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Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel by Maria…

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

by Maria Semple

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2,052None3,230 (4.03)242
Title:Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel
Authors:Maria Semple
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:humor, letters, architects, families

Work details

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

2012 (25) 2013 (78) Antarctica (125) architect (25) Architects (42) architecture (21) audio (13) audiobook (17) book club (15) contemporary fiction (14) ebook (25) epistolary (38) family (73) fiction (261) humor (106) Kindle (23) library (13) Microsoft (69) missing persons (44) mothers (21) mothers and daughters (37) mystery (18) novel (28) read (25) read in 2013 (51) satire (18) Seattle (152) to-read (102) USA (13) Washington (14)
  1. 20
    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)
  2. 20
    Microserfs by Douglas Coupland (cransell)
    cransell: Two fictional looks at working at Microsoft.
  3. 10
    The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson (cransell)
    cransell: Both quirky, humorous reads.
  4. 00
    This Book Will Save Your Life by A. M. Homes (lizchris)
    lizchris: About the madness of west coast America

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» See also 242 mentions

English (175)  Danish (1)  French (1)  All languages (177)
Showing 1-5 of 175 (next | show all)
As a reward for a lifetime of perfect grades, eighth-grader Bee decides that her family is going to take a trip to Antarctica--something that her agoraphobic, misanthropic mother can't handle. Circumstances build until her mother Bernadette finally decides that she can't take it anymore--and she disappears.

Told through a series of documents, with Bee's notes and experiences included, the novel explores the breakdown of a famous architect turned unwilling suburban mom. The ending is satisfying but not as simple as it seems. An adult novel recommended for older teens. ( )
  RussianLoveMachine | Apr 7, 2014 |
Bernadette Fox, the namesake of this book marches to the beat of her own drum and she doesn't apologize for it. She is an award-winning architect and moves with her Microsoft genius of a husband Elgin to Seattle to raise a family. After years of trying, finally their daughter Bee is born and she is Bernadette's whole world. No longer working she proves to be the most eccentric stay-at-home mom ever. They live in a house that was previously a home for wayward girls and it is falling into serious disrepair. Diplomacy is not a quality that Bernadette possesses and dealing with the seemingly mundane parents of Bee's school always seems to land her in trouble. Once Elgin has had enough of Bernadette's escapades he decides to take matters into his own hands but not before she gets wind of it and disappears first.

This book is laugh-out-loud funny and you will at moments find yourself wishing you could be as bold as Bernadette in how she handles life. Formatted in the way of letters and emails made this book a breeze to read. I was especially pleased to find references to both my favorite saint, Bernadette of Lourdes and Children's book, Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown mentioned in this book.

I think anyone would find this book highly enjoyable. ( )
  missjomarch | Mar 31, 2014 |
I listened to this book rather than reading it and that was a great move. The narrator is fabulous, brings the characters to life, especially Bea. Loved her. I enjoyed the story but was a bit disappointed with the ending. Did not like the way it was wrapped up. The story itself is full of great characters, interesting, quirky and often times quite funny. We read this book for our book club which meets next week and I am most curious to find out what the other readers thought. If you enjoy listening to audio books, this is really a treat. ( )
  bnbookgirl | Mar 30, 2014 |
A cool, quirky book with endearing characters. Loved it! ( )
  RGirl | Mar 29, 2014 |
I made it to 50% until I abandoned. If by then it hasn't grabbed my attention, I don't think it's going to. The characters are infuriatingly annoying, every single one of them, and within the first half of the book, there is no plot. I found it quirky and fun at the beginning, but my patience just sort of wore thin and I lost interest. Too bad, I wanted to like this one. Maybe I'm just being too picky lately.

Sorry, I've got too many books that I'd like to read to spend time trying to force myself through books that just aren't very interesting to me. ( )
  ashleeeyyy88 | Mar 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 175 (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
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's 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 email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.
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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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