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February 8, 2014

Where'd You Go, Bernadette



Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Marie Semple
Fiction
2012 Hachette Audio
Reader: Kathleen Wilhoite
Finished on 11/17/13
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)




Author’s Blurb:

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 a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It 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, secret correspondence – creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a daughter’s unflinching love for her imperfect mother.

I love epistolary novels and I wish I had taken the time to peruse the print edition of this novel rather than jumping right into the audio version when it appeared in my library queue. Listening to every detail of an email, fax, memo, police report and TED talk becomes tedious and interrupts the flow of the narrative; after all, most people skim right over those aspects of a printed document.

However, Bernadette’s rants about the Pacific Northwest (and Microsoft) are hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud, thankful that I was at work, pretty much alone, although I do recall the cleaning lady giving me strange looks every once in a while. ;)

Final Thoughts:

While I enjoyed Semple’s snarky humor, this quirky novel was a bit too annoying (and even sad) at times and in the end turned out to be a “meh” read. Good, but not great.

14 comments:

  1. I loved the audio of this one even though it was epistolary. When the narrator sang, I got goosebumps.

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    1. I forgot all about the singing. I still think this would've been better in print, at least for me. I do love epistolary novels!

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  2. Oh dear, now I'm second guessing my decision to give it away for World Book Night 2014. I should have read it first, it just seemed like such a popular novel at the time I chose that I thought it would be good to give away. Now I'll be reading it myself, but I'm sure I'll concur with your opinion. We generally find the same things heartbreaking.

    (Am really enjoying Iron Lake. Such a good time to be reading such a wintry book. Also, can't wait for Emily, Alone. You're the best,)

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    1. I wouldn't worry too much, Bellezza. There are a lot of readers who loved this book.

      I'm enjoying Iron Lake, but it seems to have slowed down a bit and I'm eager to sit down and read for an hour or two. I never do well with books if I only read them in fits and spurts.

      Hope you enjoy Emily, Alone. I thought it was wonderful.

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    2. "Slowed down a bit" to be sure! How about practically a full stop? I was all interested in what happened to Paul, who was hiding in the judge's house and now it's all about Windigos and marriage. Pardon me while I go take a nap...

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    3. Haha! Glad we're on the same page, so to speak. It isn't exactly a thriller, is it? If we weren't reading it together, I probably would have called it quits by now. But I'm halfway in and hate to quit at this point.

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  3. I bought this at Christmas in print. I might reread it in audio if I really like it, but I decided to go print for the first read-through. It was kind of a hard decision, though.

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    1. I think print is the way to go with this book, Kailana. Hope you enjoy it!

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  4. I read this one in print and really enjoyed it, the first part in particular. It did make a great book club choice, lots to talk about.

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    1. I can see how this would make for a good book club selection. Glad you enjoyed it! I think the first part of the book was what I liked best, too.

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  5. I liked this in print, but have a hard time imagining how it would translate to audio.

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    1. I really need to learn to take a look at the print editions of books before I listen to the audio. I had no idea it was an epistolary until I was well into the audio.

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  6. Sorry this one didn't totally flip your switch. I think I had an overzealous reaction to it (maybe) because I was so surprised that I liked it. I did not like her first book at all, so I was tickled to enjoy this one.

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    1. I wish I had read this in the print format! I think I would've enjoyed it so much better. Oh, well.

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