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Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go, Bernadette (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Maria Semple

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3,6993261,418 (3.95)362
Title:Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Authors:Maria Semple
Info:Thorndike Press (2012), Edition: Lrg, Hardcover, 487 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Antarctica, Seattle, microsoft, annoying parents, disappearance, architecture, outsourcing, India

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 362 mentions

English (322)  Danish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All (325)
Showing 1-5 of 322 (next | show all)
Where'd you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple An interesting satire with a lot of funny moments, a few laughed-out-loud ones, and also some heartwarming situations. Since I had the privilege of visiting Seattle last year, it was great for me to be reminded of its characteristics, its weather and its lovely people. Even the ones this book makes fun of :) The part about the chilean airport was not accurate at all, but it was good for the sake of comedy. 
I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up being a movie and I'd love to watch it! Three stars. ( )
  Danyspike | Jan 14, 2017 |
Great Book! Enjoyed reading it although at first the format seemed awkward. I quickly got past this and enjoyed the book. At times I felt sadness in the characters however I did end up enjoying the book and highly recommend it. ( )
  kitten-a-gogo | Jan 9, 2017 |
Over the years I have not read as much books as before. I am falling way behind. When it comes to finding a book to read, I never find one that I would enjoy. Most of the time I would ask the librarian or an adult to help me find a book to read or suggest a book. I get the question of what I am into or what genre, but really any book is alright because I will to try and read it. This book was chosen by a librarian when I asked her for some help, and when she told me that this book conversations using emails and etc. I thought it would be interesting to try reading it. As I started reading and got a bit further into the story I found a sense of wanting to give up and not read it. It's because I feel that I was reading lot's of emails. I am not saying this book is bad or anything, and that the book had some interesting parts/funny parts. It is just that I don't feel that I was much into the book and couldn't really focus anymore. I ended up stopping and not continue with the book. Hopefully one day I will be able to come back to this book and finish it. ( )
  annat100 | Jan 3, 2017 |
One of those books I put off reading because it was too popular, but now I think it deserves the good reputation. The story of Bernadette Fox, a free spirit stifled by life in suburban Seattle. The only things that keep her semi sane are her 15 year old daughter Bee and her husband, Elgie, a Microsoft designer. When Bernadette's non-conformity goes a bit too far and her husband attempts a psychological "intervention," Bernadette pulls a fast one and vanishes. Some people believe that Bernadette has killed herself, but Bee doesn't believe her mother would abandon her. Bee must use her mother's emails and other correspondence to piece together the full story and try to find Bernadette. Not a deep book, but engaging. Raises the question of the line between non-conformity and mental illness although ultimately explaining away the difficult issues raised. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
3.5 stars
Looking for a light and funny read? This book will fill that need, and it’s a pretty quick read as well. It is oddly written in that the majority of it is emails, faxes (really?), and letters with the remainder being narrated by Bernadette’s teenage daughter, Bee, filling in the gaps with her own memories. Bernadette is quite quirky and entertaining (unintentionally) but my favorite parts were the storylines that included the moms from Bee’s private school (referred to as annoying gnats). Those parts were hysterical to me. Granted, if you are one of those moms you might not find it so funny :) I won’t give away the ending but will say, I’m not sure whether or not I liked it. There were parts of the ending I enjoyed, but not sure how I feel about how it all turned out. All my questions were answered, just not necessarily how I wanted them to be I guess. ( )
  lynnski723 | Dec 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 322 (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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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."
“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
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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.

(summary from another edition)

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