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Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel by Maria…
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Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Maria Semple (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,6495481,212 (3.9)482
Fiction. Literature. Humor (Fiction.) HTML:A misanthropic matriarch leaves her eccentric family in crisis when she mysteriously disappears in this "whip-smart and divinely funny" novel that inspired the movie starring Cate Blanchett (New York Times).
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 her best friend and, simply, Mom.
Then Bernadette vanishes. It all 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, and secret correspondence creating a compulsively readable and surprisingly touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.
… (more)
Member:OHanlon2008
Title:Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel
Authors:Maria Semple (Author)
Info:Back Bay Books (2013), Edition: Reprint, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work Information

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

Recently added byNerena, luckyjean, my6boyzmom, tkgreening, JFBCore, private library
  1. 51
    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. 30
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    cransell: Two fictional looks at working at Microsoft.
  3. 20
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    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)
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» See also 482 mentions

English (540)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (544)
Showing 1-5 of 540 (next | show all)
I can't put into words the joy this book brought me while I was reading it. As a teacher, I totally understand some of the things Bernadette goes through and find it hilarious her reaction to everything. Although I did find some of the things in this plot to be a little unrealistic, it didn't change the way I felt about this book after I was done.

Semple does an amazing job with this novel, incorporating different writing techniques and literary devices, which made this read even better than what I anticipated.

Can I also say that I love the fact that it takes place in Seattle. ( )
  prebs29 | Jul 6, 2024 |
So far, this is a hoot! up to page 108 ( )
  Rory_Bergin | Jun 11, 2024 |
Hmmm.....where to start...I have a love/hate relationship with this book.....it could have been great..it should have been great....but it ended up being just ok.

The love: the characters are amazing, likable, and interesting....the humor was laugh out loud funny at times.......the family dynamics were entertaining.....the pace was good.

The hate: the style......I get where the writer was going here, and I even appreciate the idea.....it can be great when done correctly. I've read a few books in this correspondence style that I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, Semple veered too far from reality...the correspondences....email, letters, etc.....were just unrealistically written......no one communicates the way thats used here. The plot....while I appreciate the premise.....again, Semple veers too far from real life .......in her quest for creating quirky, adventurous, and unique....she created outlandish, silly and quixotic. The ending......it was far too abrupt and anticlimactic.

I struggled with how to rate this book...I teetered between 2.5 stars and 3.....in the end, I felt that the interesting characters alone were worth the 3 stars.....I just would have loved to see them fleshed out abit more....and in a more true to life form. ( )
  Jfranklin592262 | May 6, 2024 |
Read 4.2024; Nancy’s book
  AbneyLibri | Apr 29, 2024 |
An interesting, unusual story that was well-written. I admire when someone writes outside the box either with story or style. ( )
  LyndaWolters1 | Apr 3, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 540 (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
Semple, Mariaprimary 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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For Poppy Meyer
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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."
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
Our house is old. All day and night it cracks and groans, like it's trying to get comfortable but can't
Chihulys are the pigeons of Seattle. They're everywhere, and even if they don't get in your way, you can't help but build up a kind of antipathy toward them.
Like sick animals, everyone else had retreated into their warrens of misery.
Right before it shut, I caught a glimpse of the poor Japanese people. Nobody had moved. Some hands were frozen in midair, in the middle of doing a fold. It looked like a wax museum diorama of an origami presentation.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Literature. Humor (Fiction.) HTML:A misanthropic matriarch leaves her eccentric family in crisis when she mysteriously disappears in this "whip-smart and divinely funny" novel that inspired the movie starring Cate Blanchett (New York Times).
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 her best friend and, simply, Mom.
Then Bernadette vanishes. It all 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, and secret correspondence creating a compulsively readable and surprisingly touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

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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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