Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

A Novel

Book - 2013
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Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she is a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she is a disgrace; to design mavens, she is 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 to Seattle, and people in general, has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the Earth is problematic. To find her mother, Bee compiles e-mail messages, official documents, secret correspondence, creating a touching novel about a family coming to terms with who they are, and the power of a daughter's love for her imperfect mother.
Publisher: New York : Back Bay Books/Little, Brown and Company, 2013
Edition: First Back Bay paperback edition
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9780316204262
Branch Call Number: FIC SEMPLE 2013
Characteristics: 330 pages, 7 pages, 15 pages ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: Where did you go, Bernadette


From Library Staff

A cleverly constructed Internet-age domestic comedy about a wife/mother/genius architect who goes a little nuts from living in that cesspool of perfection and bad weather called Seattle.

List - Books to Movies 2019
Shelf_Talk Feb 22, 2019

Release date: March 22, starring Cate Blanchett.

When brilliant and hilarious architect Bernadette has trouble acclimating to the Seattle culture—to the point of escaping to Antarctica—her daughter Bee is determined to find her and bring her home.

In this satiric novel set in Seattle, written by a former writer for the TV series “Arrested Development,” Bernadette goes missing after some truly uproarious incidents and it’s up to her daughter Bee to find her.

From the critics

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Aug 24, 2020

I didn’t start off liking this book but I must admit the more I read the more it grew on me.

Hillsboro_RobP Jun 08, 2020

Alternatively witty, ridiculous and beautiful, Maria Semple's tale of Bernadette (crazy like a) Fox is a quick and memorable read. The characters have their flaws and personalities comically inflated, including Seattle, and I loved it. Funny stories and stupid emails are laced with excellently crafted lines and tragic moments. If you didn't like this book, I'm not sure what you were looking for.

Apr 22, 2020

This is an awesome read! I really enjoyed the story and how it was told through epistolary style (emails, letters, etc..). This made it interesting to follow along as Bee, the daughter, solves her mother's disappearance.

Apr 10, 2020

This is a quick, sharp, and exciting story with the complexities of family and mother-daughter relationships at its heart. Bernadette and her daughter, Bee, are both strong and engaging protagonists. If you like mysteries, you will enjoy following along with Bee as she discovers who her mother really is, including why—and to where—she has disappeared.

JCLCharlesH Apr 03, 2020

This book was a faced paced, quick witted, character driven romp. Bernadette's snark and Bee's straightforward approach to life combine to make a charming story about communication, passion, and relationships.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple 4.5 out of 5 stars
After years upon years of living the picturesque, domestic life in Seattle’s suburbs, it’s safe to say that agoraphobic Bernadette is nearing a breakdown. So when her daughter, Bee, asks for a trip to Antarctica in return for her perfect grades, Bernadette throws herself into the preparations. But suddenly, Bernadette disappears, and as Bee’s carefully structured life begins to fall apart around her, she is left to put together the pieces of who her imperfect, intelligent mother used to be.
This book is such an amazing blend of genres and themes. Semple seamlessly writes a laugh-out-loud and lighthearted comedy, while also maintaining a very serious narrative about family, and what it’s like to recognize your parents as the flawed, real people that they are. I especially enjoyed the mixed media aspect of this book as well--I found the switching from a first person narrative to an invoice, an email, or a fax, helped make the story engaging, and kept it moving at a quick, but not breakneck pace. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a comedic book with themes of family, suburban life, and coming-of-age.

Mar 13, 2020

I read this book because of a recommendation from a classmate. Although the story was very unique, I was very underwhelmed with the ending of the book (was I missing something)? The events leading up to Bernadette's disappearance were very fascinating, however, and it was really fun piecing together the collections of notes and emails. I'm curious to see how the movie adapted this story.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Jan 26, 2020

Light, fun read full of quirky & eccentric characters.

Dec 17, 2019

I wish I had had a mom like Bernadette! Lucky, lucky, Bee...

Oct 19, 2019

The author is Seattle's own Maria Semple. She uses a myriad of communication formats to move the quirky plot forward.

The theme of the book: "People like you must create. If you don’t create, Bernadette, you will become a menace to society." If this resonates with you, you'll probably enjoy the book.

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Sep 29, 2019

"'You're 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.'" Bernadette Fox, Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Hillsboro_JenniFerg Feb 06, 2019

"Parking in Seattle is an 8 step process." Ha!

M_ALCOTT Jul 30, 2014

" One of the main reasons I don't like leaving the house is because I might find myself face-to-face with a Canadian. Seattle is crawling with them. You probably think, U.S./Canada, they're interchangeable because they're both filled with English-speaking, morbidly obese white people. Well Manjula, you couldn't be more mistaken."-Excerpt from an email Bernadette sent to her virtual assistant Manjula

Jul 07, 2013

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.


Add Age Suitability
Apr 27, 2020

elisabeth_23 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Sep 13, 2015

SRSMITH1991 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Mar 17, 2014

jescar82 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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