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Where'd You Go, Bernadette

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  384,629 ratings  ·  37,041 reviews
Bernadette Fox has vanished.

When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry
...more
Hardcover, 330 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company
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  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
    Where'd You Go, Bernadette
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    Release date: Jan 29, 2019
    Her mystery. Their journey. 🕶 Enter to win 1 of 10 copies of WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE - in theaters August 16!

    A misanthropic matriarch leaves her ec
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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    3.90  · 
    Rating details
     ·  384,629 ratings  ·  37,041 reviews


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    Jessica Jeffers
    May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: fiction, favorites
    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, "Bite me, 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 from someone involved with Arrested Development—should I expect any less?

    The first three-fourths of this
    ...more
    Patrick
    Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
    Just found this book in my luggage recently, I read it while traveling a while back, and never got around to recording it here. (This happens a lot...)

    I'm hesitant to assign a star rating here (more hesitant than usual) Not only did I read this months ago, but the genre isn't one that I spend a lot of time reading.

    But where *do* I rank it? I know it didn't anger or disappoint me in any way (I'd remember that) but neither did I feel the need to rush on here and review it, or force it on any of my
    ...more
    Miranda Reads
    People like you must create. If you don't create, Bernadette, you will become a menace to society.
    Oh. My. Gawd. I love this so much.

    Bee Branch, genius daughter of the infamously famous Bernadette Fox, has a puzzle to solve - where in the world is her mother?

    Before her mother went missing, Bee's parents made the dubious promise of buying her whatever she wanted IF she got perfect grades...which she did and she cashed that in for a trip to Antarctica.

    And with the help of an online Indian per
    ...more
    Travis Fortney
    Jun 30, 2012 rated it liked it
    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 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
    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
    Raeleen Lemay
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Fabian
    Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: favorites
    Simply put: READ THIS, or you WILL have a supremely LAME life. This I solemnly swear...

    Yup, this is a total classic--a brilliant novel that the critics have hailed as impossibly LOL fuhu-nny.

    But I simply must add on to this (and this is why this has been the best novel I've read since "The Art of Fielding"): truth is, it will make you cry. Bawl-like-a-baby cry... over the disappearance of this unique individual. Finding her is the main objective in this crazy mixed-media project.

    "Where'd You G
    ...more
    Lormac
    Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
    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
    Richard Derus
    Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
    Pearl Ruled

    2017 UPDATE If you can even imagine such a thing, Richard Linklater is filming this craptastic insult to the word "chick lit"...in PITTSBURGH!!! No, no one'll notice it's not Seattle. It will be in theaters Mother's Day 2018, which is yet another belt in the chops to women everywhere.

    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 disgr
    ...more
    Debra
    Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Laugh out loud comedy about a family in crisis. Bernadette is a quirky,opinionated, likable character. Bernadette disappears one day after her 15 year old daughter aces her report card and wants to claim her promised award: a family trip to Antarctica. The only problem is that Bernadette is agoraphobic and uses her assistant in India to run most of her errands.

    My best advice: READ THIS BOOK! It's hilarious, funny and a welcome relief to books that seem to be similar to other books. This book is
    ...more
    Paige
    Mar 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
    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
    Lola
    Dec 02, 2016 rated it liked it
    Wow, okay. This is not the book I expected to read. The blurb makes it seem like it’s a ‘‘laugh-out-loud-worthy’’ mystery novel about a mother who disappears and a daughter who moves mountains to find her mom.

    Sure, that does happen… in the last 3/4 of the book. Before that, it’s around 250 pages of random, (sometimes) unnecessary e-mail exchanges, some of them between characters that we don’t even care for—at least, I didn’t—as well as numerous anecdotes and mishaps.

    They do somehow contribute to
    ...more
    Annet
    People don't go to Antarctica, they're called to Antarctica...
    I can't quite make my mind up about this funny/weird/sad book all in one. The beginning of the book made me laugh at almost every page, mainly because of the weird 'mum' and her 'matchless' statements and behavior; it also struck me this story is actually a bit sad. Then the whole correspondence between the ladies Soo-Lin and Audrey Griffin, out of this world funny at times, priceless! The last say 40 pages of the book however I lost
    ...more
    Steve
    Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
    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
    Jaidee
    May 29, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
    Recommends it for: people that watch the housewives of bullshit ave.
    1.5 "whatever~~" stars !!


    .Maria Semple is a very clever, clear and concise writer which are all really good attributes....however this book was beyond disappointing.....it was at the upper end of "crap".....two dimensional caricatures behaving so horribly and uncomprehendingly towards each other....each character was more unlikeable than the last not in some interesting and insightful way (the Casual Vacancy comes to mind in its psychological empathic brilliance) but in a way that makes you fear
    ...more
    Rich
    Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    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
    Teodora
    Full review: https://thedacianshewolf.home.blog/20...

    (Quick funny story: after I read how Bernadette had disappeared, my immediate Romanian reaction was: A dispărut ca măgarul în ceață! which literally means ”She disappeared like the donkey in the fog”. Yeah *dubious Romanian piece of wisdom ahem*).

    description

    Now. This is not exactly my type of book, I am not ashamed to admit that I found it boring in some places more than in others and I will not apologise for saying that the writing style was kind of a
    ...more
    Luffy
    Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
    I was overwhelmed by what transpires in the book. So much happens. Pow. Pow. Relentlessly (for most of the book). There is no breathing space, no lull. The story is so domineering that we are caught unawares when the book ends.

    Benadette Fox and her family paint a ludicrous picture of her household. Most of the characters are half mad and Bernadette and her daughter Bee lead the way to Lala Land. Here, more actually, to Antarctica. Hijinks ensues. I do think that Maria Semple was inspired by vari
    ...more
    emma
    THIS IS MY ILLUMINAE.

    By which I mean, “This is Illuminae if I liked Illuminae, and also instead of being set in space it was set in the Pacific Northwest, and also instead of descriptions of camera footage and server readings it was emails and flyers and whatnot, and also it was the present day, and also instead of teeming with unnecessary romance and the same plotlines over and over it was actually funny and entertaining.”

    Basically the only thing it has in common with Illuminae is the unique/fo
    ...more
    Lindsay - Traveling Sister
    3.5 stars.

    Quirky and unforgettable characters with a unique and captivating storyline.

    This novel was a refreshing change of pace from what I have been reading lately. A silly, unpredictable story with eccentric and entertaining characters that had me laughing out loud. I really liked the way the story unfolded through letters, emails, reports and the narrative of Bee, the daughter of the family. Some of the plot overlapped between these points of narration giving a layered look into what was h
    ...more
    Nataliya
    Jun 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: 2014-reads
    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
    Rebbie
    Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: 2017
    4 1/2 magnificent stars!!

    Another fitting name could be: How Bernadette Got Her Groove Back :p

    Bernadette Fox, a wealthy agoraphobe with a teenage daughter and a semi-absentee (emotionally, anyhow) husband, quite literally disappears before taking off on a family trip to Antarctica.

    Oh, how fun it is to dislike the witch on wheels (aka the Gnat), Audrey, who then morphs into a slightly-imbalanced but milder version of Bernadette. In my mind, this makes her downright loveable!

    The character who is t
    ...more
    Meg
    Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
    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
    Julie Christine
    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
    Debbie "DJ"
    Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: own, feel-good
    What a fun read to begin the new year! I resisted reading this for quite some time, as I generally like a deeper read. Yet, right from the beginning the peculiarities of Seattle and Microsoft were sprinkled in through the story. Hmm, I have a Goodreads friend who lived there and worked at Microsoft. Now I know why she's the crazy nut she is (you know who you are.)

    I loved how the story was often told through emails between the characters, interspersed with the main character, a teenage girl name
    ...more
    Isabel Allende
    Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
    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.
    Brenda - Host of Traveling Sisters & Friends
    I read Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple for the Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge that we are participating in our Traveling Friends Goodreads Group. I used it for a “Good as gold: Read a book that won a Goodreads Choice Award”.

    Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a unique, fun and entertaining story that explores the creative side to our quirky, eccentric and endearing main character Bernadette through different documents used in the story. At first, it took me a bit to get into the flow o
    ...more
    Glenn Sumi
    Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
    I wanted the last book I read in 2015 to be special, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette fit the bill, despite the obvious “chicklit” cover. (More on the cover below.)

    The book was sweet but not saccharine, full of darkly funny humour but also a real warmth. And it introduced me to two unforgettable characters: Bernadette, a frustrated, mildly agoraphobic mother and former rising star architect, and Bee, her tiny, precocious daughter who was born with a congenital heart condition.

    Initially I found the
    ...more
    Whitney Atkinson
    Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
    I'm left very confused by this book. I think the main issue here is that I thought this book would be totally different, but regardless, I can't wrap my head around this one. People say it's humorous, but to me, it read like a satire and I was feeling left out by the joke. The "humorous" situations were over the top and insanely dramatic, which felt very fake to me. This book just seemed unreal; I couldn't connect to anyone or anything. I liked the audiobook a lot, but it reminded me of Beauty Q ...more
    Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
    Dropping at 65 pages. I think it’s time that I officially decide books about socialites and suburbs are not for me. The characters are all detestable, and even if we’re supposed to find Bernadette charming in her oddities, she is always spewing racist comments to her “personal assistant”, supposedly a woman in India who she pays 75 cents a day. She’s disgusted by homeless people, presumably because she’s upset they interrupt her otherwise privileged Seattle days. There’s nothing here I’m remotel ...more
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    3,537 followers
    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.

    Semple was born in Santa Monica, California. Her family moved to Spain soon after she was born. There her father, the screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr., wrote the pilot for the television series Batman. The family moved to Los Ange
    ...more
    “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.” 555 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.” 325 likes
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