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

by Maria Semple

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,5662202,340 (3.99)293
Member:CptKirk
Title:Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Authors:Maria Semple
Info:W&N (2012), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Seattle, Antartica, families

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. 10
    This Book Will Save Your Life by A. M. Homes (lizchris)
    lizchris: About the madness of west coast America
  3. 21
    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
    The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson (cransell)
    cransell: Both quirky, humorous reads.
  5. 00
    Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (lycomayflower)
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» See also 293 mentions

English (217)  Danish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (220)
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Check this book out as an audiobook from our Digital Library:
http://d125.lib.overdrive.com/6EC7E36C-02F1-4671-AE1B-68C0C9952A52/10/45/en/Cont...
  SHS_ILC | Dec 19, 2014 |
I'll admit, it took me about 30 pages or more to truly get into this book. But once I embraced the semi-epistolary style (I say semi because of the side comments from Bee), I really began to enjoy the hunt for information.

I've seen other reviewers comment about not liking the chapter which is written in a traditional, plot-based, non-letter format, and I disagree whole-heartedly. I think the style of the book flows into the first person narration quite well. Bee seemed to be injecting more comments and the various letters/notes were getting longer and were produced in a more narrative format (most notably the doctor's notes on the failed intervention), so that by the time the straight narration begins, the reader is prepared for it.

I am, however much I liked it, only comfortable giving this book 3 stars for a handful of reasons, most of which are arguably nit-picky. First of all, I think Bee is too smart to be in the eighth grade. When she explains her condition, I actually had to put down the book. Not only was it frustrating because it really broke the epistolary format (a deviation that obviously I grew to accept), but no eighth grader talks like that!

And while we're discussing Bee, 15 seems a little old for eighth grade. I may be wrong, but I believe she (Bee) tells us she is 15 at one point in the book. That means she should be a freshman or sophomore in high school, and explains some of the maturity she shows through out the book.

Also, I am a bit confused by the character of the father. We see very little of him, and I don't think he is at all a likeable character. I find that I don't really want him in the presumed happily ever after.

Overall, I love the concept of this book, and I feel the style is genius! The weaknesses lie in the characters, but those weaknesses are only temporarily distracting. The plot will keep you glued as you unravel the mystery letter by letter, and get to formulate your own ideas of what's really happening. ( )
  LadyLiz | Nov 25, 2014 |
Different and unexpected. The author's use of emails, receipts and other non-conventional means to tell her story was a welcome break from the usual narrative. A fun mystery filled with the right amount of snark. ( )
  Delancey.Stewart | Nov 22, 2014 |
Different and unexpected. The author's use of emails, receipts and other non-conventional means to tell her story was a welcome break from the usual narrative. A fun mystery filled with the right amount of snark. ( )
  Delancey.Stewart | Nov 22, 2014 |
I absolutely LOVED this story!!! The characters were all so REAL, and I simply adored Bernadette! Her daughter, Bee, was amazing, too. I felt like I really knew these people, and I totally wanted to hang out with Bernadette! Also, really wanted to see Straight Gate! I'll definitely read more by Maria Semple!!! ( )
  trayceetee | Nov 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 217 (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
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.

(summary from another edition)

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