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Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria…

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

by Maria Semple

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,8512492,037 (3.97)317
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)

  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
    Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell (kiwiflowa)
  7. 00
    Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (lycomayflower)

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» See also 317 mentions

English (245)  Danish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (248)
Showing 1-5 of 245 (next | show all)
I liked this book for the way in which it was written and the twists and turns. ( )
  rebeccar76 | Jun 24, 2015 |
This quirky novel written in epistolary fashion is sure to get and keep your attention. Bee is the extraordinary daughter of unusual parents. But their lives fall apart in an unusual manner as her mother Bernadette’s actions becomes more erratic. While the plot is fascinating, the characters should have been better developed. Though this novel had promise and appeal, it leaves too many questions unanswered. A good read but not a great one. ( )
  Maydacat | Jun 20, 2015 |
I was really unsure about this book before I read it -- from the description, it did not sound up my alley at all. A teenage girl pieces together the events that led up to her mother's disappearance. Just too slapstick and wacky, I'm not really a fan of that exaggerated humor, like let's make fun of people who work for Microsoft and PTA moms by mocking the most extreme, outrageous stereotypes you can come up with, and setting them in a context of extremely unlikely coincidental events. I was saying it seemed exactly like why I never liked Seinfeld -- I try to avoid awful people, I don't have the time to seek them out to mock them.

But dang, the writing turned out to be so very SHARP. The author was so successful in creating these little character sketches, of even minor characters. So this ended up being a book where didn't quite care for the overall frame of the thing (and I'm still not very comfortable with how behaviors of mental illness were used for comic effect), but the execution was flawless. This is probably more of a three star book, and I'll think that after some time goes by, but right now in the moment, it's getting an extra star for my delight in being pleasantly surprised. And for some terrific throw-away lines, like when a pregnant lady is having so many cravings that her doctor is worried about all the sweets she is consuming, and she's worried her baby will come out made of sugar, like a Peep. Like a Peep! That knocked me out. ( )
  delphica | Jun 10, 2015 |
This is the story of a talented artist who lets a setback -- OK, it's a big one -- get her down, gives up her career, moves to Seattle, and becomes bitter and impossible. It's a portrait of a creatively frustrated woman that filled me with dread, lest I become like her, always tearing things apart, never building something of my own. As fiction, it's all right. I read it in a few days, but I wanted a deeper exploration of Bernadette's life as an architect. Instead, the story stays mostly in a madcap, kinda-George-Saunders range, and rarely dives into a deeper emotional register. I want to say that "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" is decent commercial fiction, but we all know that's a thinly veiled insult, as if to say that a book that a lot of people read can't be any good. I don't think that's true, but I did have higher hopes for this novel based on its premise. On the plus side, I learned a lot about Antarctica. ( )
  amymerrick | Jun 3, 2015 |
I came across this book in the clearance section in Books a million. I read the back as we all do and the first couple of pages just to see did it draw me in. It did. haha!

I love Bernadette she is hilarious and quick with the wit. Ok, so the main character is Bee. Bernadette daughter. Bee has done well in school and wants her mom and dad to take her on a trip to Antartica. However, Bernadette doesn’t like people, or crowded areas or being on a boat or most things haha! The closer it gets to the trip Bernadette starts acting a little strange. Then, She disappears! Heres where the mystery begins and unfolds quite well. I really enjoyed it.

I would recommend this as a good summer read : ) if you like a hint of sarcasm and a little mystery this would be the book for you. : )

cheers- Holly ( )
  HollyRae | Jun 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 245 (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.

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