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Where'd You Go, Bernadette
     

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

4.1 457
by Maria Semple
 

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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

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Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 457 reviews.
OurBookAddiction More than 1 year ago
What fun this book was! Quick recap of key characters: Bernadette – Award winning architect turned recluse who hides out the days in an airstream camper she had installed by her house so she can avoid the house help. She also has a virtual assistant in India who she hires to basically handle all the day to day duties she has including ordering food, shopping, and planning all the details of their upcoming vacation (at only 75 cents an hour which I confess gave me a momentary idea before I was horrified that I even considered it!). Elgin “Elgie” – Her Microsoft genius husband who really has no clue of the life that exists around him, including his own family. Such an enigma that he thinks it’s totally appropriate to work at the office without his shoes walking around in only his socks…which is probably gross considering how much it rains in Seattle. How cool would it be to be considered such a god that you could walk around funking up the air around the office and no one would dare tell you to put your shoes back on? Balakrishna “Bee” – their daughter who is an extremely intelligent child who is probably the most normal character in the book! The Gnats – What Bernadette calls the other private school moms who are a bunch of self-absorbed and narcissistic women. Their antics constantly had me laughing, while another part of me wanted to poke them in their eyeballs. I actually respected Bernadette a lot for her reserved way of dealing with them instead of giving a karate chop to the neck. Truly a group of 1 percenters as another reviewer described. Money seems to come out of the water faucets for these people. I suspect they might even use dollars as toilet paper. Their reality is unimaginable for the other 99 percent of the population. Yet somehow…I liked Bernadette. Yes she seems like a nut job and the family has no idea how the rest of the world lives, but she is a woman who loves her child. I found it laugh out loud funny throughout. The majority was written in various forms of correspondence format. I was really pulling for Bernadette despite all her flaws (because are we not all flawed? Just in different ways?). I was really pulling for Bernadette and hoping she would be found. As for if she was, you will have to read for yourself to find out. People will probably either love it or not, depending on whether or not you can suspend belief while reading it.
janstan1 More than 1 year ago
I read this as part of an online book club. As such, I was supposed to read it in 4 parts. I couldn't do it. I just kept reading to the end. The author used a style of writing that made me just want to keep reading to find out what came next. It was funny. Some of what the characters experienced was just plain awful(but funny too!) I loved it and would recommend it.
pinklotus More than 1 year ago
Witty, fantastic read. Would love to read a sequel to this! Also, thanks to the reviewer who pointed out that the actual, full-length e-Book isn't buggy like the sample. :)
EmmieSue More than 1 year ago
So you live in Seattle and you totally get all the satirical references to the “Emerald City” lifestyle. On the other hand, you live, say in Austin, Texas, [armadillos, Whole Foods, Dell Computer and Willie Nelson] and you realize that any dream you may have had about traveling to Seattle, perhaps to live there in retirement, just isn’t worth it. Maria Semple’s novel, “Where’d You Go Bernadette,” mercilessly pans the city [and don’t get her started on Canada!]. Upon opening the hardcover book, you will discover that a child is searching for her mother [Bernadette – said title character] and that said child is a student at Galer Street School: “...a place where compassion, academics, and global connectitude join together to create civic-minded citizens of a sustainable and diverse planet.” The first clue that the book will be a humourous treat to read is the redundancy of the words: “...connectitude join together...” In my opinion, it takes a humor writer of the first water to even conceive of such massive redundancy in the second line of her book. Although a careful reader may wonder why the book opens with a child’s report card [said child Surpasses Excellence in all her studies], the answer is not forthcoming until near the end of the book when the answer to the title question begins to make sense. Until then, the reader is taken on an hysterical ride through other people’s e-mail, private notes, hospital bills, magazine articles as well as: REAL-TIME ¿ FLASH reports. Maria Semple gives us an Epistolary Novel – one told as an exchange of letters – the brilliance of her story telling arises as we enjoy our natural tendency to gossip by reading the private – never meant to be seen in public – mail from one person to another. Mail that paints Bernadette’s and her neighbor’s private and devilish feelings in opposition to their public, virtuous, personas. Bernadette’s husband, a Microsoft Star, gave a TEDTalk that every character in the book reports: “...was the fourth-most watched TEDTalk of all time...!!!” And that, dear review readers, is HOW YOU KNOW that the man is a STAR – there are other clues to his star-status but he is SO NICE one must [if one is the author] find a way to stress his stardom. And, in keeping with the humorous tone of the book, it is necessary to refrain from making him a Gold, Silver or Bronze TEDTalker. Likewise, if it was only the fifth-most watched YouTube-TEDTalk of all time, who would care? So fourth-most watched it is. My recommendation: READ THIS BOOK [and since the e-readers who wrote reviews on this site seem to have had a hard time knowing if the page was turned – see other reviewers on this page] READ A HARDCOVER. I DID. AND I’M GLAD.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The bugs in the sample are only in the beginning and are pretty easy to navigate around. Don't let that stop you from reading this, it's very enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funny, realistic, and touching. I could relate to bernadette and the gnats, it had me laughing so hard at times and then crying the next. Loved it,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book; a fun and fast read. The story is told through emails, notes and faxes. If that sounds dry, it's not! Take a chance on this intriguing mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I totally fell in love with this gem of a book. Its a story that's a bit far fetched and the characters a bit over the top, but it is that quirkyness wich ultimately gives it so much heart.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is the second novel by American author and TV writer, Maria Semple. When Bernadette Fox disappears two days before Christmas and a scheduled family trip to Antarctica, her fifteen-year-old daughter, Bee is determined to track her down. She is sure that her dad, Microsoft guru Elgin Branch, knows more than he’s letting on. And she’s convinced that the shouting match with another school-mom, Audrey Griffiths, was the trigger for the disappearance. Bee’s narration of events is interspersed with emails, notes, a school report, letters, bills, blog posts, announcements, journal articles, a poem, an audio transcript and several faxes, each in a different font and format, and all of which fill in the background facts on incidents and characters. Thus the reader learns about Bernadette’s decline from celebrated young architect to socially anxious semi-recluse, Bee’s precarious early childhood and Elgin’s rise to MS fame, as well as what led to Bernadette’s flight and why the FBI got involved. Semple’s characters develop, and not always in an expected manner: one surprisingly discovers a conscience; another disappointingly gives in to temptation; another metamorphoses, perhaps predictably, from small and benign to large and threatening. They are characters that are familiar from everyday life: the fawning admin, the venomous school mom, the hard-working father, the text-book psychiatrist, the excruciatingly enthusiastic fund-raiser. As Bee trails her mom to the ends of the earth, the full gamut of reactions to loss is depicted. This is a hilarious book that nonetheless touches on some topical issues including work/life balance, trust, identity theft, post-traumatic stress and the best way to remove blackberry bushes. Readers may find some parts bring a lump to the throat, but will spend most of this clever novel laughing out loud. 
Ilovemister More than 1 year ago
I don't get it! I bit again based on reviews. Laugh out? I don't think so!!! I kept reading it and in the end and overall it ended ok. This book is only ok. Get it from the library or wait until it sells for $1.99. Reviewers are really screwed up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have no idea what all the hype about this book was about. It was boring and not at all relatable. The only likable character was the daughter and even she got annoying.
LynLO More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a good book, fun to read but I thought the ending was a little wierd and abrupt. But over all a good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where'd You Go, Bernadette is a CLUNKER of a title that is belied by an otherwise swiftly plotted novel peopled with charmingly, humorous, and clever narrators. It's a delightful--and very funny!--read! It concerns the disappearance of famous but reclusive architect, the title's Bernadette, and her precocious and beloved daughter, Bee's, determination to find out where her mother has gone. It's an almost-epistolary novel, but information is revealed in all manner of documents the novel which amounts to a kind of scrapbook of Bee's quest. The book is also very much as send-up of Seattle, but by the end, I thought it was kind of a love letter to the city, too. Snarky on the surface, anything but underneath.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Intriguing story, and interesting use of a contemporary techno-style. I noticed I had a feeling of empathy for all the characters. I thought the end was somewhat abrupt, and with much of the supportive character situations left unfulfilled, or unanswered. I suppose this creates somewhat of a segue for the next book...?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lovwd the characters and plot and how the novel was written i documents and Bee's recollections. It was also funny and a nice happy read, perhaps something to read after Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. Give this book a read- you wont regret it!
Lilly White More than 1 year ago
I loved this novel and read it in two sittings from cover to cover. The author has pin sharp wit and created the best characters I have read in a while. The characters were not simple, flat or perfect. They were complexly flawed and beautiful. I laughed out loud many times so if anyone says this book is not funny or enjoyable they would probably hate a basket of puppies too so disregard their opinions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This one had SO much promise! I loved the creative way that it was written, and it was really hard to put down. I don't have a lot of critical things to say except I feel like she could have taken the plot line way further and made the book GREAT. I felt like there were some dropped story lines that could have been developed, and the ending was a little blah. Overall though it was an intriguing and a fun read.   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't get into this book at all.
CAJ45 More than 1 year ago
I did not read this book I listened to it. I have to say Kathleen did a wonderful job in reading this and Maria wrote a very entertaining book. It was a fun, quick, unique book. I really enjoyed it. I couldn't stop listening. Bee was great she was strong despite having a father who is never home and a very unique mother. She was by far the best and my favorite character. Bernadette was crazy hilarious more on the crazy side and highly entertaining with all the stuff she gets herself into. I had a good time listening to all said incidents. This would have been 5 stars if Bernadette didn't make me so mad at the end. Still it is a worthwhile read and I would recommend for anyone who likes quirky humor with a great cast of characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. It is kind of on the kooky side. It is funny and sad at the same time. The ending really touched me, which doesn't happen very often.
BozoB More than 1 year ago
Traumatized LA architect escapes to Seattle with family, only to fight both her internal demons and a novel culture. Conflicts with her neighbor bring focus to different views of the world. Husband and daughter provide entertaining sidelights. Resolution involves a trip to Antartica.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the worst layout ofan ebook Ihaveeverseen from a book that wasn't free. The publisher should be ashamed. I am going to pick up the print copy from the library to finish it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful read!
Anonymous 8 months ago
At first, I wasn't sure what kind of book this was going to be which is why it was a great read! It was surprising in some ways and the characters felt like genuine people. A great story about family ties!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It kept me hooked till the very end.