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
Say something about yourself!
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.
Definitely. The details, twists, and turns in this book, as well as the multi-layered humor, deserve a second (and probably third!) listen.
The characters. They are fresh and quirky, but still relatable. There's no character without flaws, and no character without some redeeming quality.
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.
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.
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.
The story itself is fascinating. The narrator also did a great job. Can't help finishing the whole book in 2 days!
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.
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
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.
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.
Funny; insightful; intelligent
I've never read anything like this. Usualy intelligent books are not funny and vice versa. This is the whole package.
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!)
Yes and no. It was very enjoyable and I wanted to keep listening, but I really didn't want it to end.
I want more! Maybe this should be a series. I want to know what happens next in all the characters lives.
Absolutely though it took a bit to get used to the reader did a fantastic job
The modern day setting and humor
No and i lookforwardtohearing more fromher
There were quite a few, some poignant,some tears, lots of laughs
Definitely a great listen
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