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Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

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

by Maria Semple

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,1932831,745 (3.94)330
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
    Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell (kiwiflowa)
  7. 00
    Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (lycomayflower)

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» See also 330 mentions

English (279)  Danish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (282)
Showing 1-5 of 279 (next | show all)
Although this audio came to me highly recommended, I just couldn't get totally absorbed in the story. I'll blame it on just not being in the mood. I'm fascinated that so many other LibraryThing readers have read it so I'll be interested to read some of the reviews to see maybe what I was missing. ( )
  nyiper | Feb 4, 2016 |
There are some excellent characterisations in this novel set in Seattle. The main narrator of this novel is Bee, the teenage daughter of Bernadette and Elgie. She is a lively and bright teenager that it is difficult not to like. It is slowly revealed that Bernadette is a renowned architect who hasn't practised for some years and it becomes clear why. Elgie works for Microsoft as a software programmer and is highly thought of in the company and very high up. Other characters include what Bernadette calls the gnats, these are mothers of other children at Bee's school. Bernadette is reclusive and does not seem to like anything about Seattle, which won't win Marie Semple fans from that city. However, she is very caring for her daughter, which is confusing and makes it difficult to see her as someone who has mental ill health but certainly her thought processes are at times confusing and lead her to not take the best actions. The action centres around a planned family trip to Antarctica. In the first half of the novel Bernadette is planning this with the help of a virtual assistant called Manjula and there is plenty of scope for humour. Two of the gnats play a significant role and are also provide lots of entertainment. In the second part of the novel it does seem to lose its way a little but I wanted to know where it was going and stayed with it and generally enjoyed it as an entertaining read. ( )
  Tifi | Feb 4, 2016 |
I really liked the overall format and plot of this book, I thought that the characters were clever without being too one dimensional, and I enjoyed it for the most part. The ending was a little abrubt and unresolved for my taste. ( )
  lovelypenny | Feb 4, 2016 |
Narrated by Kathleen Wilhoite. Wilhoite's interpretation was laugh-out-loud hilarious. She nailed the snarky humor of this book, from Bernadette's quirkiness to Audrey and Soo-Lin's gossipy correspondence. Bee came off sounding 8 years old and I would always be surprised when her age (15) was mentioned. Aside from that discrepancy and a slow stretch in Anarctica, it's a fun listening experience overall. Take this on your next road trip or for the commute. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
This was passably entertaining and very easy to read, but the characters were pretty unlikable and the whole device structuring the narrative was pretty forced. ( )
  mjlivi | Feb 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 279 (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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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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