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Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel | [Maria Semple]

Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel

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.

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2012 Maria Semple (P)2012 Hachette Audio

What Members Say

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  •  
    Theresa banks, OR, United States 07-09-14
    Theresa banks, OR, United States 07-09-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How do you spell Antarctica"
    Would you listen to Where'd You Go, Bernadette again? Why?

    Yes , it was purely delightful


    What other book might you compare Where'd You Go, Bernadette to and why?

    The Rosie Project
    I found great humor in both


    What does Kathleen Wilhoite bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Not sure


    If you could take any character from Where'd You Go, Bernadette out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Bernadette. I found her fascinating


    Any additional comments?

    It was a delightful book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    San I Am Derwood, MD, US 06-23-14
    San I Am Derwood, MD, US 06-23-14 Member Since 2012

    Ever since a childhood hiding under the covers of my bed with a flashlight... The quest for the next adventure continues unabated.

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    "A bit convoluted"
    What disappointed you about Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

    there were definitely moments when I enjoyed the book with its unique, colorful characters. However, I frequently found myself having to go back to try to recall who was who - the narrator has a unique voice, but there is very little differentiation between characters. thus, I had trouble recalling who was who and what their particular relationships were to each other. The narrator's voice, at times, became quite grating and distracting to the central story. I believe this story would have benefitted from additional readers, or at least, a narrator more capable of adjusting their timbre, pronunciation, and point of view of each character. In fact, midway through the book, I just quit, as I could not really immerse myself in the story, as a result of the number of characters who all sounded, at least to me, interchangeable.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I don't know about the author - she did tackle an entertaining topic, different from mainstream novels (not quite comedic, though with very comedic scenes, not quite dramatic, though there was definitely drama, interspersed with humor, and suspense, though this was lighthearted and a bit far-fetched). The narrator's voice I found extremely grating; I will most definitely avoid any of her work as I select future titles). Her voice actually overwhelmed the story to the point of frustration.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Kathleen Wilhoite’s performances?

    No, most definitely not.


    What character would you cut from Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

    L.G.'s assistant, Audrey, while she served as a pivotal character to illustrate certain stereotypical characters, was particularly annoying - again, there was so little voice differentiation that it was difficult to know who was speaking throughout the story. Perhaps if the character displayed more varied personality or temperament, I might have been more successful at becoming engaged in the story.


    Any additional comments?

    I ordered this book on the basis of so many positive reviews. But I must say, until the very final hour/s of the story, I had NO problem setting this book aside to bury myself in another, more engrossing, and better articulated tale. So...it took me quite awhile to finish. I did enjoy the ending, but the path to get there was just too awfully painful. Maybe it's just me, but I found the narrators voice grating and un-imaginative. It's too bad, I wonder if, in the voice of another with more of a vocal range, I might have enjoyed the story more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A PENNSYLVANIA 06-14-14
    A PENNSYLVANIA 06-14-14

    Mom of 2

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    "LOVED IT!"

    Awesome story- great characters. Amazing. Mad it took me so long to finally read/listen to it!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paulette 06-13-14
    Paulette 06-13-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Perfect narration!"
    Where does Where'd You Go, Bernadette rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I loved this book so much and the audio made it even better. Wasn't expecting the singing in the middle of the book. Bravo!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura 06-12-14
    Laura 06-12-14 Member Since 2015
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    4
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    "Unique, extraordinary, moving, hilarious!"
    Where does Where'd You Go, Bernadette rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Really this was one of my top, top favorites, maybe ever. I was enamored right from the start by the fun mixed media style narrative, the creative, quirky characters, and the fantastic performance. I had a needling feeling that the performer's voice was very familiar, and finally checked wikipedia and realized she is a character on one of my favorite TV shows, Gilmore Girls. It was barely possible, but that probably made me love this audiobook even more!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Audiblellen W Des Moines, IA, United States 05-26-14
    Audiblellen W Des Moines, IA, United States 05-26-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narrator Should Have the Audibook Oscar"

    The way the story is told through emails and notes, listening to it takes some attention. But the narrator Kathleen Wilhoite more than makes up for it. Her interpretation of this story is a total delight, makes me glad I listened rather than read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sarahjean Midwest USA 05-18-14
    sarahjean Midwest USA 05-18-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hilarious Reality"
    What did you love best about Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

    The joy, honesty, and sarcasm used by the characters to tell the story. The relevance of reference to current culture. Using current technology as a method to deliver storyline and develop characters.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Bernadette because she is hilarious and honest about her agoraphobia, her disdain for current culture of overer- parenting, her rotten and hopeless feelings and her hanging in there until she rediscovered her passion for life.


    What does Kathleen Wilhoite bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Narration jumped out of my ear phones and into my heart and thoughts. Beautiful transitions from Bee to Bernadette, to the various supporting characters.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Bernadette leaves the house and finds her life.


    Any additional comments?

    Loved this book,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily 04-30-14
    Emily 04-30-14 Member Since 2013
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    "I wanted more!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Where'd You Go, Bernadette to be better than the print version?

    I think I would have enjoyed this book either way, however it did take me a chapter or so to adapt to the the voice of the narrator. Once I was able to listen to the words instead of the sound, I couldn't stop listening. In fact, I listened to the story more than once and shared it with my sister and best friend.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I fell in love with all the characters and the way the interacted with each other. It was honest and had such an accurate way of describing how parents interact. My favorite character was Bernadette. She is vibrant with a lot of life, but was lost in a world she knew nothing about or rather wanted nothing to do with. She is smart and capable yet has some issues she struggles to deal with. I loved her interaction with her daughter and their relationship.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I enjoyed this book. It was fun and entertaining. Sometimes you need a book just for a good laugh. This was the one for me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lois Agoura Hills, CA United States 04-30-14
    Lois Agoura Hills, CA United States 04-30-14 Member Since 2015

    avid reader

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    "Delightful. . ."
    If you could sum up Where'd You Go, Bernadette in three words, what would they be?

    Quirky, outrageous, real. . .


    What did you like best about this story?

    The adorable and lovable characters, the narrator, the story. . .


    Have you listened to any of Kathleen Wilhoite’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I don't think she has read any other books because I looked for other books narrated by her and couldn't find any.


    If you could take any character from Where'd You Go, Bernadette out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Bernadette, because she was so real and so quirky and fun.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Candace C. Los Angeles, CA, United States 04-09-14
    Candace C. Los Angeles, CA, United States 04-09-14 Member Since 2015
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    "What a great tale."
    What made the experience of listening to Where'd You Go, Bernadette the most enjoyable?

    The structure of the novel was very entertaining. It was linear, but not your typical narration. Kathleen Wilhoite really mastered the individual voices of the characters.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was hilarious and stressful at the same time. I got great insight into the main characters from their own correspondences. I enjoyed getting different perspectives on the same events.


    Which character – as performed by Kathleen Wilhoite – was your favorite?

    Bernadette and Bee were my FAVES! Audrey was a runner up.


    Who was the most memorable character of Where'd You Go, Bernadette and why?

    Bernadette, because this was her story told by everyone experiencing it.


    Any additional comments?

    Definitely lived up to the hype.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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