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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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3,3753041,610 (3.95)337
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)

Recently added byjenncohn82, tamila.eberle01, SvLM, private library, mdthroop, mandyralston, srw, thoughtbox, jeanie0510
  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.
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» See also 337 mentions

English (299)  Danish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (302)
Showing 1-5 of 299 (next | show all)
Cell phones are the bane of modern filmmaking. It seems like at least half (if not more) of all major conflicts from classic movies could be solved with a simple phone call (or text message) between two people who have the ability to communicate almost literally wherever they are. Modern writers have taken to have the first character be tragically misunderstood, but get so frustrated they decide not to clarify things because they're SO ANGRY or the second character is SO HURT ... only for it finally be resolved a few months/weeks/one crisis later.

Or you could have the character go to Antarctica. I'm just saying, it's an option. Apparently.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette is one young teenager's attempt to piece together where her missing mother might be. For out-and-out Seattleites (complete with a Microsoft Dad), they certainly have more adventures than you might expect.

The plot mostly moves forward through a series of miscues and miscommunications - some accidental, some not. I'm loathe to give away any of the plot points, really, because trying to muddle through what the hell happened is well more than half the fun.

I really liked the book, but I have the literary equivalent of part of a popcorn kernel stuck in my teeth that, no matter how hard I run my tongue against it, I can't quite seem to get loose.

As mentioned, the novel propels itself along with tufts and strings that hint at what happened, but only become fully fleshed out the farther you get into it: A murder mystery without a murderer. But if your whole book rests on the plot, all the dominoes you set up in the front half have to pay off with a satisfying topple in the end. In this case we get not a bang, but yet more misdirection and a plot hole between the dominoes you could fly a 747 or navigate an Antarctic research vessel through.

That's what knocked me down to a mild "you should probably read" versus a must-recommend. Regardless, though, definitely one to keep in mind. ( )
  thoughtbox | May 27, 2016 |
Bernadette, a famous architect, moved to Seattle with her husband and daughter. A loving wife and mother, she detests Seattle and its inhabitants and hires a virtual assistant in India to deal with them. She is happiest in her own world and interests, not interacting with others. Then her daughter insists on a family trip to Antarctica. When Bernadette's structured existence collapses just prior to the trip, she disappears. Her daughter is determined to find her. ( )
  lilibrarian | May 23, 2016 |
A strangely written novel told from the perspective of a school girl named Bee. I found the format this book was written in to be harder to connect with the characters and therefore less enjoyable than I expected. ( )
  niquetteb | May 17, 2016 |
It was a fun read, different from a lot of the books out there. Would read more by this author. ( )
  meowism | May 17, 2016 |
Its a very simple book, an easy read.

Bernadette is mother, wife and a social animal. Her husband is a Microsoft-guru!! glued to work. Her daughter actually behaves in a very mature way throughout the book and is the main person who takes the story forward.

Bernadette finds her life difficult when the neighbor's and other parents from her daughters school try to avoid/ out-circle her from the society when she doesn't oblige to their rules (which were like joining the parents club, parties etc...etc). She takes up blame for everything and everyone, where as her family doesn't have a clue about what is happening to her.

Her husband thinks she needs psychiatrist's help. But Bernadette disappears. And Bee determined to find where her mother disappeared, takes the task of checking e-mails, deciphering letters. So she and her father sets out on an adventure to find Bernadette. ( )
  PallaviSharma | May 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 299 (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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