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
Enjoyed this more than I expected to. Excellent characters, funny but with complexity. Really nice descriptive writing. All the different voices rang true. Entertaining mystery at the center.
I'm thankful I don't have to listen to her talk or sing anymore. I felt the book took a while to get interesting, the daughter sounded too young and immature for her intellectual capacity and age. I thought she was 8 not 15. Too much was left unfinished at the end. Mehhhhh.
This book has some interesting characters but I feel like it can be summed up as first world drama. I guess it's true to life as I know people like these characters but I personally find these types of people a little irritating, thusly this book was probably not a good pick for me.
I listened to this book on a long drive. It was such an enjoyable listen. The characters were great and the story moved along at a good pace. The narrator was great at performing the many characters in this book.
A chick book.
We read this for book club. It sparked lively and fun conversation.
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.
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