Bernadette has slowly become shut off from society while living with her husband, Elgie, who works for Microsoft, and teenage daughter, Bee, in Seattle. Rarely wanting leave her home or talk to anyone, she has hired a virtual assistant, Manjula, who's in India. While she's a good mother to Bee, Bernadette's relationship with Elgie and the unkeep of their home (a former residence for wayward girls) have suffered. Bernadette has also separated herself from the other mothers at Bee's school, whom she has nicknamed the Gnats. When Bee decides that she wants the family to go on a trip to Antarctica as a reward for getting straight A's in school, it might be the event that causes their relationships to crumble. For all of its heavy themes, the book never loses its lightheartedness and is consistently offbeat. It was an enjoyable read.