Where'd You Go, Bernadette
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Where'd You Go, Bernadette

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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  124,267 ratings  ·  18,065 reviews
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:...more
Hardcover, 330 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company (first published June 7th 2012)
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Mary I like little or no profanity, so my opinion is that it is medium to high. There were 5-6 F words, and scattered other words. If someone isn't very…moreI like little or no profanity, so my opinion is that it is medium to high. There were 5-6 F words, and scattered other words. If someone isn't very sensitive to hard language, it doesn't really matter how many there are (within reason), does it? If they are, any F word is too much.(less)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jessica Jeffers
Read this for a second time for a new book club, and I loved it just as much as I did the first time.

A douche canoe that I (probably shouldn't have) dated for a couple months a few years ago once told me that I didn't like Glee because I didn't understand satire. I'd like to hand him this book and say, "Suck on it, asshat. This is satire."

I suppose that's an entirely different story. The point is, I loved this book. It's sharp, witty, heartwarming, and entirely entertaining. Of course, it came f...more
Travis Fortney
What we have here is a satirical epistolary novel about a bunch of whiny one percenters in Seattle.

Ms. Semple is sending up Seattle elites, which here seem to be typified by Bernadette's husband Elgie, a granola eating, public transport using, bike riding, Microsoft employee with a genius IQ. She also sets her sights on the students and parents of a Montessori-style preparatory school. I don't feel a particular need to explain what happens, because it's pretty well-traveled stuff.

Where BERNADE...more
Ashley
Dec 08, 2012 Ashley rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Well, let this be a lesson to those who would open their mouths and spew venom into the world. I once wrote very publicly and loudly on this here Goodreads that I could never love a satire -- don't even remember which book I was reviewing*. The point is, this book has made me eat my words. This fucking book, man. I loved it. It's my cheese, my oreo cookie, my soft blanket on a cold winter's night, my let's pack everything up and head out for an adventure because FUCK YEAH WE'RE ALIVE. I'm so gla...more
Steve
I figure my best hope of getting more readers than the Cubs have victories is to mention straight away Maria Semple’s bona fides as a satirist. So here it is: she wrote for Arrested Development. Her talent for skewering plays out well in book form, too, as it turns out. Bernadette, the protagonist, is creative, whip-smart, and now that her daughter, Bee, is past some pretty serious childhood health issues, able to devote herself almost entirely to snarky send-ups. The targets are primarily from...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Pearl Ruled

Rating: 1.6* of five (p97)

The Publisher Says: 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...more
Rich
This book about Seattle "Subaru Parents" describes my life so chillingly accurately that I am now absolved of writing my own book about their Portland-counterparts' bat-shit antics. Favorites: "Suddenly, Audrey Griffin started running toward the car all stiff and out of rhythm. You could just tell she hadn't run in about ten years." -22. "Perhaps because we both went to prep school and Ivy League universities ourselves, we did not fetishize them like other Seattle parents." -43. "Wooowww," Audre...more
Lormac
There is a new genre of contemporary fiction in which believability is thrown out the window in favor of wacky plot machinations, but which is not satire because the emotions of the characters are too real. (See also, "This Is Where I Leave You.")

When her daughter was born with a heart condition which gave her skin a blueish hue, Bernadette Fox named her daughter, Balakrishna Branch, because the Indian God, Krishna, is blue and the name means "child Krishna." Wacky, huh?!! (In case you were wond...more
Meg
This is my favorite book that I have read in a long while. Is five stars sort of ambitious? IT WOULD BE EXCEPT THIS IS MY FAVORITE BOOK I HAVE READ IN A LONG LONG WHILE. So five stars, I don't care, five stars. Oh my gosh I don't even know where to start you guys. It's funny, but that's not just it. It's incredibly well-written, but that's not just it. It's got a really fun structure that is executed really well, but that's not just it, either!

It's just, I feel like this might be one of the bes...more
Paige
Ugh, this book. You see that one star rating? It earned the single star by being mildly engrossing. I know I usually use the word "engrossing" in a positive way, to convey that a book was compelling and interesting, fascinating and exciting. Here I mean that it was just, somehow, able to hold my attention. Not even interest, really, just attention. Somehow. I don't know how. Well I guess this is how: it was entertaining in a way, and it definitely had a certain readability about it. I'm kind of...more
Suzanne
When I first heard about this book, it sounded as though it might be just a story whose main point was to disparage Seattle. But although there is humor in the book that might seem to be at the expense of Seattle in particular, it could have been set any number of places. The main character, Bernardette, does go off on some diatribes, but it’s nothing more than the sort of complaining any urban dweller might do in any number of big cities. The books lampoons institutions such as private schools...more
Nataliya
Even on the busiest call nights at work, the phrase that never fails to grab my attention regardless of whatever else I may be doing is, "I hear you like reading. Have you ever read _____?"

That's how I first heard about Where'd You Go, Bernadette. The call night was painfully slow, the wifi was actually working, the Kindle app on my phone was begging for a free sample which turned out to be hilarious, my brain was headed into the 22nd hour of being awake, and the impulse buy predictably happened...more
Michelle
A fun to read novel, hard to put down, but not totally satisfying. It rattles along at a fast clip, told in the form of emails and reports, about a Seattle family. The locations - Seattle and Antarctica - seem to be as important as the characters.

Bernadette is a stay at home mother who is remarkably anti social. She has no friends and doesn't like leaving the house, hiring an online virtual assistant based in India to carry out very simple chores. Her husband Elgie is a salt of the earth type, b...more
Robert
Bernadette Fox might just be the craziest person I have never met. If she consumed enough “happy” pills to actually become a fully-functioning member of society, she’d end up comatose from an overdose and spend the next six years of her life breathing through a respirator. Calling her eccentric gives Randy Quaid, Charlie Sheen, and Courtney Love a bad name. Or to put it another way, Bernadette Fox makes Adrian Monk look like Tom Brady.

Audrey Griffin needs to be treated with electric shock therap...more
oriana
Feb 01, 2014 oriana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to oriana by: L Magazine
I came home from a lovely late dinner and was heading to the computer because there are so many things I have to do before I go back to work on Wednesday. But I thought first I'd make a quick cup of tea to shore me up, and while the water was boiling I figured I'd just read for a sec—and before I knew it I was on the couch under a comforter eating an entire bag of kettle corn and an hour had passed and I was turning the final pages of this delightful little gem.

About the book: It's a blackish li...more
Hilary
The words “former writer for Arrested Development” are some of the greatest words any author can have in their bio – so great, in fact, that they trump “former writer for Mad About You,” even if they’re in the same sentence. The basic premise – the search for an acerbic rant-prone mother who hates Seattle (and leaving the house) who has mysteriously disappeared (or else it’d be a short search and probably titled something like “Try checking the living room”) – also sounded potentially fun, and i...more
Lisa Vegan
I really loved reading this quirky and hilarious book. It’s a hoot, and I found it so entertaining.

I spent much of the time chortling along, and found most of it delightful. For instance, never could I have imagined that Ps and Bs could be so funny.

Every once in a while, there were short periods when I was afraid it was going to get tedious, and then I’d be caught unawares, many times, laughing so hard.

Like most good humor, there is much poignancy too. The tone did change for a while toward the...more
LeeAnne

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

A delightful, entertaining, fast read. Lots of humor.



This is a character study as well as a hilarious satire about the city of Seattle, gossipy private school moms and Microsoft's corporate culture. Bee’s quest to physically locate her mom parallels her mom's search for her lost identity after she became immersed in being a stay-at-home mom.

What happens to a woman’s sense of self when it was based on a successful career she no longer has the time for? Who is she witho...more
Michael
I found this a fair dose of escapist fare on the level of TV situation comedies, which the author also has written for. In the past I enjoyed “All in the Family” and “Seinfeld”, but haven’t been drawn to others since. Just my personal taste in humor to crave something with more lingering bite or really over-the-top.

I can’t deny the cleverness of some of the situations in this tale set among the one-percenters in Seattle. For example, Bernadette’s outsourcing of the management of her household t...more
Leila
This book is a gem. The main character Bernadette is intensely appealing to me; she is rapier sharp witted, the humor is irascible yet fundamentally true, and there is an on going schism between whether her supposedly eccentric, anxiety ridden take on life is "crazy" or so scarily accurate that it is the rest of the world that is crazy & not her. This book unfolds with a series of hilarious emails from the assorted characters peopling Bernadette's life; from the intrusive, managing neighbor...more
Jessica
Where'd You Go, Bernadette was wickedly funny. Who is Bernadette? Well, I think this part of the book's synopsis/blurb sums her up perfectly:

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.

Bernadette is, quite simply, just Bernadette. She's a fantastically funny character...more
Isabel Allende
Where'd you go Bernardette, by Maria Semple is simple a riot of a
book. I laughed so uncontrollably in the plane that some passengers
complained. A Seattle teenage girl tells the story of how and why her
eccentric mother, who has alienated everybody around her, including
her Microsoft geek of a husband, ends up lost in Antarctica. Not to
miss if you need to get over a bout of depression.
Jr Bacdayan
I can't remember what year it was but I remember being really sad when Steve Irwin died. I can still picture that smug Australian smile painted on the face of a guy wrestling with a crocodile. What is it with him and crocodiles? At least, I know what's with him and stingrays. But really, killed by a stingray? I couldn't believe it. But then again, there were lots of things I couldn't believe back then. I'm pretty sure I didn't believe in goodreads back then, or Obama, or glee. If you would've to...more
Sarah
When Bee gets a perfect report card, she reminds her parents that they promised her anything she wanted: and what she wants is a family trip to Antarctica. Thus begins this quirky novel about precocious Bee, her Microsoft-engineer and TED-star father, and her eccentric, misanthropic mother Bernadette. Bernadette was once a promising architect, the recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, but has become a recluse in Seattle, a city she hates, depending on a virtual assistant in India to do even t...more
Doug Bradshaw
Where’d You Go Bernadette?

I can picture the author bothered, at least wanting to make a statement about the little life nuances of living in Seattle with the affect of Microsoft and its 100,000 employees, Starbucks, the rain, the mountains, the ocean and the tight behavior of the main population who loves a certain type of craftsman style homes, the idiosyncrasies of all the little sacrifices living there from a multitude of bums and beggars, outdoorsy type earth muffins, the Canadian influence,...more
Madeline
I always seem to pick up Bandwagon Books (as I call them) about two years after everyone has stopped talking about them. A few weeks ago, when I was contemplating my library hold list, I vaguely remembered hearing good things about Where'd You Go, Bernadette, and decided to give it a try. Apparently everyone else who patronizes my library had the same thought, because it took three months for the book to work its way down the hold list to me, but eventually I got it. I ripped through the book in...more
Julie
I wasn’t planning to crack the cover of Where’d You Go, Bernadette. In fact, I actively resisted reading 2012’s sleeper hit. It has all the makings of something that would send me searching for that elusive “dislike” button. Social satire: Ugh. Chick lit affect (entirely and unfairly due to cover art): Ugh Ugh. Epistolary format with multiple points-of-view (tricksy, metafiction, “I’m a WRITAH” stuff): Ugh Ugh Ugh. Spoofy, anti-Seattle drivel penned by interloper from Southern California (haven’...more
Edan
This was a truly pleasurable read. I zipped through it in a few days, and whenever I wasn't reading it, I wanted to be doing so.

I laughed and I laughed as I read this, but I also found it be quite moving and thought-provoking. I really disliked Bernadette in the first 20 pages, in particular for how she addressed her "virtual assistant" in India, and at first I thought, "Oh God. Private school white people! I hate private school white people!" (Sorry--must be my LAUSD defensiveness and pride gr...more
Diane S.
What an absolutely original, inventive and humorous novel, I can't remember the last time I read a novel that caused me to laugh out loud. Bernadette is a definite original, someone I wish I knew in real life. Yet, there are poignant moments, serious self realizations come to the surface and her daughter Bee is an absolute delight as well. Who knew you could form complete characters from e-mails, letters etc. yet in this book Semple does it and does it well. Definitely recommend.
Stacia
Dec 14, 2012 Stacia rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
As far as the book.... Well, I say... meh. I finished it today. It was ok. As I've said before, chick lit is not really my genre, but this looked like it could be a fun book so I thought I'd give it a try. It might be better than some chick lit out there (I don't have much experience to compare it against), but imo it got a bit tedious reading most of the book in the style of letters, emails, reports, yada, yada.... Plus, the writing style of one of the characters in the book was extremely annoy...more
Sherry H
This isn't the type of book I EVER would have picked up without a little convincing. But a couple of my GR friends, whose opinions I always trust, recently wrote glowing reviews of this book. And my brilliant friends were exactly right - what a gem!

From the beginning, we know that Bernadette is crazy - not just "say inappropriate things" crazy, or "take your child on vacation to Antarctica" crazy, but "involuntarily committed to a mental hospital" crazy. Through a series of articles, emails, sch...more
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Maria Semple's first novel, This One is Mine, was set in Los Angeles, where she also wrote for television shows including Arrested Development, Mad About You, and Ellen. She escaped from Los Angeles and lives with her family in Seattle, where her second novel takes place.
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This One is Mine

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“That's right,' she told the girls. 'You are bored. And I'm going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it's boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it's on you to make life interesting, the better off you'll be.” 250 likes
“My heart started racing, not the bad kind of heart racing, like I'm going to die. But the good kind of heart racing, like, Hello, can I help you with something? If not, please step aside because I'm about to kick the shit out of life.” 172 likes
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