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Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria…

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

by Maria Semple

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2,2371972,870 (4.01)273
Title:Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Authors:Maria Semple
Info:Thorndike Press (2012), Edition: Lrg, Hardcover, 487 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

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

2012 (27) 2013 (80) 2014 (18) Antarctica (143) architect (28) Architects (47) architecture (23) audio (15) audiobook (18) book club (17) contemporary fiction (20) ebook (25) epistolary (48) family (79) fiction (291) humor (120) Kindle (27) library (13) Microsoft (76) missing persons (50) mothers (22) mothers and daughters (42) mystery (25) novel (30) read (28) read in 2013 (54) satire (23) Seattle (171) to-read (123) 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 273 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 193 (next | show all)
A humorous novel of an eccentric architect, her Microsoft employed husband and intelligent, miracle child, Bee who live in wonderful Seattle. The daughter decides that she wants to visit antarctica. Just before they are to leave, the mother goes missing, the marriage is a wreck and Bee is mad at her dad. Yes, much of this story is over the top but I liked the story of a family that nearly falls apart only to come back stronger and healthier and I learned some things about Antarctica. There is a part of this stour that seems to make fun of the perfect life. I expected that I would feel that this was a waste of time, money (kindle) and credit (audio) but it was all right. ( )
  Kristelh | Jul 3, 2014 |
From my blog

Where'd you go, Bernadette is the best laugh I have had by a book in years. I had to walk away at one stage because I was crying with laughter. I controlled myself came back and started up again, so funny. When I found out Maria Semple is a television writer for Ellen DeGeneres, it all made sense. I was so pleased I gave Maria a second chance. I tried to read This One is Mine and I abandoned it, this came across as a different writer to me, so well done to her for having talent to write so differently and please a wider range of readers.

Bernadette was a fun character, some will say crazy, I will say eccentric at the highest level. The summary states is best, she fits the role of the eyes of the beholder. Bernadette with her daughter and husband live in a house that everyone else thinks is abandoned, and they are wealthy, but she is a brilliant designer so she is going to create the most amazing home right, sometime soon, it must be. You have to read for the true laughable understanding. Her neighbours and parent association do not like her and she continues to despise them also, calling them gnats. Is she infesting her own life or is the outside, or maybe she is just not dealing with a full deck, lol.

Bea is able to choose anything she wants after she Aced her report card and chose a vacation to the Antarctica. Her mom agreed but was having an internal melt down due to her lack of social skills. She was researching the freezing unlivable part of Antarctica instead of the vacationing part and built up a paranoia which had you laughing and also feeling sorry for her. The author did a fabulous job with Antarctica description.

Bernadette hired an online assistant, the suspense on where this relationship will end was jaw dropping funny. Yes, people can be so naive and stupid, I'm laughing just at the thought. Bernadette goes missing and the search and pieces of the story all start coming together brilliantly.

Maria Semple uses a unique style to format her story; emails, letters, school notes, detective notes, even bills to take us on the journey, there is no way you get caught up in the style because you are smiling, giggling and falling over yourself with laughter throughout the book.

Such a great read, I loved it and would highly recommend when you need a light hearty fun read.

This was a book club read and all 6 of us enjoyed it. ( )
  marcejewels | Jun 23, 2014 |
The sort of book that makes me want to take back some of my previous five star reviews to properly distinguish just how important it is that everyone go read this one right away. Or else I could call you all individually and read you my favorite parts, which comprise a large fraction of the book.

Where'd You Go Bernadette is hilarious, insightful, almost magical in the way it shifts perspectives and language from character to character, and well plotted--overall every page was an absolute joy to read.

The basic story is told by Bernadette's eighth grade daughter Bee as well as through letters, emails, receipts, articles, police reports, and other original materials. It begins with the disappearance of Bernadette on the eve of a family trip to Antarctica and then goes back to the series of events that lead to it, with articles and letters illuminating still further events in Bernadette's life. The last parts of the book take off from the disappearance.

The novel has a number of laugh-out-loud set pieces, with especially repeated and borderline vicious satires of Seattle, the Microsoft corporate culture (Bernadette's husband works at Microsoft), the private school scene and the art world, to name just a few. At the same time, it shifts perspectives on these events, illuminating them piecemeal, adding to the humor but also bringing more insight into the different characters.

At the same time, it is more successful than most comic novels in depicting growth for some of the characters (although most of them are frozen in their comic archetypes) and discoveries about themselves and each other. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Bernadette is not your ordinary mom. But then, none of the characters in this book can pass for normal. Bernadette checked out long before her family wondered where she went. The book is funny and witty, but it doesn't manage to hide some significant heart peeking from underneath.

Told from daughter Bee's point of view, the crazy parts of the world seem saner than they should. There are also lots of notes and lists and correspondence with Bernadette's personal assistant Manjula, quite a story in itself. Then there's Microsoft and Antarctica.

I listened to an audio edition narrated by Kathleen Wilhoite. Her voice was dynamic, enthusiastic, even screechy when necessary, and altogether right for this book. It was easy to tell when she switched from Bee's voice to one of the emails or other non-narrative sections.

Quite entertaining and fun. ( )
  TooBusyReading | Jun 18, 2014 |
I enjoyed this audiobook more than I expected to, not really knowing much about it going in. While the narration was occasionally a bit too over-the-top even for the ludicrous caricatures Semple writes, it was mostly spot on and the perfect medium for this novel. Told in a combination of narrative and epistolary style, there were some incredibly touching and powerful moments throughout, couched in silliness and eccentricity. A fun book for the most part, but not fluff. ( )
  GlitterFemme | Jun 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 193 (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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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.

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