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

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

by Maria Semple

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3,6503211,447 (3.95)355
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:read 2012

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
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  7. 00
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  8. 00
    Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (lycomayflower)

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» See also 355 mentions

English (317)  Danish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All (320)
Showing 1-5 of 317 (next | show all)
I couldn't put this book down. I read the entire thing today in one extended session. The unique format makes the book a bit difficult to follow initially, but overall it adds a great deal to the novel. It helps in creating sympathy for almost every character you encounter, while providing enough distance to keep things from seeming too sentimental or soap opera-esque.

Feel the need to write about the ending now, I'll do my best to keep it vague, but I suggest not reading further if you want to be truly unspoiled.

I didn't love the ending; it felt like a cop-out and wrapped things up a bit too neatly for my tastes. I was rooting for Bee, but the ending ended up a little too pat and happy for me. Additionally, it was incredibly predictable and I found myself getting pretty close to the truth when I was still 50 or so pages away. ( )
  mel.davidoff | Dec 1, 2016 |
I would make this 2.5 stars if I could. It's funny but can't decide how dark it wants to be and the warm and fuzzy ending really bothered me. I say, if you want to go on a tear, then be true to it and don't resolve eveything with a big hug. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
I loved this for its madcap funniness (I laughed out loud, which I seldom do) and then got drawn into the plot. Then, in the last quarter or so, got bogged down in the odd ending. However. The more I think about it, the more I'm impressed with this little piece of fluff. The structure, and things she says about art, architecture, about the suppressing of one's need to create-- pretty genius. And I did love Bee. ( )
  jjaylynny | Nov 12, 2016 |
This book had me chuckling at the ridiculousness of the characters or ready to throw my ipod across the room in anger/sadness. It was such a roller-coaster, I wasn't sure how to feel when it ended. It felt unfinished the ending, i needed more wrap up, but I don't know if I could have taken it. I was done with them, but ARGUH it was unfinished ! I liked it and I hated it, but I could not stop till I found out what happened. I'm glad I was pushed to read it, but I'd never read it again.
So I'm not going to tell you about the story I'll tell you about my points of interest. Let's go to the good fun things first. Bernadette had some great lines, some fabulous ways of looking at situations and genius in her career. She was an open parent, discussing issues with her daughter like she was a person on her way to adulthood. I loved the mother daughter relationship. Audrey, the beast who turned into an angel was a wonderful character. She was a nasty, lying, nit picking gnat with a warm heart. She stole the the pages right out from under the main characters for me, they could have disappeared into the blackberry bushes and I would have stuck with her.
The ugly bits that chapped my sensitive skin overrode the good bits. I am so sick of the married man cheating on his wife with the secretary/PA story. The back stabbing husband stealing bimbette, and the I drank too much worm of a man tangling the sheets. Sigh, yes I know it's just a story, doesn't change my feelings. Her husband was a jerk, his absence from daily functions, the way he attacked her and tried to get her committed, sending the daughter away. I really couldn't stand him. B, she was weird, her drive to go to Antartica was weird, the trip when they went was weird.

Funniest scene-One of the characters was trying to type an email on a broken computer in a foreign country that had me laughing so hard my side hurt. ( )
  TheYodamom | Nov 5, 2016 |
I should be rating this one higher than I am; at least 4.5 stars. I picked it up with the intention of just reading a page or two and suddenly two hours passed. I couldn't stop reading it.

But when I finished I just didn't feel that 4.5 star feeling. We can blame it on a woeful job on the part of the copy editor (lots of missing words), for lack of anything else. Because I really enjoyed the epistolary style, and I enjoyed the characters (except Soo-Lin; her, I wanted to smack and not for the obvious reasons). The writing was excellent even without the full compliment of articles and conjunctions and a lot of it was funny.

My only niggle was the ending felt abrupt; I'd have like a bit more information about what Bernadette and Elgin were going to do about those 'complications' at the end. ( )
  murderbydeath | Oct 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 317 (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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