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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 2012)

by Maria Semple

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,3372991,631 (3.95)336
Member:Nancy618
Title:Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel
Authors:Maria Semple
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:TIOLI - 2012
Rating:****
Tags:11/2012 - TIOLI (Nov #6)

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
    The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson (cransell)
    cransell: Both quirky, humorous reads.
  6. 00
    Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant (JenMDB)
  7. 00
    Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell (kiwiflowa)
  8. 00
    Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (lycomayflower)
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» See also 336 mentions

English (294)  Danish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (297)
Showing 1-5 of 294 (next | show all)
Funny wisecracking kind of book first half, then became too earnest and ran out of the rant. Liked the style of telling of the story via a collection of documents like emails, summons. letters, etc interspersed with a bit of narrative. ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
This is a novel about Brenadette, a loving mother, a reclusive member of the community, and a distant wife of a workaholic husband. Bernadette is a prime example of a person who establishes an identity for herself only to find it is damaged by the demands of wife, mother, and socialite. When Bernadette's husband, Elgin, threatens to have her committed to a psychiatic facility, she flees. Bee, Bernadette's daughter, is determined to find her. Even though Semple addresses mostly adult concerns, the humor and lighthearted language in the novel make it appropriate for teens. The character Bernadette can serve as an example of what can happen to overachievers as grown-ups or as an example of what can happen to a person when creativity is stifled and identity is lost.
  sgemmell | Apr 22, 2016 |
This book is a riot! I don’t remember any of the last 50 books I’ve read making me laugh so much, so often and keeping me so engaged that putting the book down just wasn’t an option.

Full review → Joie des Livres ( )
  joiedeslivres | Apr 12, 2016 |
This is a mommy come of age book if there ever was one. It will make you sick but curious, and sympathetic but exasperated all at the same time. It will just about embarrass you for all female American moms while it makes you love them and their young, too. But for the extremes, it might be a pretty fantastic fictional essay on the women of my generation, as we face the banality of life. We have many choices. We can be hormonally lunatic, desperately hiding, snarky and adulterous, a menace to society, or we can get on with our lives and purpose. We can get back to creativity. We can choose men who will not check out of our lives but who help us embrace them. Where Oh where is . . . ? May all the Bernadettes out there find themselves. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
The story behind this book: Andrew’s cousin Liz once recommended this to me while we were visiting her during spring break. We were so busy exploring Seattle, however, that I never got around reading to it. So, when our local book club had this listed as the book they were reading next, we both thought that it’d be a good way to: read the same book at the same time, finally read the book his cousin recommended so long ago, and meet new people in the process.

I had a hard time getting into this, but once it got going, I was fully immersed. I think that Semple does a really good job of finding the humor in intense situations and really plays that up in this book, which I found enjoyable.

The best moments for me were the crazy PTA parents and Bernadette’s ways of getting back at them. In a lot of ways, I identified with Bernadette, which is kind of scary, but I’m not going to think about that too much. :p Having visited Seattle, it was a huge bonus for me to sort of know the neighborhoods and stereotypes that are portrayed. It added some nuance and detail to the story that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

While I very much enjoyed the middle, I found the end to drop back down to how I felt in the beginning. There isn’t much of a satisfying resolution and everything feels ridiculous; unfortunately, Semple goes past humor and goes into drama for drama’s sake. Without getting into spoilers, there were a lot of actual problematic issues going on that were sort of glossed over and made to look like they were resolved. Regardless, I enjoyed this book overall (still rated it a 4!) and it was an entertaining, easy read for what it was. I think anyone looking for a bit of good fun will enjoy this — it’s very approachable and deals with situations that almost anyone can relate to. Great book club book, for the record.

Originally posted on Going on to the Next. ( )
  sedelia | Apr 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 294 (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 editionsconfirmed
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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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."
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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.

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