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Publisher's Summary

Soon to be a major film starring Cate Blanchett

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To Elgie Branch, a Microsoft wunderkind, she's his hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled wife. To fellow mothers at the school gate, she's a menace. To design experts, she's a revolutionary architect. And to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend, and quite simply, mum. Then Bernadette disappears. And Bee must take a trip to the end of the earth to find her.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette is a compulsively readable, irresistibly written, deeply touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's place in the world.

©2012 Maria Semple (P)2012 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

If you like the genre, this is first rate

The primary narrator is a kid (mid teens). Significant parts of the story come in via emails from her mother, and from parents from her school. So I suppose it's partly a family drama and partly teen fiction, and it's an epistolatory novel. There's drama, back stabbing, infedelity and other bad behaviour, but also redemption for everyone - it has a happy ending. If you can stand all of that, this one is the best I've read in a long time. Very nicely done.

The narrator is good and the book is well served by her ability to differentiate accents, ages and tones of voice. I can't help mentioning that her attempt at a kiwi accent made me wince, but then I'm a kiwi and I know the difference. Probably if you come from anywhere else in the world you won't be bothered and it's a very small part of the book anyway. I'm impressed enough by her abilities to have already looked up other books she's narrated.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Funny and enchanting

What did you love best about Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

I loved the description of living in "Microsoft world" some parts made me laugh out loud.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked that the story was written through the eyes of a fifteen year old girl

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

Just has to be Bee

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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What a wonderful book!

Would you consider the audio edition of Where'd You Go, Bernadette to be better than the print version?

The audio version was much more fun than reading it -- the reader(s?) was modulation heaven -- fab

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

I have enjoyed many books but few surface to the top of the list like this one -- Fredrick and Fredirika; Life Expectancy all had Pat Conroy -level images.
This is brilliantly written with meaningful imagry that congured up the scene in fulll technicolor

Any additional comments?

If you are a mother who juggles the frustrations and rewards of life and home and career and creativity -- this is a great listen.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Whacky and Crazy!

Whacky and crazy story.. at times a little disjointed, but all in all a fun listen. I can say that I would rather have downloaded something with a litt more substance.. but hey.. that's how it goes!

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Terrible narration ruined the entire book

I could not even admire the story line the narration was so annoying and badly read the characters came across as imbeciles

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Didn't grab me at all

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

although the narration performance was good, for me this book was a waste of 10 or so hours. The story line imo was very weak and I found it very difficult to concentrate on listening to it. In fact I found myself drifting way off where the story was so boring. Very disappointing. This is the first book that I haven't enjoyed on Audible.

What do you think your next listen will be?

The room

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

no

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

absolutely not

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Entertaining, did not like narrator

Thought this was mildly entertaining, funny in parts, but really disliked the narrator's voice, especially towards the end of the book where she attempted different accents. It was an ok listen overall. Will be interested to see how the movie compares.

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Good story irritating performance

The reader makes Bernadette, a true introvert if ever there was one, sound like a preppy extrovert, all exclamations and gush, especially in her letters.

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slow start and then couldn't stop

After the first little bit I listened to, I wasnt sure I was going to continue but glad I did!

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Such annoying narration it ruined the book

The book is composed of fictional letters, emails and diary entries surrounding the titular character, a severely agoraphobic middle-aged woman. It takes a humorous approach that is utterly destroyed by the children's tv style performance by the reader. The childs voice is particularly grating, and takes most of the liability of the character away.

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  • Jane
  • 06-08-13

Giggles!

Haven't enjoyed a work of fiction so much in a very long time. I was tossing up btw buying the paper book and the audio version and ultimately went with the audio version due to time and space constraints. I'm so glad I did - Kathleen's narration is just brilliant; really brought so much life and energy to an already very funny story. Really really enjoyed it!

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ms K
  • 10-12-18

Narration Lets it Down

A very absorbing and fun story, however I did find the narration irritating after a while.

Kathleen's tendency to say everything in an overexcited and incredulous manner wears thin, it works for some characters but not others. It felt a bit like someone reading a child's book to a toddler, so when a character was feeling stressed or sad it made no sense for them to be sounding so outrageously enthusiastic about everything!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marple
  • 08-12-17

Excellent

If you could sum up Where'd You Go, Bernadette in three words, what would they be?

Funny, insightful and touching.

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

I loved the school pick up and drop off scenes and all the insightful life observations by Bea

Which scene did you most enjoy?

All of them so much going on.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The end without giving anything away.

Any additional comments?

Both story and narrator excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-09-21

What a fun ride!!

Loved this book. It made me laugh cry and want to go to the South Pole. Very different from anything I’ve ever read.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ms. Angela M. Denneny
  • 06-02-20

Alright

Great narration. Good first half but really disappointing second half where everything ends just too nicely. But i guess it was always going to.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • ROBIN
  • 01-25-20

Stupid book to be polite

One of the stupidest book I've ever read. Imbecil characters, silly plot. The narrator did a good job, though.

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  • Andi Wilson
  • 10-24-19

Loved it! An instant Favourite.

This was the best book I read in 2018, and I've recommended it to so many people since. It's so cleverly told and put together. Enjoyed it a lot more than Semple's other books - the style is both witty and endearing. Great characters. A definite recommendation. READ THIS BOOK!

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  • Fee
  • 10-14-19

I loved it!

This was a lovely book, beautifully written and wonderfully narrated. Both author and narrator were new to me but perfect together. It’s humorous, ridiculous, joyous, heartbreaking and clever. And absolutely exactly what I needed in my life this week. Thank you. The narrator was particularly brilliant with the child. I wish it wasn’t over.

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  • Talia Ross
  • 09-04-19

Worth the listen

This book can be a bit slow at times, but it’s worth it in the end. Really good listen while commuting

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • orange kiwi
  • 08-07-19

Very enjoyable

I don't know if listening was the best way to first encounter this book. in the beginning there are lots of fragments from different people and I might have wanted to flip back a few pages to get my bearings again. But once I was into it I was hooked. The story is very good and cleverly told. Towards the end I could not stop listening. And I was sad it was finished, which is always a good sign.

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  • Christine Fletcher
  • 06-10-17

Intriguing. Fabulous performances by readers

The characters were so lovable, though I didn't want to let go & must admit a did feel a bit empty at the finish - but I'm not one for loose ends. The audible version is very cleverly read & I'm pleased I chose this version over the written.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-15-19

I was completely gripped

This book has everything - intrigue, love, comedy, right of passage, relationship and social woes; you name it. Only thing I could say against listening to this story is that the content and performance are so good, you’ll ignore your family and cancel all your appointment to stay immersed in it.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-26-20

Just one thing

A delightful heartfelt story. So much was relatable and it is a bit of a relief that the ‘ghastly’ turned out, well decent! I’ve not read a lot recently where self awareness was allowed. Narcissism tends to be incurable.

The narrator was an excellent up beat teen girl. But if she ever tries an English, Australian or, god help me, New Zealand (really.... what WAS that?) accent again she’ll need cultural sensitivity training. Minor but grating complaint from an Antipodeon.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Lauren
  • 02-22-15

Struggled to finish

Struggled to finish. Narrator was a bit too brash for my liking. Story line wasn't great.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lisa
  • 07-27-20

Things aren't always as they seem

Loved this book as it spiralled into the head of Bernadette and her way of viewing the world.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-27-20

wonderful narrator really fun story

wonderful narrator, such great characterisation and performance. excellent fun story with some genuine unexpected twists and turns

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-10-20

I LOVED this beautiful book

This is an absolutely gorgeous story. Fabulous characters. Perfectly narrated. I wanted it to never end.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Zoe Smith
  • 03-04-19

Really enjoyable

Loved this book. The twist and turns.
Wonderful characters.
Sad it ended. Fabulous listen, highly recommend.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Emma
  • 11-28-18

An enjoyable read

I really enjoyed the style of this book and the performance is excellent. I found it a very enjoyable and easy listen.

....but a word of caution for those who may be so inclined - less than a week after finishing this book I had booked my own trip to Antarctica! Bee and Bernadette provided just the push I needed to fulfil a lifelong dream :)

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs. Agata Iannarella
  • 10-24-16

Love love loved it!

The story and narration are fantastic !
Could not stop listening. Hope to see movie very soon.