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
Story could have been good but narrator was hard to differentiate between characters. Couldn't tell if it was Bernadette or B half the time. Painful to get through.
Writing humor alone is a difficult task. Making it farce is even harder. Combining that with a novel plot and distinct characters is almost unheard of. And to do it in epistolary format??? OMG as Bee’s friends would say. Oh and then there’s heart. This novel has it and all that other stuff in spades.
When it first came out, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? got lots of attention. People raved over it. I resisted. So many books aimed at women are just too sentimental for me and I put this in that bucket. Allow me to take it out. Sentimental is not something I’d call Bernadette, or anyone else in the book. Sure, it’s the story of a family and one whose members are genuinely connected to each other. But it isn’t soppy and the kid, Bee, isn’t an eyesore. I liked her which is really hard to make me do. Bernadette’s past and present are effectively mysterious and the cast of neighbors and hangers on are fabulous. The ending, while not assured, is reassuring and appropriate.
The narrator, Kathleen Wilhoite, did a great job overall. No, her men's voices weren't distinct one from another, but her women were. Epistolary format presents challenges galore for a narrator and she hurdled them all with ease.
I'm a graduate student from Flint, MI. My day job affords me hours to enjoy audio books while I work. Self-professed Narrator Snob!
First off I have to say the narrator did a phenomenal job! I thought I recognized her voice so I looked her up and realized she's PEPPER ANN, from my favorite TV show when I was a kid! Total bonus!
Ok, on to the story. I'm not normally a "found footage" novel type of person but this book is different. Because of the multiple story-tellers and the different voices the narrative world is rich and beautiful, even in it's tragedy.
This book lives with me as a constant reminder that no one is as simple as they seem, and no one has an easy life. Even our worst day is someone else's wish. I love this book. I've listened to it at least 3 times now. I will never get enough Bernadette!
This book came highly recommended by a friend of mine, whose opinion I value. However, I'm pretty sure my impression of the novel was ruined by the incredible overacting of the story's reader. I listened to the story with my mother, as we drove across the country, and we had to pause it every 30 minutes or so, to re-interpret (act out) a dialogue between the characters in the way that we imagined the author really intended.
That said, the story itself is pretty great. Perhaps save it for a read, instead of a listen?
Well, I'm pretty sure I would've loved the mother, Bernadette, if she hadn't been so overacted. She was irreverent, brilliant, hilarious, and tragic all at once. I love complex characters!
NO. In fact, I'm going to be incredibly careful about my audiobook purchases from now on, so that I don't have to sit through hours of another performance like that.
As long as Kathleen didn't play any of the characters, YES!
The over-wrought narration ruined this book. Please ship her off to Antarctica! It's insulting to listen to her ridiculously strained narration.
ANYONE! She is AWFUL. I'll be sure to stay away from ANYTHING that she narrates.
Yes, I loved the narrator & it was an interesting story
The way it's told through emails & letters
I liked how she gave each character their own voice
Yes, sometimes I'd get home from work & just sit in the driveway listening
I think the print would have been better in this instance.
No. The foreign accents were terrible. The voice of the 15 year old Bee sounded like a 5 year old. There was too much overly dramatic voicing of the characters' internal monologue, particularly from Bee.
I liked the concept but the story was let down by the last quarter of the book. The narrator was also a real problem for me. Her voice was terribly whiney and "gee-whiz" childish when voicing Bee's part and that is also why the last quarter was so painful as so much was from Bee in that part.
Grateful for Audible. Love this company that provides hours of entertainment and helps me sleep at night.
Creative, Hilarius, Surprising
The narrator's voice was perfect for this story. She was as entertaining as the story was. They blended so well!
Her infection was so enjoyable. She made the book so much more humorous than I would have know had I read the book.
This book was a little exaggerated but in some ways ironically believable.
I love all things ending in "ook", like book, cook and hook. These are my main hobbies and I can oftentimes do two of them simulataneously.
I cannot think of one single thing I enjoyed about this book. Oh, I quit reading it--that freed me of pain, agony, irritation. This book offered nothing of real interest. It's all fluff even though it seems it was supposed to be humorous and entertaining. Sorry, I just couldn't stand the shouting of the narrator, the dribble of the characters, the supposed humor that fell flat, etc.
I plan to listen to the next Cork O'Conner by William Kent Krueger. There's a cast of characters I enjoy!
I thought I would enjoy this particular book as a narrated book but i don't think I could have enjoyed this is any format. I hated all the shouting voices, the dull voice of the psychiatrist, and all of the memos or whatever.
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