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Where'd You Go, Bernadette

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  339,092 ratings  ·  34,018 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
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Paperback, 326 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Back Bay Books (first published August 14th 2012)
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Ian Coutts Worse than a methodist church, nothing at all like the navy. Hope that helps.

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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  339,092 ratings  ·  34,018 reviews


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Jessica
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Patrick
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 Fox, 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 person
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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
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Ashley
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fabian
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Richard Derus
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
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Debra
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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Lormac
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Paige
Mar 27, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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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
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Steve
Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
Luffy
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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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
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Rebbie
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
Teodora
Feb 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-app
(Quick funny story: after I read how Bernadette had disappeared, my immediat 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 annoying me. But it wasn’t a horrible book, people!

As
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Debbie "DJ"
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feel-good, own
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
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Isabel Allende
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Glenn Sumi
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Suzanne
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Whitney Atkinson
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
Emily B
It took around 75 pages before I started to enjoy this book. Possibly because of the unusual format of emails, reports, narration and letters. However I did get used to it after a while.

The story was entertaining as were most of the characters, however on the whole I could not connect to either.
Oriana
Oct 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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3,152 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. She escaped from Los Angeles and lives with her family in Seattle, where her second novel takes place.
“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.” 533 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.” 314 likes
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