Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

A Novel

Paperback - 2013
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When her notorious, hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled, and agoraphobic mother goes missing, teenage Bee begins a trip that takes her to the ends of the earth to find her.
Publisher: New York : Back Bay Books, 2013.
Edition: First Back Bay paperback edition.
ISBN: 9780316204262
Characteristics: 330, 7 p. ; 21 cm.
Alternative Title: Where did you go, Bernadette


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Daytime Book Group: Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

Our next book will be Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.  Bernadette Fox is an innovative architect, caring partner and best friend/mother to her daughter.  But life in Seattle is getting too hard for her.  When Bernadette disappears, her daughter compiles everything she can get her hands on to help find her mother. (more)

From Library Staff

A screwball satire that follows its characters to the ends of the earth. Perfect for anyone looking for a lighter read.

From the critics

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Aug 07, 2019

This was so good! I wanted to read it because I saw the previews for the upcoming movie and I don’t think reading it ahead of the movie will ruin seeing it- if anything, I am even more excited to see it now!

Jul 26, 2019

I don't really like books that are in a format where what you are reading are emails, post-it notes, reports and the like. I found I skipped over lots of parts and maybe missed some details because of it. That said, I did read it until the end, so it was an entertaining story-line. Interesting characters.

Jul 06, 2019

Enjoyable froth. I giggled out loud here and there. It tried for some depth at times, but it should have just embraced what it was: a witty, biting Desperate Housewives send-up.

TSCPL_Miranda Jul 01, 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It made me laugh, and it was so hard to put it aside once I'd started. Bernadette Fox's story is told through emails, letters, and articles written by a variety of people, gradually painting the picture of a gifted, unique individual from multiple perspectives. Just when you think you have Bernadette all figured out, she'll surprise you. Is she a recluse? A mad genius? A terrible mother? A wonderful mother? What happened in California? One thing is certain, she's scathing, and hilarious. The action of the story is framed around a family trip to Antarctica, requested by daughter Bee to mark her 8th grade graduation with all A's. Bernadette can't deny the girl her wish, but the stress of planning the trip takes its toll, and when several personal conflicts and an unexpected betrayal combine to drive Bernadette over the edge, she disappears. Sift through the clues, join the search, and above all enjoy the ride in this fun, unforgettable story.

Gina_Vee Jun 18, 2019

This was a quick read because it was suspenseful. At first, I was a little fuzzy on the storyline, but I like books you may have to go back to to fully grasp what's happened in the story. I'm excited to see what they do with the movie coming out!

Jun 02, 2019

TBernadette is someone you want to know more about from the get-go. She’s an artistic innovative architect who used upcycled/recycled building materials before it was “done”. Throughout this story she pushes back against entitled elitism, unveiling the humor inherent in this attitude when you step back and look at it from her perspective.

Her daughter, Bee, is a funny quirky kid who is sharp as a tack and has the personality traits she does from exposure to the bright, creative adults who raised her. Elgin, Bernadette’s husband, from outside observation appears to be loving but distant and distracted by his own creative work in the high tech field. Will he snap out of his creative fog to reprioritize work and family to help Bee to rescue or to mourn her mother?

The character’s back story, their “why” motivation layers are slowly teasingly peeled back through a magazine article interview from years ago. As events take shape, you feel in your heart that the ultimate outcome will not go well. Then you, as reader, wait with tempered glee to see what the author will do with the impending coming together of this sequence of events.

Kathleen Wilhoite, the reader, adjusts her speech inflection and delivery speed well to differentiate between the characters. It’s very easy to follow who is expressing or thinking thoughts throughout the book. The author expertly shifts from one to the other character’s perspective on the events as they unfold.

I feel like I know these people! For better or worse…I know them for their snarky remarks and funny observations. The characters recognized the ridiculous actions/situations as they occurred and reacted (internally or externally) in a manner appropriate to the situation. I respect the character’s ability to respond to other’s harsh comments in a way to stand up for themselves by flipping the instigator’s rudeness on it’s head. This book ends differently than I anticipated and I was glad for that. The author kept me guessing to the end. Nicely done…

May 30, 2019

I read this book soon after it was released, and just recently listened to the audiobook. I was surprised how much I'd forgotten (which says more about my memory than the book). A good social satire, enjoyable characters, especially the lovely young protagonist. It will be interesting to see if a movie can do justice to it.

Apr 17, 2019

Wasn't sure I was a fan of the letter-format this book takes. The ending really brought it home, though.

Mar 15, 2019

Bob's wife says: I saw the movie trailer and thought it looked great so I decided to give the book a try. Normally I love these send-ups of people who have more money than brains but this one just irritated me. The more Bernadette rambled, the more I disliked her. The kid was sweet though.

Feb 12, 2019

Easy, fast read. The first half was intriguing and hard to put down. The correspondence and different points of view enhanced the already lively story. I read the first half in one sitting. As a mother, the first half was so relatable - on a larger scale, but still relatable. The second half was a little slower, not as exciting, but amusing. It is definitely one to read when needing a pick-me-up or just an easy read. Witty and funny. I will recommend to friends.

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Hillsboro_JenniFerg Feb 06, 2019

"Parking in Seattle is an 8 step process." Ha!

M_ALCOTT Jul 30, 2014

" One of the main reasons I don't like leaving the house is because I might find myself face-to-face with a Canadian. Seattle is crawling with them. You probably think, U.S./Canada, they're interchangeable because they're both filled with English-speaking, morbidly obese white people. Well Manjula, you couldn't be more mistaken."-Excerpt from an email Bernadette sent to her virtual assistant Manjula

Jul 07, 2013

Chihulys are the pigeons of Seattle. They're everywhere, and even if they don't get in your way, you can't help but build up a kind of antipathy toward them. --Page 162, paperback edition.


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Sep 13, 2015

SRSMITH1991 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Mar 17, 2014

jescar82 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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