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Where'd You Go, Bernadette

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  539,490 ratings  ·  46,573 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
Hardcover, 330 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company
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Ian Coutts Worse than a methodist church, nothing at all like the navy. Hope that helps.
Myriam Schärz no, it is so not. in no way. whatsoever
no, it is so not. in no way. whatsoever

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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  539,490 ratings  ·  46,573 reviews

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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 onli
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
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.

2/5 ⭐

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

(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*).


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 an
Maggie Stiefvater
PRO: Made me think about all the time I've spent in Seattle
CON: Made me think about all the time I've spent in Seattle
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
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
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" 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.

Real 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
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-nnny.

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
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
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
May 24, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
im having a very difficult time reconciling what i thought this story would be and what it actually is.

ive ready many books before where the synopsis had given me inaccurate pre-reading impressions, but im usually able to adapt and change my expectations, so im not sure why i was unable to do it with this one.

its probably because i just didnt care for the story. im not really a fan of the narration and presentation of plot through various letters, emails, documents, etc. i honestly thought the
May 29, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 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
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
*May contain mild spoilers*

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is a book about a family living in Seattle, Washington. Bernadette is wife to Elgin (Elgie), and their Daughter Bee is a young teen just out of middle school.

Before moving to Seattle, Bernadette suffered a catastrophic event in her arcitect career that’s totally changed her; she’s become extremely anti social and tends to hide from everyone; she does what she wants, on her own terms, regardless of what anyone thinks; and now o
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
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
Susan's Reviews
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had all of the elements of a great read: funny, insightful, innovative and well written.

I loved the various vehicles the author used to get information out to the reader in an unconventional way. A highly entertaining book with really well drawn characters who will live in your head long after you have turned the last page.

The movie with Cate Blanchett in the role of the mother was amazing, although the movie does depart somewhat from the book. I remember thinking at the time that thi
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
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
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

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
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
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
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
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.
I have had this one on my radar for quite some time. I listened to the first few chapters with my wife several years ago, but I didn’t finish it. I didn’t give much more thought to it until I saw that a movie version of it was coming out. I figured before I watch the movie, I might as well read the book. So, I chose it for one of my book club’s September 2020 selection.

I was entertained, but it was just okay. It is a bizarre, very quirky story. The format is emails and letters, which I was okay
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ha-ha-humour
Shortlisted Women's Prize for Fiction 2013: This TV writer of the likes of Arrested Development and Ellen, produces a masterclass in comedy drama with a highly dysfunctional family of three, dad - a Microsoft superstar, mum Bernadette - a one-time genius architect and daughter Bee… aka.. Balakrishna(!) child prodigy, living in a run-down mansion-like house in Seattle. Bee wants to go to Antarctica, Dad wants to create Microsoft's next big thing and Bernadette is lost and doesn't know what she wa ...more
Will Byrnes
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
What happens when the creative urge is stifled, by others, one’s own mishugas, or both?
Phil Stutz, my guy. And when I say my guy, I mean, the guy who gave me the idea for WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE. He's the one who told me, after whining on the phone to him for an hour about how much I hated my new city of Seattle, "Maria, you're a writer. Writers must write. If you don't write you'll be a menace to society." - from Semple’s FB pages
Bernadette is anti-social, somewhat agoraphobic. Instead of g
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
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple

After her mother's disappearance, 16-year-old Bee Branch gathers correspondence relating to her mother in order to ascertain what has happened to her.

Bee traces the incident back to her perfect report card.

Earlier, Bee's parents had told her she could have anything she wanted if she got a perfect report card for all her years in this school.

Because of this previous promise, Bee convinces her parents, stay at home mother Bernadette, and father Elgin, a g
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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.

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

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