I picked up Maria Semple's second book base on the cover alone. It ended up being my favorite book of 2014. It follows the quirky life of Bernadette Fox, once architectural genius, now agoraphobic stay-at-home mom. When her gifted daughter, Bee brings home a perfect report card and is granted her one wish of a trip to Antarctica, it pushes Bernadette over the edge and she disappears. What follows is Bee's attempts at locating her missing mother while discovering who her mother is. Written through emails, letters, FBI documents as well narrative, this book is at times heartwarming, laugh-out-loud funny, and thoroughly absurd.
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a friend and mom. Then Bernadette disappears. Bee compiles e-mail messages, official documents, and secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel.