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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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  •  
    paola 10-23-13
    paola 10-23-13
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    "What a delight."
    What made the experience of listening to Where'd You Go, Bernadette the most enjoyable?

    I enjoyed the entire book from beginning to end. Great story: funny, entertaining, well written. The performance was top notch and Ms. Wilhoite changed characters without a hitch. I laughed out loud while driving and I wish it hadn't ended.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Chicago, IL, United States 10-21-13
    Karen Chicago, IL, United States 10-21-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Narrator made the listen!"
    What did you love best about Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

    This was a love story between a mother and her child


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

    The ending with the letter from Bernadette


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

    All of them


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

    Yes!


    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to at least a hundred titles and I can honestly say this narration was the best. Ms Wilhoite brought an energy and enthusiasm to a delightfully well written family love story..the characters were clear and distinct...such an enjoyable listen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lois Agoura Hills, CA, United States 10-20-13
    Lois Agoura Hills, CA, United States 10-20-13

    I love historical fiction, memoirs, rock star bios, and good dog stories.

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    "Great fun read!"
    What did you love best about Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

    The narrator of this book really made the story come alive by the way she inhabited each of the characters. I found her reading of the book so compelling that I searched for other books she's narrated. Alas, it appears that this is her only one!


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

    When Bernadette's daughter was in church and they were singing a hymn, and the narrator of the book actually SANG the hymn. Beautiful, awesome!


    What about Kathleen Wilhoite’s performance did you like?

    She was hands down the best narrator I've ever listened to and I would LOVE to read more books narrated by her.


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

    Bernadette, because I found her to be a fabulous intriguing character.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book, great characters, intriguing story, fabulous narrator. Highly recommended!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Durdin Memphis, Tennessee 10-19-13
    C. Durdin Memphis, Tennessee 10-19-13 Member Since 2008

    Fengshui502000

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    "I made myself stop reading..."
    Would you listen to Where'd You Go, Bernadette again? Why?

    so I would make this wonderful book last. I am treating it like the most incredible piece of chocolate that you really never want to end. You just savor every bite.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This a unique storyline. It is unpredictable and has total wrapped me in it's loving arms.


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

    All of them.


    Any additional comments?

    I am about 25% through with the book and I have no idea where it is going to go or end up but I want to be Bernadette when I grow up. Wait - I am 63 so I think I am already there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meredith Jersey City, NJ, United States 10-17-13
    Meredith Jersey City, NJ, United States 10-17-13
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    "Love Bee!"

    I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book. It tells a story that speaks to anyone who feels that they do not always fit in this world--complete with an exploration of the panic that causes, and the joy that emerges in finding your way.

    The author grounded this book in regional stereotypes which makes it uniquely American and also hilarious. Bernadette could have been pretty repulsive but she's written in a manner that makes her relatable and I thought even likable. The relationship between Bernadette and Bee was especially compelling.

    The reader (who Gilmore Girls fans will recognize as Luke's sister, Liz) perfectly captured the characters and their personalities. Will definitely listen again sometime down the road.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Carmel, CA, United States 10-11-13
    Chris Carmel, CA, United States 10-11-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Terrible Reader"
    Would you try another book from Maria Semple and/or Kathleen Wilhoite?

    I wouldn't consider Kathleen Wilhoite as a reader again, since she seemed to me to do such a dreadful job with the voices. For some reason she adopted an extraordinarily childish voice for several of the adult characters, and even her reading of Bee was much too young for an intelligent 15-year-old. Her mis-reading bothered me so much that I almost stopped listening, but I stuck with it hoping that it would get better. It didn't.


    What was most disappointing about Maria Semple’s story?

    I wouldn't say that the story was disappointing, it was just trivial, but it could have been entertaining in the hands of a different reader.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    In every possible way. Her interpretation of several characters made them repellant, when I don't think that this was Semple's intention.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Atalie LOS ANGELES, CA, US 10-08-13
    Atalie LOS ANGELES, CA, US 10-08-13
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    "If you need to get away- bring this book."
    Would you listen to Where'd You Go, Bernadette again? Why?

    I would listen to this audio book again because I inhaled it and didn't have the opportunity to savor it's finer points and language.


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

    The book is constructed like "Dear Mr. Henshaw," in letters back and forth between characters, which is surprisingly effective.

    The ultra-modern story and characters reminded me of a mix of Fay Weldon and Zoe Heller : a social commentary on marriage, men behaving badly , mental illness, yuppy politics and travel.


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

    A solid performance from Kathleen Wilhoite. She fully embodies each character, male and female, young and old.


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

    I could not pause this audiobook. I devoured it on a cross country flight. It's thoroughly enjoyable, engaging and just the right amount of schadenfreude.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret 10-02-13
    Margaret 10-02-13
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    "Love the wacky wonky slant."
    Where does Where'd You Go, Bernadette rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 5.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The incredibly accurate description of elusive human emotions. You will find yourself in this book.


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

    Can't say.


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

    Bernadette is amazing and memorable.


    Any additional comments?

    Do yourself the favor of ready this fun, quirky, well written book. Take the journey with Bernadette and discover a little something about yourself. I want to be Bernadette's friend!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison Washington, DC, United States 09-29-13
    Alison Washington, DC, United States 09-29-13
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    "A Great Escape!"
    Any additional comments?

    When I first read the dust-jacket, I passed this book over because I'm not a fan of light "chick-lit." But then my book club decided to give it a read, so I pushed past the cover and started listening... and listening... and listening. And loved it.

    The story construction is quite clever - the author tells you up-front that Bernadette is missing - but then takes her sweet time getting to the point where she disappears. It's an effective way to keep listeners glued to the story, waiting for the mystery to unfold. And the events leading up to the disappearance are interesting on their own - but with the addition of emails, receipts, etc., they are doled out as bite-sized snippets.

    Yeah, this book is perhaps a bit fluffy at its core, but it's what I think critics call a "a wildly fun romp." It's the perfect beach read. Preferable on a beach in Antarctica.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 09-28-13
    Jennifer 09-28-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Favorite audiobook this year!"
    Would you listen to Where'd You Go, Bernadette again? Why?

    I probably will listen again (which I rarely do) just to see if I pick up on any clues earlier.


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

    The blackberry bushes.....


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

    Her voices of the characters were perfection!


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

    I loved it! It often made me laugh.


    Any additional comments?

    This would be a fun book club book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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