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Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel by Maria…
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Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Maria Semple

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4,5233761,524 (3.93)401
Member:suzabelle
Title:Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel
Authors:Maria Semple
Info:Back Bay Books (2013), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Work details

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (2012)

  1. 20
    Microserfs by Douglas Coupland (cransell)
    cransell: Two fictional looks at working at Microsoft.
  2. 20
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Though Sweetness is more of a traditional mystery, it shares with Where'd You Go, Bernadette an endearing, precocious, and entertaining young narrator who pieces together clues from the adult world to solve a mystery. Character interactions are delightfully, humorously depicted.… (more)
  3. 31
    Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (LBV123)
    LBV123: Rifka Brunt's novel similarly traces a complicated family history and the story of a complicated mother with artistic tendencies, and features an interesting and complicated teenaged narrator. While not as openly chasing the laughs as Semple's novel, Tell the Wolves is nonetheless humorous in its depiction of family politics--and deeply touching as it deals with both love and loss.… (more)
  4. 10
    This Book Will Save Your Life by A. M. Homes (lizchris)
    lizchris: About the madness of west coast America
  5. 10
    Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin (kathleen.morrow)
    kathleen.morrow: Similar sharp, witty style of writing
  6. 00
    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (Alliebadger)
    Alliebadger: Each of these are smart, fast reads that make you read between the lines to find the humor. Great books!
  7. 00
    Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant (JenMDB)
  8. 00
    Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (lycomayflower)
  9. 11
    The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson (cransell)
    cransell: Both quirky, humorous reads.
  10. 00
    Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell (kiwiflowa)
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» See also 401 mentions

English (372)  Danish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (375)
Showing 1-5 of 372 (next | show all)
Just about everyone I talk to about books these days, I urge them to pick up this little gem. What an exciting book! Anything in the epistolary style already has my attention and Miss Semple completely rocked it. Bernadette, herself, is a study in the peculiar and when put through the lens of her incredibly sharp and savvy daughter, Bee; the story is one you must follow to the end even though you have a job, kids, and probably dishes to do. The book is delightfully comedic, poking fun at our overly "culturally sensitive" society and the circles we parents tend to run around our children trying to do the right thing. Although many of the jokes are rooted in Seattle culture, I feel like they extended well towards hipster-dom and are accessible to all of us.
The story follows Bee's trail as she devotes herself to finding her missing mother all while painting a portrait of Bernadette's hilarious eccentricities inviting the reader to fall madly in love with this bat-shit crazy lady with little regard for social mores. This book has great timing and fits will with our nation's sense of immediacy.
( )
  ambersnowpants | Aug 23, 2018 |
One of my favorite books read in the past year. Funny, insightful, mysterious and deals with what it means to be a creative person. ( )
  allriledup | Aug 11, 2018 |
This is a nice story about the relation between a teenager and her mother that is a woman that has to learn to find herself and the place that she has in the world. Is a fast read that is made in a epistolary way that allow us to discover that there is way more behind each of the characters that are in the book and how each of them need to learn to find their own place in the world and assume that their "perfect world" is not as perfect as it seems. ( )
  CaroPi | Aug 9, 2018 |
I Laughed, it was a great satire and so easy to read...in about 2 sittings ( )
  janettewilson | Jul 31, 2018 |
I assumed this would be a chick--lit, funny tale. It's not. It's actually sad with amusing moments. I did enjoy the unique way the story was presented, through emails, journal entries, etc. I felt like the ending , fro Bee's perspective got rather long and boring. Visiting Antarctica sounds like a wonderful adventure! ( )
  melanieklo | Jul 25, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 372 (next | show all)
The book stumbles a bit in the middle as it transitions from a scathing anti-Seattle manifesto into a family drama with comic undertones. But once the gears have finished their grinding and the shuddering subsides, Semple eases into her strongest work yet, allowing her characters to change in a way that suits the story, and not just shooting for an easy punch line or a sharply worded barb. In the end, with its big heart set on acceptance, Bernadette feels something like coming home.
added by Nickelini | editthe Stranger, Paul Constant (Aug 12, 2012)
 
The tightly constructed “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” is written in many formats — e-mails, letters, F.B.I. documents, correspondence with a psychiatrist and even an emergency-room bill for a run-in between Bernadette and Audrey. Yet these pieces are strung together so wittily that Ms. Semple’s storytelling is always front and center, in sharp focus. You could stop and pay attention to how apt each new format is, how rarely she repeats herself and how imaginatively she unveils every bit of information. But you would have to stop laughing first.
added by ozzer | editNY Times, Janet Maslin (Aug 6, 2012)
 
Semple is a TV comedy writer, and the pleasures of Where'd You Go, Bernadette are the pleasures of the best American TV: plot, wit and heart. (There are places where Semple really wants to be writing dialogue, and stretches the epistolary conceit of the novel to suit.) It's rather refreshing to find a female misunderstood genius at the heart of a book, and a mother-daughter relationship characterised by unadulterated mutual affection. If Bernadette is a monster of ego, Semple suggests, so are most people, when they're being honest. In her spiky but essentially feelgood universe, failure and self-exposure open up a rich seam of comedy, but shame can always be vanquished by love
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maria Sempleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Broeder, LindaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chichereau, CarineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Vicq, Fearn CutlerDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayes, KeithCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leiva Morales, ÁngelesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilhoite, KathleenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Xie, JingwenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For Poppy Meyer
First words
Monday, November 15: Galer Street School is a place where compassion, academics, and global connectitude join together to create civic-minded citizens of a sustainable and diverse planet.
The first annoying thing is when I ask Dad what he thinks happened to Mom, he always says, "What's most important is for you to understand it's not your fault."
Quotations
“Shh! She said. The waiter. He's about to take their order. She leaned back and to her left, closer,closer,closer,her body like a giraffe's neck, until her chair shot out from under her and she landed on the floor. The whole restaurant turned to look. I jumped up to help. She stood up, righted the chair, and started in again. Did you see the tattoo one of them has on the inside of his arm? It looked like a roll of tape.

I took a gulp of margarita and settled into my fallback option, which was to wait her out.

Know what one of the guys at the drive-through Starbucks has on his forearm? Bernadette said. A paper clip! It used to be so daring to get a tattoo. And now people are tattooing office supplies on their bodies. You know what I say? Of course this was rhetorical. I say, dare not to get a tattoo. She turned around again, and gasped. Oh My God. It's not just any roll of tape. It's literally Scotch tape, with the green-and-black plaid. This is too hilarious. If you're going to tattoo tape on your arm, at least make it a generic old-fashioned tape dispenser! What do you think happened? Did the Staples catalogue get delivered to the tattoo parlor that day?” 
― Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Our house is old. All day and night it cracks and groans, like it's trying to get comfortable but can't
Chihulys are the pigeons of Seattle. They're everywhere, and even if they don't get in your way, you can't help but build up a kind of antipathy toward them.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
When Bee aces her report card she claims her reward, which is a trip to Antarctica, but her mother, Bernadette, disappears due to her intensifying allergy to Seattle and people in general, which has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands and Bee uses emails, invoices, school memos, private correspondence, and other evidence to try and understand why her mother has left.
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When her notorious, hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled, and agoraphobic mother goes missing, teenage Bee begins a trip that takes her to the ends of the Earth to find her. Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she is a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she is a disgrace; to design mavens, she is a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle, and people in general, has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the Earth is problematic. To find her mother, Bee compiles e-mail messages, official documents, secret correspondence, creating a touching novel about a family coming to terms with who they are, and the power of a daughter's love for her imperfect mother.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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