Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

November 11, 2014 5 stars, Book Review 9 ★★★★★

Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria SempleWhere'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Published by Little Brown and Company on August 14, 2012
Genres: Comedy, Contemporary
Pages: 330
Source: Purchased

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 mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.


I picked Where’d You Go, Bernadette up as it is our October Stonecreek Book Club book, and it is in an area I haven’t read a book in for years. Regular fiction.  Whoa!

I absolutely adored this book. It is in the contending spot for favorite book of the year. If I could, I would have given it 5.5 stars! It was just so different, well written, funny and engaging!

Our main narrator is Balakrishna, AKA Bee, the daughter of Bernadette and Elgie. They live in Seattle and Bee attends a private school where her mother is the odd parent out. As a stepparent of 2 boys who went through the catholic school system I really felt entertained and engaged by the accurate descriptions of the parent types you find in private school. The over volunteer parent, who tries to shame anyone not as participatory as she is was my favorite! The descriptions of how gossip flows, and the catty attitudes are simply hilarious. And all too true. The beginning of the book is a mixture of emails, school notices mixed with a few blurbs from Bee.  It is an interesting way to grow the story and I found it to be very engaging. I couldn’t wait to see what came up next!

As you travel through the book, it is impossible not to be caught up in the story as it unfolds. As a stay-at-home mom like Bernadette, I understood her completely. It is so easy to get sucked into a small world where minor things become huge issues. The crazy part is that you know it is happening and it takes a Herculean effort to change.  It is so easy to believe this is a true story.

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When not taking care of my two children, husband and mini doxy, rushing here and there on the go, I can always be found reading. Fantasy of course being my favorite genre, but not the only I'll read. Oh yes, and I throw bad books.

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9 Responses to “Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple”

  1. Alise

    Haven’t heard of this one but I have to admit I’m intrigued by that summary, it’s definitely unique. Sounds like it really hooks you in, and I love a book that you can get lost in. I don’t really check out regular fiction much either but this sounds great!