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Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Contemporary fiction

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

by Maria Semple

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Quick take

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

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Quirky

    Quirky

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Puzzle

    Puzzle

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Buzzy

    Buzzy

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NowAMovie

    Now a movie

Synopsis

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 ratings (4,161)

  • Nicole R.

    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!

  • Sara S.

    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!

  • Danielle W.

    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!

  • April D.

    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.

  • Devin N.

    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!!!!

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