Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel (Paperback)
If you like to laugh, you must read Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. When 15 year old Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as her reward for good grades, her agoraphobic mother, Bernadette, throws herself into preparations for the trip. As one disaster follows another, Bernadette disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces. You'll love the book, and you should read it before the movie (starring Cate Blanchette) opens this summer!— Diane Savage
A misanthropic matriarch leaves her eccentric family in crisis when she mysteriously disappears in this "whip-smart and divinely funny" novel that inspired the movie starring Cate Blanchett (New York Times).
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.
About the Author
"The characters in Where'd You Go, Bernadette may be in real emotional pain, but Semple has the wit and perspective and imagination to make their story hilarious. I tore through this book with heedless pleasure."
—Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom
"In her second novel...Semple pieces together a modern-day comic caper full of heart and ingenuity....a compelling composite of a woman's life-and the way she's viewed by the many people who share it. As expected from a writer who has written episodes of Arrested Development, the nuances of mundane interactions are brilliantly captured, and the overarching mystery deepens with each page, until the thoroughly satisfying dénouement."—Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review)
"A shrewd yet compassionate portrait of family dysfunction and the volatility of genius in laugh-out-loud, irresistibly high-spirited prose.... WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTEtakes readers on an original and movingly imaginative adventure."—Catherine Straut, Elle
"Semple, once a writer for Arrested Development, picks apart the mundane interactions of everyday life with a hilarious hand, and you're sure to be as swept up in this witty, inventive mystery as we were."—Emily Temple, Flavorpill
"Utterly delightful....Semple used to write for the revered cult hit Arrested Development, and she brings plenty of squirming comedy to the novel, which manages to be that rare good read that actually makes you feel good at the end. Her send-up of Seattle is hilarious, with its Victims Against Victimhood support groups, moms offering organic gardeners swiss chard in lieu of payment, and teachers who are so PC that fourth graders are expected to seriously debate the pros and cons of the Chinese occupation of Tibet. But the heart of the book belongs to Bee, who, as an admissions counselor puts it, tests off the charts for grit and poise; and her mother, who, for all her neuroses, did a bang-up job of turning out one terrific kid."—Yvonne Zipp, Christian Science Monitor
"If Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl represented the dark heart of the summer literature, Maria Semple's...BERNADETTE embodies the sunnier, funnier side.... Semple has a flair for satire and screwball jinks, and she has produced a great gift to avid readers: a book that you never want to finish reading."—Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald
"An epistolary novel for the twenty-first century.... Paced like a beach read, BERNADETTEhas a scathing wit and a casual storytelling style that pulls the reader in and forces her to listen."—Capital Times' blog
"Stunningly astute.... Beyond its ethnographic value as a snapshot of the underlying hypocrisies of the way the top five percent lives now, WYGB delivers at least one knowing chuckle per page in an innovative structure worthy of its own TED Talk."—Christina Spines, Word & Film