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All booksContemporary fictionWhere'd You Go, Bernadette?
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Contemporary fiction

Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

by Maria Semple

Quick take

A wacky mother-daughter tale that shifts between hilarious and heart-wrenching.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Quirky


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  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NowAMovie

    Now a movie


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 her best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette vanishes. It all 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, and secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and surprisingly touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

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Member thoughts

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All (2580)
Love (1257)
Like (1132)
Dislike (191)
2603 ratings
  • 48% Love
  • 43% Like
  • 7% Dislike
  • West Chester, OH

    I’ve wanted to read this for so long and am glad I finally did! Great plot twists and easy to follow, even with some time jumps. You love some characters, hate others, but they all fit together well!

  • New York, NY

    Excellent well-paced story & satire. Loved all of the casual observations Semple makes about the banality and "important" trivial incidents of everyday life. Keeps you guessing right up until the end!

  • Frederick , MD

    This book was perfect for the anxiety of quarantine. It was light hearted, funny, but also the characters (especially Bernadette) were especially intriguing! I recommended this book to so many people!

  • Omaha, NE

    Movie or book first? I saw the movie first so I had pictures of the characters in my mind. I could’t get in to book until the end when it was different then the movie. I really do like the story.

  • Davenport , FL

    This book was so captivating! I couldnt put it down! Watching the movie after was so much fun.(Though we know the books are always better!! ;)) Bernadette is funny and witty and loving! Recommend!!!!

  • Hot Springs, AR

    Super quick read. Maria kept the reader wondering where Bernadette was and what other disaster she would cause. Ending makes the book very hard to put down. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie!

  • Virginia Beach , VA

    I absolutely love Bernadette! She reminds me of myself in some ways of needing to create! So smart,so witty!I absolutely loved this book! Most likely will read it a couple more times just because!

  • Roanoke, VA

    I really loved this book and loved the relationship Bernadette had with her daughter. I loved the lay out of the book as it was mostly told through correspondence rather than a typical narrative.

  • Leaburg, OR

    Where do I even start? This was brilliantly put together and something I didn’t want to end! I loved the character development that happened naturally through notes and newsletters - BRILLIANT!

  • Saint Joseph, MO

    This book cracked me up and made me tear up too! I LOVED the characters. I like finding books with a different layouts! This is divided into correspondence between characters and a narrative.

  • Atlanta, GA

    I finally got around to reading Where'd you Go, Bernadette and I'm so glad I did. It grabs your attention from the start and keeps you engaged the entire story. I love the way it was written.


    Loved this book! I thought the characters were unique and you were able to root for Bee and Bernadette. The husband absolutely sucked in this movie and so did all of the GNATS. Go Bernadette!!

  • Norfolk, VA

    Loved the absolute absurdity of this book, the characters were so lovable. I loved the way the book alternates between letters, emails, and Bee’s thoughts. Creative, funny, heart warming.

  • bridgewater, MA

    Very interesting approach to story telling, I really enjoyed seeing how the story unfolded through the piecing together of information. very funny and interesting story, I want a sequel!!!

  • Nottingham, MD

    I could not put this book down! It is a super fast paced book with how the author decided to lay it out. I love the way she chose to write it, super clever and different. Highly recommend!

  • Pflugerville, TX

    I LOVED this book. It's just the right amount of quirky. Keeps you interested like a thriller, but from the perspective of a smart young protagonist you can't help but love and relate to.


    Really enjoyed the unique presentation of the book through memos, emails, and such. It was a fun, quirky, quick read. Yet, it still had me filled with suspense about where Bernadette was!

  • Coconut Grove, FL

    So glad I read before the film came out! Quick read with characters you'll root for and despise. Loved the writing style and nearly died laughing at how accurately Seattle was depicted.

  • Atlanta, GA

    I loved the story between Mother and daughter and Bernadette’s resilience. I read this from cover to cover in one day. I could not put it down. Quick read and it gave me all the feels.

  • Tyler, TX

    I loved the writing style of this novel. Piecing everything together through emails and correspondence as thr natrator does herself. Genius! And what a lovable character Bernadette is!

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