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
Really this was one of my top, top favorites, maybe ever. I was enamored right from the start by the fun mixed media style narrative, the creative, quirky characters, and the fantastic performance. I had a needling feeling that the performer's voice was very familiar, and finally checked wikipedia and realized she is a character on one of my favorite TV shows, Gilmore Girls. It was barely possible, but that probably made me love this audiobook even more!
The way the story is told through emails and notes, listening to it takes some attention. But the narrator Kathleen Wilhoite more than makes up for it. Her interpretation of this story is a total delight, makes me glad I listened rather than read.
The joy, honesty, and sarcasm used by the characters to tell the story. The relevance of reference to current culture. Using current technology as a method to deliver storyline and develop characters.
Bernadette because she is hilarious and honest about her agoraphobia, her disdain for current culture of overer- parenting, her rotten and hopeless feelings and her hanging in there until she rediscovered her passion for life.
Narration jumped out of my ear phones and into my heart and thoughts. Beautiful transitions from Bee to Bernadette, to the various supporting characters.
Bernadette leaves the house and finds her life.
Loved this book,
I think I would have enjoyed this book either way, however it did take me a chapter or so to adapt to the the voice of the narrator. Once I was able to listen to the words instead of the sound, I couldn't stop listening. In fact, I listened to the story more than once and shared it with my sister and best friend.
I fell in love with all the characters and the way the interacted with each other. It was honest and had such an accurate way of describing how parents interact. My favorite character was Bernadette. She is vibrant with a lot of life, but was lost in a world she knew nothing about or rather wanted nothing to do with. She is smart and capable yet has some issues she struggles to deal with. I loved her interaction with her daughter and their relationship.
I enjoyed this book. It was fun and entertaining. Sometimes you need a book just for a good laugh. This was the one for me.
Quirky, outrageous, real. . .
The adorable and lovable characters, the narrator, the story. . .
I don't think she has read any other books because I looked for other books narrated by her and couldn't find any.
Bernadette, because she was so real and so quirky and fun.
The structure of the novel was very entertaining. It was linear, but not your typical narration. Kathleen Wilhoite really mastered the individual voices of the characters.
It was hilarious and stressful at the same time. I got great insight into the main characters from their own correspondences. I enjoyed getting different perspectives on the same events.
Bernadette and Bee were my FAVES! Audrey was a runner up.
Bernadette, because this was her story told by everyone experiencing it.
Definitely lived up to the hype.
I was surprised to see this story described as funny or fun. A depressed mother who has become a shut in because of her own anger, immaturity, and inability to deal with loss and perceived failure in her life. A husband completely absorbed in work life, avoiding his home life, who ultimately betrays his wife in a number of ways, even if he could plead ignorance. Arrogant, nasty, manipulative characters that bully her due to their own immaturity and self-serving purposes. I really struggled to find any characters I liked. Maybe I just know too many people like the ones portrayed in this story, but it was a disappointment to me. The mother, daughter relationship is highlighted. They love each other so much and Mom makes life so interesting and fun, and everyone that doesn't get mom is stupid, 'cause she is really great. Bee keeps 100% of the faith in her mother, but really being a little girl, that is all she ultimately is able to do. Prove to her mom that she would go to the moon and back for her. The ending tied up many loose ends, but it was unrealistic to the point I rolled my eyes. The book was concluded much like a little girl would. None of the deeper issues were really addressed "We will just live a normal life now" and "I will just forgive my husband for impregnating another person, an enemy who had been one of those bullies, because I cant imagine being with out him"... and they all lived happily ever after! Really!?!?
Since I'm a Washingtonian I found Bernadette's rantings pretty amusing. Yes, they were extreme at times, but really not so far off the mark. "Can you believe this weather!? Yes, yes I can."
Kathleen did an amazing job with the gnats!
I finally knocked this one off my to-read list and wasn't disappointed. I'm picky about audio books, and Kathleen's performance was excellent. I loved the back stories, especially those regarding Bernadette's architectural projects. It's always fun to listen to a story set in your own geographical area, I think it makes it that much more real.
A mystery told in snippets of a life torn down.
Having a virtual assistant and then finding out this assistant was not as helpful as you thought.
This book surprised me. Most movies and especially sit coms are predictable; I enjoy being surprised.
This book got me hooked on TED talks, which I had never heard of and not see and hear everywhere.
I suffered through the first quarter of the audiobook and then stopped it. The characters are neurotic housewives. Neuroticism is their only dimension, i.e., they are one-dimensional characters. They lack even the second dimension of flat, cardboard characters.
There's no plot. After more than two hours I expect something to happen. Descriptions consist solely of brand names. Several characters work at Microsoft but there's no "ring of truth" suggesting that the author has any idea what it's like to work at Microsoft.
Most annoying is the writing style. It's a mixture of first person narrative (Bee) and e-mails that the adults write to each other. Each e-mail is pages long and reveal personal information one would never share with, for example, an outsourcing agency in India. The author apparently hasn't discovered Twitter or figured out that most people write short e-mails. The author is apparently trying to be funny but I didn't laugh at anything.
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