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Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Contemporary fiction

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

by Maria Semple

Excellent choice

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Quick take

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

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    Quirky

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    Buzzy

  • Illustrated icon, Now_a_Movie

    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.

Member ratings (4,238)

  • Katherine O.

    Philadelphia, PA

    Entertaining story with lots of moving parts that tied up very nicely at the end. Liked that it included some interesting info (architecture, Antarctica) but wasn’t overdone with dense info. 5 stars!

  • Nicole R.

    Columbus, 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!

  • Bri B.

    Tampa, FL

    This story really shows a different point of view on what it’s like to be a woman and a mom. Shining light on the struggles of losing, finding and redefining ones self, there book is truly inspiring

  • Jessica W.

    Weston, FL

    Went into this book knowing nothing, and i was pleasantly surprised about how much i enjoyed it! Forever laughing at the seattle gnats and cherishing the story of Bee and her family antics! Movie next

  • 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!

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Contemporary fiction
View all
The Last Love Note
Anita de Monte Laughs Last
Honey
The Leftover Woman
Interesting Facts about Space
Bye, Baby
Swan Song
The Connellys of County Down
Joe Nuthin’s Guide to Life
Jackpot Summer
Adelaide
The Collected Regrets of Clover
Again and Again
Evil Eye
Black Cake
Maame
Romantic Comedy
Someone Else’s Shoes
Once There Were Wolves
We Are the Brennans
The Bad Muslim Discount
What Comes After
Olga Dies Dreaming
Last Summer at the Golden Hotel
Monster in the Middle
My Dark Vanessa
Nine Perfect Strangers
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany
The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes
Honey Girl
In Every Mirror She's Black
Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?
Sankofa
The Unsinkable Greta James
The Love of My Life
The Five-Star Weekend
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
The Wishing Game
Behold the Dreamers
The Mothers
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
Little Fires Everywhere
The Music Shop
Queenie
Where’d You Go, Bernadette
The Reckless Oath We Made
Dear Edward
When We Were Vikings
The Girl with the Louding Voice
Anxious People
A Good Neighborhood
Big Summer
All Adults Here
Happy & You Know It
Friends and Strangers
The Comeback
True Story
The Last Story of Mina Lee
Troubles in Paradise
White Ivy
This Close to Okay
The Chicken Sisters
The Prophets
The Kindest Lie
In a Book Club Far Away
The Other Black Girl
Apples Never Fall
A Quiet Life
We Are the Light
The Most Likely Club
The Fortunes of Jaded Women
When We Were Bright and Beautiful
The Hotel Nantucket