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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

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  •  
    Allegra B. 09-22-13
    Allegra B. 09-22-13

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    75
    8
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    3
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    "Inspiring, intelligent, and heart-warming story"

    I was looking for an easy listen while taking a brain-break from work. I knew I would have hours in the car and to myself so I read the reviews of many fiction books and decided on this one.

    This story is as sweet as it is well-written and smart. The narrator, Kathleen Wilhoite, makes this book extra special when read aloud with her incredible ability to shape a character based on tone and voice. It's reminiscent of being read to as a child, my father creating silly and over the top characters in my storybooks. But it's not over the top... it's just right.

    This book illustrates human misunderstandings, misses, and judgments in ways that break your heart. It also demonstrates the payoff of relentlessness and determination, if we have the courage to swim against the current, to continually demand to get our needs met. In the chaos of complexity of life, Bea is an inspirational character who provides lessons of hope for the kid in me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirsten Dallas, Texas, United States 09-21-13
    Kirsten Dallas, Texas, United States 09-21-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Inventive book maximized by outstanding narration"
    Would you listen to Where'd You Go, Bernadette again? Why?

    Definitely. The details, twists, and turns in this book, as well as the multi-layered humor, deserve a second (and probably third!) listen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters. They are fresh and quirky, but still relatable. There's no character without flaws, and no character without some redeeming quality.


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

    She. Is. Incredible. Granted, I haven't read the paper copy of this book, but Ms. Wihoite's performance gives a depth and resonance to the characters that brings the book to life. Her attention to detail is impressive, and her efforts to honor each character and give each his/her authentic voice makes listening to this book both entertaining and compelling.


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

    That's like asking an aunt who's her favorite niece or nephew. Impossible to say. On any given day, I can see choosing every character for different reasons. Today, I'd say Bernadette. Ask me again tomorrow.


    Any additional comments?

    Ms. Semple excels, with an intriguing plot that draws you in and keeps you moving forward effortlessly, interesting characters who keep developing as the story unfolds, and an interesting format. The story is charming and unique, but the relationships and emotions portrayed are down-to-earth and very real. I'm sure the format -- a mix of narrative, emails, and other materials -- presented quite the challenge for turning this into an audiobook. I've listened to other Audible audiobooks and have not been disappointed, but I have to say that Ms. Wilhoite's performance is truly impressive. Her dedication to giving the best expression of this book comes through, and all her preparation and work on the process definitely paid off. It's a rewarding "listen" all around.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chia-Yen Los Angeles, CA, United States 09-20-13
    Chia-Yen Los Angeles, CA, United States 09-20-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    1
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    "Great book"
    Any additional comments?

    The story itself is fascinating. The narrator also did a great job. Can't help finishing the whole book in 2 days!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peggy Fresno, CA, United States 09-20-13
    Peggy Fresno, CA, United States 09-20-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    4
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    "Not for me"

    Just could not get into this story. Whiney voice and a story that held no interest for me

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    moe CT 09-12-13
    moe CT 09-12-13

    moe

    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
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    180
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    "Quirky, funny and delightful book"

    I think it's difficult to write a comic novel. Although there were serious aspects to the story, it was loaded with quirky humor. This is the kind of comedy that is clever and intelligent. The characters are eccentric as well as endearing. Wedged in between weighty fiction, this book was just pure fun and enjoyment. I think it's the type of book you would love to start on a rainy day, wearing your favorite PJs and read all day and into the night. I gave this book 4 stars not because I think it's a work of literary genius, it's just fun to read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vijaya East Lansing, MI, United States 08-26-13
    Vijaya East Lansing, MI, United States 08-26-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Fantastic!"

    The book is funny and the reader was great! One of best books I listened to this summer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kare690 Massachusetts 08-25-13
    Kare690 Massachusetts 08-25-13

    Psych RN who dreams of living in a forest inside a hollow tree with my hubby and dog, listening to Audible books while bunnies frolic around

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    59
    4
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    1
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    "Am I from another planet?"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I honestly don't know. Maybe someone with lower expectations. I spend so much time trying to decide on a book that is worthy of my precious credits. So I read reviews, categorize by star rating, then I've tried best selling and I still find myself choosing the wrong book for "me". I just could not get into this book. I need a story with characters and this read like a diary of emails.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    None.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BookRoadie1342 Atlanta, GA 08-21-13
    BookRoadie1342 Atlanta, GA 08-21-13 Member Since 2014

    Roadie

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    5
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    "What a strange, fun little listen."
    What made the experience of listening to Where'd You Go, Bernadette the most enjoyable?

    At the beginning, I wasn't sure I'd get in to the format, and before I knew it, I was pulled in to the story. I thought the narrator did a wonderful job with Bee. I liked that all the characters were so multi-faceted - often the instinct is to fall to more stereotypical 2D cutouts, but all of the characters evolve to show their many faces throughout the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine San Diego, CA 08-16-13
    Catherine San Diego, CA 08-16-13 Member Since 2011

    Catroy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    90
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    0
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    "Come Back, Bernadette!"
    If you could sum up Where'd You Go, Bernadette in three words, what would they be?

    Funny; insightful; intelligent


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

    I've never read anything like this. Usualy intelligent books are not funny and vice versa. This is the whole package.


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

    I have not heard Kathleen before, but will actively look for her in the future. Her performance was fabulous. (I'd love a recording of "O Holy Night" but that comment is going to be very confusing for someone reading this review!)


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

    Yes and no. It was very enjoyable and I wanted to keep listening, but I really didn't want it to end.


    Any additional comments?

    I want more! Maybe this should be a series. I want to know what happens next in all the characters lives.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 08-10-13
    Richard 08-10-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    2
    Overall
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    "Greatfun loved it"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Where'd You Go, Bernadette to be better than the print version?

    Absolutely though it took a bit to get used to the reader did a fantastic job


    What did you like best about this story?

    The modern day setting and humor


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

    No and i lookforwardtohearing more fromher


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were quite a few, some poignant,some tears, lots of laughs


    Any additional comments?

    Definitely a great listen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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