Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a novel by author Maria Semple. The story revolves around the life of the infamous Bernadette Fox. She has a happy family life and has a 15-year-old son. Then suddenly Bernadette disappeared. To find his mother, Bee composes emails, letters, and secret documents. This is a touching novel about the genius Bee and finding the lost feelings of mother and daughter.

Here are the top 3 reviews and comments that readers love about this fascinating book.

Review 1: Where’d You Go, Bernadette audiobook by jennifer

Misleading cover contains excellent novel

I expected ‘chick-lit’ because of the cover— I don’t need to read about a red-lipsticked 22 year old discovering herself through a series of cute foibles. I took a leap of faith owing to the abundant praise. I was not disappointed.

It’s a quirky story– a fun story, an unusual story with unusual characters. A young daughter tells the story of her odd mother, father, and the events of a several month period in the uppity community the inhabit. The narrator is also unusual (listen to sample first– might turn you off if you are sensitive to less conventional voices) and does a wonderful job delivering sophisticated themes with the matter-of-fact manner of a child.

Though somewhat dark, the story never becomes melodramatic. The gravitas is cleverly enfolded in humor and the naivete of the narrator (the story’s narrator as well as the performer.) The characters’ questionable choices lead to inevitable consequences which form a web that intertwines wonderfully: A domino effect. Complex and satisfying.

There’s a lot more here than just good entertainment. As for the cover: I have no idea who that spunky young chick is. She doesn’t really fit the description of a younger Bernadette, nor anyone else.

Review 2: Where’d You Go, Bernadette audiobook by Bonny

Makes funny things serious & serious things funny

I resisted reading this book for a while because it didn’t sound like something I would like, but after an impulse purchase from Audible, I was very pleasantly surprised. I won’t recount the plot as others have done that much better than I could, but I think I enjoyed it because it was an entertaining read that also made me think. Many other reviewers seemed to think that Bernadette was a crazy, manipulative whiner, but I found her oddly interesting, especially when parts of her backstory are revealed. Once I understood why she did some of the things she did, I felt she was a compelling character, and I could even see some of myself in her. I hope that doesn’t make me crazy, but I truly think she was responding to what was going on around her, and other characters’ actions in the best way she knew how. Isn’t that what we all try to do?

I think another reviewer captured this book best, “This book is definitely original, in terms of structure and tone, in terms of making funny things serious and serious things funny.” This is exactly what Maria Semple has done, and in doing so she has written a highly original, entertaining, and thought-provoking book, worthy of a solid 4.5 stars.

Review 3: Where’d You Go, Bernadette audiobook by Diana

A little bizarre, but great fun

The gorgeous cover of this book drew me in, but it was the unique plot that kept me hooked. Bernadette Fox is a certified genius in this novel, and author Maria Semple just might be too – in addition to keeping this story fresh and funny, she also has writing credits for the ridiculously wonderful show Arrested Development. Win-win!

And while it took me some time to warm up to Kathleen Wilhoite’s performance – I feared her precocious reading of 15-year-old Bee would last all nine hours – I did get there, and was floored by her beautiful singing voice, which made a surprising (but delightful) appearance late in the story.

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