Study Guide

Where'd You Go, Bernadette What's Up With the Ending?

By Maria Semple

What's Up With the Ending?

Like a young Sherlock Holmes, Bee has solved the mystery of the disappearing mom. After she and Elgin realize that Bernadette slipped off the cruise ship in the middle of the night and made her way to Palmer Station, Bee retraces her mother's footsteps and finds her in five minutes flat. Who knew it was so easy to find someone at the South Pole?

Finally, the family is reunited. Sure, there's the whole "Elgin's having a baby with his mistress" deal, but given everything that's happened, a little soap opera drama sounds like a walk in the park. Elgin even gives Bernadette another icon of Saint Bernadette, which you can read about in the symbols section, a sign that this once-distant couple is getting closer again.

Though this ends the novel's narrative, the book closes with the letter Bernadette wrote to Bee that never got delivered. The letter explains the whole story of her disappearance, her new job redesigning Palmer Station, and even the truth about her past as an architect.

It's a welcome sign that Bernadette is overcoming the issues that have held her back over the years, not only becoming more content with life, but also renewing her creative passions.

Do we smell another MacArthur Genius Grant? Oh, never mind...false alarm. It's just penguin poop. We always make that mistake.

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