Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Audiobook Fiction
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 disgrace; to design mavens, she's 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 email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

I listened to this book as an unabridged audio read by Kathleen Wilhoite. Her narration made the book for me and I highly recommend reading it this way, if you can.

Bernadette Day was once an award winning, up and coming architect but an event happened that pretty much destroyed her and now she’s a stay-at-home mom who does a whole of nothing. When her husband was hired on by Microsoft, they relocated to Seattle and bought an old crumbling building and called it home. Bernadette had dreams of fixing it up but never really got around to it. She’s miserable but very close to her young daughter Bee and now lives in a world surrounded by soccer moms who dislike her because she’s not really like them.

And she doesn’t care. She calls them gnats and goes about her life trying her best to avoid them. She’ll gleefully run over their feet and go about her day as if nothing happened.

Or at least that’s the rumor that starts off a shitstorm of trouble for Bernadette and her family.

As my friend Tressa said in her review, this book is delightful. Bernadette and her daughter Bee are unique, interesting characters with great dialogue and they have a true connection. Bee is wise beyond her years and a bit of brat just like her mom and I loved her for it.

This book has funny moments but it’s also about depression and mental illness and what happens to a woman when she’s allowed her talent to lie dying and chooses to sleep-walk through her life. It’s also about neglected relationships and discovering that maybe someone isn’t quite as awful as one assumes when you get to know them a little bit. It only falters a bit for me towards the end when Bernadette’s POV is painfully absent from the story. I felt it dragged on a little too long or maybe I just missed Bernadette’s voice?

The format may be a struggle for some as it’s told in notes, instructions, emails, differing POV’s and memories but the narrator handled it all flawlessly.

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  1. I recently bought this book and am pretty sure I will like it. The author also has a new one coming out which looks interesting. LOVE the Orphan Black gif by the way. It's one of my favorite shows!

    1. I hope you enjoy it. I loved it on audio. Orphan Black is one of my favorites shows too :) So many people haven't heard of it which is a shame. Tatiana Maslany is an amazing actress.

  2. Very nice blog.

    I couldn't get into this book...glad you liked it.

    Thanks for coming by my blog earlier.

    Going to follow by e-mail.

    Have a great rest of the week.


    1. There may be a problem with the SUBMIT button in the Follow By E-mail Section.

      It seems as if it won't register.

      Let me know...thanks.

    2. Hi Elizabeth, not sure what was happening with the email follow. I know blogger wasn't letting me in to my dashboard last night so I'm guessing it was a glitch of some sort. I just tested it with one of my emails and it seems to be working now.

      Thanks for visiting!

    3. Thanks...I tried later and it worked.


    4. Must've been a Blogger glitch. Sorry about that.

  3. Oh that sounds very good and quite unique! Especially the format. I do love when things are told with notes and such, though. Thanks for the heads up!

    1. No problem. I hope you enjoy it, if you get a chance to read it.


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