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
I enjoyed the unique voices the reader used to perform the different characters. Bernadette is an interesting and surprising heroine.
I don't usually write reviews because I tend to agree with the other reviewers but not in this case. The majority of reviewers gave raving reviews-but not me. The overall story idea is a good one and certainly imaginative, but the majority of the book was presented as a series of emails from one character to another and I found this extremely annoying. There was too much jumping around and it took more than a few hours to figure out who everyone was in the story. When the book got to the point where the story was presented without so many short emails, I enjoyed it more. Unlike other reviewers, I wasn't thrilled with the storyteller --she tried to do different accents but I thought she failed and unlike others, I did not like her singing-I thought it detracted from the book and I have no idea why it was included.
I really enjoyed this book. It is wonderfully funny detailing the highjinks of the denizens of the Seattle/Microsoft, suburban, private school crowd with a sweet underlying family story. The writing is very lively -- the story is told through the email messages, letters, etc. of various characters, each with very distinct voices. While some of the story elements are silly and outlandish for comedic effect, it is not vapid--there is humanity in the emotional unfolding of the story. The narrator gamely takes on some (briefly) required accents, but her main strength is in her energetic characterizations. She also sings exeptionally well for the one verse of a Christmas carol.
A very talented performer makes the witty dialogue in this book pop. At times the performance is over-the-top, but so are the characters so the two work well together. My only disappointment was the made-for-television end -- the author left too many loose ends and frustratingly implausible connections.
Kathleen Wilhoite could not have done a better job with this book--she is delightful, and brings every character to life. Part mystery, part comedy, all fun. It took a little while to get into the format, which switches back and forth between letters, e-mails, and narration, but it is so worth the trip, and so fun. Well done on all fronts!
This reader detracted from what would otherwise be a very engaging story. She read the book as if it were a stage performance, infusing far too much of her interpretation of the characters on the reader. A more aloof, dispassionate performance would have enhanced the listening experience.
The author's skewering of the politically correct Seattle private school scene and the "community" of parents was hilarious.
This book is pretty brilliant! It's odd, funny and just downright fun to read. Would def recommend. But it's a light read don't take it too seriously. It was right on time for me. A nice change of pace.
This is a really fun interesting book. The reader does a great job of telling it as well, she captures the voices of the characters very believably.
Not at all.
A NY Times reviewer said, "Comedy heaven.... This divinely funny, many-faceted novel...leaves convention behind”. All I can say is HUGH? Was the reviewer on the sauce or something stronger?
The daughter sounds like a spoiled two yr. old and not an intelligent 15 yr. old. Bernadette does not sound like a brilliant architect who managed to find a place to stay in Antarctica. In reality, they should have committed her. Only, dear old Dad sounds real, although not gallant. The premise was lame. In short, the book might be okay for papering a cage.
It MIGHT have been funny if written from Bernadette’s point of view but I doubt it.
Yes! It's an easy listen. The reader does a fabulous job with voices and you cleary know who is talking through out the book. It's almost like listening to a stand-up comedy routine!
Elgen, because he loved Bernadette so much he would have done anything for her.
The mudslide! ha!!
Two parts actually 1. When Elgen told B to go and 2. When Bernadette opened the velvet bag when B found her.
Loved this book!! A great listen! Awesome story about nothing at all but about something real.
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