daughter, Bee. We see Bernadette through Bee’s eyes, and she is a wonderfully brilliant and eccentric woman who owns up to her short comings and stands up to the antagonists with grace and cleverness. Quite honestly Semple had me at the first page:
Mom Versus the Gnats
I was hooked and thrilled that it had the makings for a good, lighthearted read, and it did not disappoint! Semple wove a tale of highs and lows, struggles and triumphs indicative of the idle middle class. I could see something like this happening in Anywhere, USA. If you’re looking for a good read with great humor and a lighthearted air–then this is a great book to dive into. I highly recommend it.
Fast-forward six years later and our charming Bernadette hit the silver screen. It was definitely much anticipated by me. So much so, the book became the first movie adaptation read for a book club I run. The movie adaptation of Semple’s novel debuted in August 2019. The casting line up was terrific. Kate Blanchett as Bernadette, Billy Crudup as Bernadette’s husband Elgie, Emma Nelson as Bee, and a supporting cast with big names like Laurence Fishburne, Judy Greer, Megan Mullally, and Kristen Wiig.
The results are in and the movie didn’t fair so well with box office critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 46% on the tomatometer, and the audience score was 74% and Roger Ebert gave it 1.5 out of 4. However, 79% of Google users liked the movie and I have to agree with the Google users. It was fun, the cast played their roles exceptionally well, and while there were noticeable differences between the book and the movie, they were able to keep with the spirit of the novel. I will most likely watch the movie again when it becomes available.