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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

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (3739 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Janiene 04-04-14
    Janiene 04-04-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    "And they lived happily ever after!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I was surprised to see this story described as funny or fun. A depressed mother who has become a shut in because of her own anger, immaturity, and inability to deal with loss and perceived failure in her life. A husband completely absorbed in work life, avoiding his home life, who ultimately betrays his wife in a number of ways, even if he could plead ignorance. Arrogant, nasty, manipulative characters that bully her due to their own immaturity and self-serving purposes. I really struggled to find any characters I liked. Maybe I just know too many people like the ones portrayed in this story, but it was a disappointment to me. The mother, daughter relationship is highlighted. They love each other so much and Mom makes life so interesting and fun, and everyone that doesn't get mom is stupid, 'cause she is really great. Bee keeps 100% of the faith in her mother, but really being a little girl, that is all she ultimately is able to do. Prove to her mom that she would go to the moon and back for her. The ending tied up many loose ends, but it was unrealistic to the point I rolled my eyes. The book was concluded much like a little girl would. None of the deeper issues were really addressed "We will just live a normal life now" and "I will just forgive my husband for impregnating another person, an enemy who had been one of those bullies, because I cant imagine being with out him"... and they all lived happily ever after! Really!?!?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gabrielle Centralia, WA, United States 03-30-14
    Gabrielle Centralia, WA, United States 03-30-14 Member Since 2015
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    5
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    "Loved it"
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

    Since I'm a Washingtonian I found Bernadette's rantings pretty amusing. Yes, they were extreme at times, but really not so far off the mark. "Can you believe this weather!? Yes, yes I can."


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

    Kathleen did an amazing job with the gnats!


    Any additional comments?

    I finally knocked this one off my to-read list and wasn't disappointed. I'm picky about audio books, and Kathleen's performance was excellent. I loved the back stories, especially those regarding Bernadette's architectural projects. It's always fun to listen to a story set in your own geographical area, I think it makes it that much more real.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Farien 03-21-14
    Farien 03-21-14 Member Since 2013
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    "On the Best Seller List for a Reason"
    What did you love best about Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

    A mystery told in snippets of a life torn down.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

    Having a virtual assistant and then finding out this assistant was not as helpful as you thought.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book surprised me. Most movies and especially sit coms are predictable; I enjoy being surprised.


    Any additional comments?

    This book got me hooked on TED talks, which I had never heard of and not see and hear everywhere.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Boulder, CO, United States 03-18-14
    Thomas Boulder, CO, United States 03-18-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Flat characters, no plot, annoying writing style"

    I suffered through the first quarter of the audiobook and then stopped it. The characters are neurotic housewives. Neuroticism is their only dimension, i.e., they are one-dimensional characters. They lack even the second dimension of flat, cardboard characters.

    There's no plot. After more than two hours I expect something to happen. Descriptions consist solely of brand names. Several characters work at Microsoft but there's no "ring of truth" suggesting that the author has any idea what it's like to work at Microsoft.

    Most annoying is the writing style. It's a mixture of first person narrative (Bee) and e-mails that the adults write to each other. Each e-mail is pages long and reveal personal information one would never share with, for example, an outsourcing agency in India. The author apparently hasn't discovered Twitter or figured out that most people write short e-mails. The author is apparently trying to be funny but I didn't laugh at anything.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori L. Boggs Newberry, FL United States 03-17-14
    Lori L. Boggs Newberry, FL United States 03-17-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    13
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    Story
    "Nice Surprise"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Where'd You Go, Bernadette to be better than the print version?

    Yes loved the perfomance


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

    I was couldn't figure out the ending, usually I can


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

    Bee and her mom, I love them all, she did the school parents very well


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

    Bee- loved her


    Any additional comments?

    when I started I wasn't in love with the book but I could stop and before I knew it I was in love with the book, I felt a lot of sympathy with the characters, even the ones I didn't like near the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela Carlinville, IL, United States 02-28-14
    Angela Carlinville, IL, United States 02-28-14 Member Since 2010

    I LOVE to listen to audiobooks - the Audible ap is by far the best thing that's ever happend to my iPhone.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A mother actually did it... she ran away from home"

    What mother doesn't want to get away at times? What mother doesn't wish that she could just walk away from all of the demands of home, children, spouse and peers?

    This book is a solid story about a mother who checks out - and it's not just lighthearted... you get into the meat of a potential mental imbalance that cause a mother to leave her life.

    Great narration - very well suited.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie United States 02-21-14
    Bonnie United States 02-21-14 Member Since 2008
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    93
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    "Edgy, funny, thoroughly entertaining"
    Would you listen to Where'd You Go, Bernadette again? Why?

    Yes, the performance was as good as the story


    What did you like best about this story?

    Each character was developed so you saw multiple sides and behaviors, which is how all people really are.


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

    Bee


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

    Bee, so bright and happy.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicki 02-20-14
    Vicki 02-20-14

    2thekid

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Who knew blackberry vines could be so funny."
    If you could sum up Where'd You Go, Bernadette in three words, what would they be?

    Delusional, quirky and fun.


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

    Maybe some of Carl Hiassen's books. Crazy characters who do crazy things.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    It has to be everything involved with the blackberry vines.


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

    Of course it would be Bernadette. Why would I want to miss out on her insightful, but delusional labels of events and people.


    Any additional comments?

    "Bernadette" isn't all fun and games filled with zany characters. This book does have a message to mothers or women in general. By caring for others, women can lose their own identity. You can't take care of others unless you take care of yourself first.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Candice Salt Lake City, UT, United States 02-18-14
    Candice Salt Lake City, UT, United States 02-18-14 Member Since 2013
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    24
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    "Bernadette"
    Any additional comments?

    I loved this look couldn't stop listening. Not to sure about the ending but would listen to it again! I would giggle out loud.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alysia 02-16-14
    Alysia 02-16-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic, fun book, Narrator brings it to life!"
    If you could sum up Where'd You Go, Bernadette in three words, what would they be?

    Kathleen Wilhoite brought this story to life, so funny and fantastic, I just started re-listning versus starting another book. Highly recommend.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Narrator and Story


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

    Her voice and characters


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

    yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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