I loved the first half of this book, but the second half was a huge disappointment, succumbing to the notion that readers need a fairy tale happy ending. The truth? Sometimes moms leave, and sometimes they stay but never, ever recover. That would be Bernadette. If she were to have lost herself to that clinical a degree, she wouldn't be retuning to rosy life so soon after. I am disappointed that Maria Semple fell into clichés by the book's end. Bernadette was much too complex for simple resolutions. The character herself wouldn't have wanted the ending drawn so simply, either!
My guess: Semple was pushed by her agent or editor to make it rosier, and that forced the book in an inauthentic direction. It is frustrating and confusing to spend many hours with a book you love, only to reach the last third and feel like another author wrote the ending. Maybe Semple's next book won't have such hasty resolution. Here's to hoping.