Where'd You Go, Bernadette

A Novel
Semple, Maria (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Item Details

To her Microsoft-guru husband, Bernadette'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 her 15-year-old, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears.
Authors: Semple, Maria
Statement of Responsibility: Maria Semple
Title: Where'd you go, Bernadette
a novel
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 330 p. ; 25 cm.
Summary: To her Microsoft-guru husband, Bernadette'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 her 15-year-old, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears.
Subject Headings: Women architects Washington (State) Seattle Fiction Missing persons Fiction Phobias Fiction Antarctica Fiction Mothers and daughters Fiction
Genre/Form: Domestic fiction
Topical Term: Women architects
Missing persons
Mothers and daughters
Alternate Title: Where did you go, Bernadette
LCCN: 2011040639
ISBN: 9780316204279
Branch Call Number: FIC S
Research Call Number: JFE 12-6705
MARC Display»

From the critics

Library Staff

Bee's crazy, genius Mom goes missing and Bee decides to go find her.

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"As a reward for her academic achievements, eighth-grader Bee Branch has been promised a trip to Antarctica (Bee's choice) by her parents, tech guru Elgin Branch and architect Bernadette Fox. However, Bee's dream soon becomes a nightmare when Bernadette -- whose creative genius is outstripped only by her social anxiety and agoraphobia -- disappears. Bee's efforts to recover her mother involve the compilation of the emails, faxes, official documents, and letters that form the basis of this delightful, charming, witty novel." Fiction A to Z July 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/b4f6ee64-db77-4e52-b8b4-047c4a840df7?postId=68a5ce8f-6d53-453a-a4fa-045bd063b705

Brilliantly funny, highly engaging. This novel was so enjoyable to read that I didn't even bother skipping ahead.

Apr 24, 2014
  • ssn1205 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Truly enjoyed this novel, especially the many references to the Pacific NW. Bernadette was a wonderful character as were her "antagonists". Great read!

Apr 24, 2014
  • multcolib_alisonk rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

If you enjoy stories where you get a chance to see a story from many perspectives; if you like a strong sense of place; and if you enjoy quirky people trying to slot themselves into everyday life, this is the book for you.

Apr 17, 2014
  • Cynthia_N rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Bernadette is quite the odd woman and so is this book. It is a fun and fast read.

Mar 06, 2014
  • madison382 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

If you are looking for a deep book, this is not the one. I enjoyed it because it was funny and light.

Feb 13, 2014
  • kisamos rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Surprised by all the hype this book got. It is mediocre writing at best and the story is just plain goofy. Its one redeeming factor is that it is about Seattle for those who value that. Otherwise, save your brain cells for something that has more to offer.

Jan 24, 2014
  • jescar82 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Enjoyed this book! What a fun and quick litlte read, would recommend it.

Jan 13, 2014
  • Edgarmole rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The author is a writer for TV who relocated to Seattle from LA, and I have the feeling she must have taken a cruise to Antarctica at some point. So there she sat with all her photos, diary entries, and snarky opinions about Seattle culture, thinking: is there some way I can work this all into a book? Maybe not, but it feels like that's what she did. In any case, it's a zany social satire with a gimmicky plot and some poignant moments. There are a lot of in-jokes that people unfamiliar with Seattle might not get. The style is chatty and some farcical elements are over the top, e.g. Victims Against Victimhood meetings, but the book is held together by interesting characters who suffer crises they brought on themselves despite having (mostly) good intentions. And I LOVED the blow by blow transcript of Elgin Branch's TED talk, which caught the feeling and the excitement of a TED talk exactly!
Though the book speeds along like a madcap TV show, a number of serious themes are slipped in: how gifted children should be educated, the love/hate reactions people have toward geniuses (and which geniuses sometimes have toward themselves), creative work versus personal life, and the compromises and self-acceptance that make marriages work.
Bernadette (Saint Bernadette was a historical figure said to have had 18 visions) is a very creative architect who did two splendid projects, then after a major professional disappointment, she goes into an Adrian Monk phase. She and her husband move into a crumbling old building that she wanted to renovate, then she has four miscarriages and finally a baby with a heart defect who lives. Bernadette appeals to the universe, saying, "I'll renounce my other sixteen visions if you'll keep my baby alive." Throughout all her depression and crazy behavior, she remains a great mom to her daughter, and that's what convinces Bee that her mom would never have chosen death; she loved her daughter too much to do that. And at the end it's Bee who succeeds in finding out where Bernadette has gone.

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Mar 17, 2014
  • jescar82 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

jescar82 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Jul 07, 2013
  • darcerama rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Chihulys are the pigeons of Seattle. They're everywhere, and even if they don't get in your way, you can't help but build up a kind of antipathy toward them. --Page 162, paperback edition.


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A Summer Satire: Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Wall Street Journal interview with Maria Semple on Where'd You Go, Bernadette.

Mar 03, 2014
  • lilmisslibrary rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Book Trailer for Where'd You Go Bernadette

Hachette Australia Books book trailer

Maria Semple pitches "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" to Seattle book folk

Super cute book trailer of author pitching her new book to Seattle booksellers, plus Tom Skerritt!

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