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Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

December 7, 2012

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Bernadette is a young, innovative architect who won a MacArthur Genius Grant several years ago when she lived in Los Angeles.  Now, she’s living in Seattle and all the creative juices seemed to have been sucked out of her.  She’s become an apathetic introvert who doesn’t fit in.  She’s hired a virtual assistant and is in the middle of an ongoing dispute with a neighbor.  When her fourteen year old daughter, Bee, chooses a family trip to Antarctica as her reward for good grades, it all becomes too much.

When it seems Bernadette has lost touch with reality, her husband, Elgin, schedules an intervention.  Bernadette is appalled at the thought of hospitalization and runs off, rather than giving in.  Bee is devastated and determined to find her mother.  She goes through every memo, note, email, etc. she can find to try to catch up with Bernadette.

The plot of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple might sound a little complicated, but it’s easy to follow, and I found it to be delightful.  Bee is precocious and intelligent and just the kind of young character I love.  She’s almost too smart for her own good, yet she still maintains her youthful innocence.  She’s loyal to her mother and feels the need to defend her.

Told in a somewhat epistolary fashion, this book is pure fun!  Readers get insight to the characters through memos, emails, letters, journal entries, etc. and the plot falls together amazingly easily.  I was hooked from the beginning and read this book quickly because I had to know what happened.

I wasn’t sure how a novel like this would work as an audiobook, but decided to try it anyway.  It’s narrated by Kathleen Wilhoite and she absolutely nails it!!  Her voices and expressions are fantastic and when she broke out in song, I literally had goosebumps.  She was the perfect choice for Where’d You Go, Bernadette – as a matter of fact, I think her narration enhanced it.  The audio is on 9 CDs and last approximately nine and a half hours.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

38 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2012 4:03 am

    This sounds like a book I could read. Thank you for the review 🙂

    Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2012 09:00:50 +0000 To:

  2. talesofwhimsy permalink
    December 7, 2012 6:38 am

    I neeeeed this on audio. GREAT review.

  3. sandynawrot permalink
    December 7, 2012 6:42 am

    I’m all over this one.

  4. December 7, 2012 6:45 am

    I wanted to read this one but now I think I’ll get the audio!

  5. Beth F permalink
    December 7, 2012 6:50 am

    I’m so glad you liked this, I really enjoyed it too. Now I kind of wish I had listened to the audio.

  6. December 7, 2012 7:18 am

    Sounds good Kathy; just got the audio book from the library.

  7. December 7, 2012 7:22 am

    What Sandy said! :–)

  8. December 7, 2012 9:07 am

    I have this on my TBR pile.

  9. December 7, 2012 9:56 am

    Wow! This sounds so good! I need to add this to my TBR list.

  10. December 7, 2012 10:02 am

    I love the video you shared about her pitch! Wonderful! The book is already on my wish list.

  11. December 7, 2012 10:06 am

    I’m always so excited when books are enhanced by their narrators. I wasn’t going to read this book, but now I’ll definitely be giving the audio a try.

  12. December 7, 2012 11:08 am

    Oh I love the video! It’s hilarious. Authors can relate, me included!!! I would love to read this book. It’s going on my TBR list. Thanks for this great review.

  13. December 7, 2012 12:18 pm

    I’d read this book for sure! Bring on the epistolary novel about the misanthropic woman and her teenage daughter–didn’t y’all just love Tom Skerrit?

  14. December 7, 2012 12:26 pm

    I loved the print version of this book. It was definitely a lot of fun to read.

  15. December 7, 2012 2:39 pm

    I have been hearing so many wonderful things about this book. This is one of those that I just HAVE to read!

  16. December 7, 2012 2:40 pm

    I was just reading about this book and logged in and saw your review! It does sound like a fun book. I didn’t know what epistolary meant, but I do now! Thanks for your review.

  17. bookingmama permalink
    December 7, 2012 3:11 pm

    As much as I loved reading this book, you are making me regret not listening to the audio version! Great review.

  18. December 7, 2012 3:32 pm

    Very cool that you liked this one so much! It really hasn’t been on my radar, so I’m going to give it a closer look now.

  19. December 7, 2012 4:19 pm

    I need to read this one. And I’m always amazed how they can make audiobooks work despite some challenges of certain books.

  20. December 7, 2012 5:20 pm

    I can’t imagine a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for good grades. The most I ever got was $20, LOL! Nice review.

  21. swright9 permalink
    December 7, 2012 5:48 pm

    Glad you reviewed this one. I had heard it was good and now I really want to read it. It sounds fun.

  22. December 7, 2012 6:35 pm

    Kathy, this book is pure fun! I really enjoyed it–even if it is an epistolary novel. I think it would be great as an audiobook, too. The trailer is very funny! 🙂

  23. December 7, 2012 6:57 pm

    This one sounds like a lot of fun. I’ve not given it much attention because I didn’t care for Semple’s first book, but this one sounds like enough to coax me into trying again. 🙂 Great review, Kathy!

  24. December 7, 2012 7:34 pm

    I’ve seen this book everywhere but I had no idea what it was about until your review! I think I’ll probably give this book a try!

  25. December 7, 2012 7:57 pm

    This sounds like a fun book to listen to…I may have to check it out!

  26. Patty permalink
    December 7, 2012 8:51 pm

    This one sounds yummy…I love your thoughts about it!

  27. Veens permalink
    December 7, 2012 9:25 pm

    Sounds like s great book. Adding this to my TBR list.

  28. December 7, 2012 11:30 pm

    That video is awesome! I’ve been wanting to read this book but even more so now. Must track down the audio!

  29. December 8, 2012 9:34 am

    I have this, but now I’m tempted to go and track down the audio instead of reading the print. Great review!

  30. December 8, 2012 1:07 pm

    Your review has me deciding to jump on the bandwagon and read, actually listen to this book on audible!!!! Thanks, Kathy!!

  31. December 8, 2012 1:56 pm

    I don’t hear about enough FUN books these days. 🙂 I need to check this one out!

  32. December 9, 2012 8:05 am

    You and the video sold me! I liked the cover before knowing what this book was. Also, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was an epistolary novel and a big hit, so we can hope this one will have the same success!

  33. December 9, 2012 1:36 pm

    This was such a hoot in print. I’m glad to hear it worked well on audio, too!

  34. December 9, 2012 10:01 pm

    I’m glad the aidio was a hit. I hate when I’m one of the few bloggers who are disappointed in a book, like I was with this one 😦

  35. December 10, 2012 10:32 am

    I’m glad the audio worked for you. It sounds like an interesting book.

  36. December 29, 2012 8:43 pm

    I checked this out from the library, but had to return it before I could get to it. Glad you liked it.

  37. January 3, 2013 3:41 pm

    Kathy, I finished reading the print book yesterday. I liked it and now would like to listen to it 🙂

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