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

by Maria Semple

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,7803311,378 (3.95)373
Member:Hans_Verstraelen
Title:Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel
Authors:Maria Semple
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2012), Editie: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pagina's
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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
    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (Alliebadger)
    Alliebadger: Each of these are smart, fast reads that make you read between the lines to find the humor. Great books!
  7. 00
    Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant (JenMDB)
  8. 00
    Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (lycomayflower)
  9. 00
    Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell (kiwiflowa)
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» See also 373 mentions

English (327)  Danish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All (330)
Showing 1-5 of 327 (next | show all)
Edit to add: I first read this in January of 2013 and re-read it (actually I listened to it) in April of 2014. Excellent narrator! It was just as enjoyable the second time around.
Here's an amusing Marie Semple pitching her book:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpbMMu9euA0


January, 2013: Maybe even a 4.5. Original, witty and clever with laugh out loud moments. One of the rare books I'd listen to again. ( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
Makes me wanna go hug my mom. ( )
  hay16mc | Feb 13, 2017 |
I needed a light, fun read, and that is what I got here. I also got a book that manages to be emotional while still being funny.

Semple tells the story of Bernadette and her family. Bernadette has a past she doesn't talk about, and a beautiful but falling-apart home she hides away in. But when Bernadette disappears, it is left to her daughter, Bee, to piece what happened together. Bee uses faxes, e-mails, websites, and articles, plus her own experiences, to tell her mother's story, and find her. ( )
  seasonsoflove | Feb 12, 2017 |
An enjoyable novel from Maria Semple.

Bernadette is a funny, tragic, admirable protagonist who has to search for herself after an event in her past leaves her psychologically vulnerable and depressed. Her character is joined by her husband and daughter who suffer through Bernadette's depression and help round out the plot.

The novel is written in different points of view by the protagonists giving the plot a different voice and breaking up what could be just another monotonous 1st person delivery.

A good read. ( )
  NancyNo5 | Feb 12, 2017 |
I picked this novel for our December read as something light, yet funny, but engaging. I am disappointed, though, for a number of reasons. I don't mind the epistolary framework, except when Semple deviates from it. The characters are all unlikable, some more so than others. Bernadette is snarky in her observations of other people, completely lacking in compassion for the homeless and those in less fortunate circumstances than herself. The mother-daughter relationship could have been developed into something interesting, but nothing came of it. The latter half of the novel kind of falls apart as far as structure and any semblance of character arc for the major characters. Our group discussion will be interesting. I may be of a minority viewpoint. ( )
  ucla70 | Jan 19, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 327 (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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Epigraph
Dedication
For Poppy Meyer
First words
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."
Quotations
“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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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