Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

Welp, this might be the surprise o'the year. I had absolutely no intention to read Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple because I didn't particularly like her first book, This One is Mine, and the premise didn't really blow my skirt up. But when I found myself out of town with no book to read, I snatched this one up in hopes of a quick, light read.

The first surprise for me is that I actually really enjoyed this book. The second surprise is that it was more impressively written than I expected. First, a quickie synopsis since this one has been ALL over the blogosphere...

Bernadette is a formerly famous and lauded architect with social anxiety issues. When her brilliant daughter, Bee, finishes middle school with all A's, Bernadette and her techie husband find themselves planning a trip to Antarctica as a reward. But Bernadette disappears first...

It doesn't sound like much, but Semple has a real way with smart, snarky humor and satire. Her critique of the helicopter mothers at Bee's private school brought on plenty of laughs, as did Bee's intelligence and insightfulness as she tries to piece together her mother's secrets from before the disappearance. 

I really enjoyed getting to know these characters and learning about their deeper motivations. It's easy to write them off as fluffy or insignificant, but as the story unfolded, I was really impressed by what Semple created here. 

Definitely worth a read!

Pub. Date: April 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Format: Trade Paperback 
ISBN: 9780316204262
Source: Bought it!

35 comments:

  1. I love it when books surprise like that!

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    1. Me too! It doesn't happen nearly often enough.

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  2. I really liked this book as well. I haven't read her other book, but this book hit a soft spot with me.

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    1. Same here! And like I said, I was really surprised. It didn't sound like something I'd enjoy, but I loved the balance of humor and heart string tugging.

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  3. It is the characters that made this book for me. I loved each and every one (albiet in very different ways). Very glad it surprised you!

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    1. Same here! Those snarky gnats and the agoraphobic Bernadette. I laughed a lot at this book but thought it so clever and sensitive, too.

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  4. The audio of this book is also really good.

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    1. That seems to be the consensus! I bet it was a lot of fun.

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  5. I was surprised by this one too! I thought it would just be funny, but the writing had depth.

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    1. Amen sister! Gotta love a book that has it all.

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  6. I've heard such good things about this one -- it's definitely going on my list. Though I must admit I never really paid attention to the plot description . . . just that everyone has loved it!

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    1. Haha! I read enough summaries to think I'd hate it. Bad me!

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  7. I loved this book - the audio is fabulous!

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  8. Glad you enjoyed Bernadette, Andi! I wish I had enjoyed it more. Sadface.

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    1. I wish you had, too! But different strokes for different folks. :D

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  9. Aw dang. I was avoiding this book for the same reason you were avoiding it. Now, I guess I'm going to have to give it a try because it actually does sound rather good. Thanks a lot, Andi. ;P

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    1. LOL, yes, you need to try this one. Methinks it would make you giggle.

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  10. I actually got this in the mail yesterday and I am really looking forward to it. :)

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  11. I listened to the audio of this book and enjoyed it very much. Quirky and at moments laugh out loud and then sad, it was very good. Glad you took the leap and enjoyed it too.

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  12. I didn't even know she had written another book! I couldn't imagine this one could be as good as everyone said, but I really enjoyed it, too.

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  13. I seem to be in the minority from the other comments. I tried to listen to the audio and the narrators voice for the kid was so harsh and shrill that I had to wince every single time it switched voices. I was turning the volume up and down to make it even bearable. I ultimately abandoned it on the middle of no where and listening to silence for over an hour. No radio besides am in the prairie.

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  14. I thoroughly loved this book. It was just plain fun, but well written and eclectic at the same time.

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  15. I loved this book so much! I laughed at all the private school mom shenanigans (the roots!) And then there were penguins. Tough to beat.

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  16. How exciting that you unexpectedly ended up liking this! It's actually one I have no desire to read myself since it doesn't sound like something I like, but it's always wonderful when a book surprises you :)

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  17. I just finished this one too and have not written about it yet. I loved it --- and yet as one very familiar with people with severe mental health issues, I have trouble matching the breezy, funny almost glib tone with the real suffering people with those issues go through. ( I know they can also be among the most brilliant, creative and funny people as well so that works). So subject matter -- a little too clever, a little too happy ending -- even as I like clever happy endings. Some great wit and descriptions.though.

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  18. I'm so glad you wrote about this book because I STILL haven't read it. Now I really really want to. Soon. (I say that a lot, I know...)

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  19. I was pleasantly surprised by this book too! My friend gave it to me, and I expected to dislike it (no real reason), but it ended up being a great read for me. It made me laugh and also have feelings.

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  20. I'm with you Andi, I never thought I'd read this one. And still haven't picked it up. But if it surprised you that much, maybe I should just suck it up and read it.

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  21. I was pleasantly surprised by this book, too. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  22. Yeah I liked this one too, especially for some of the humor. Here are my thoughts on it http://www.thecuecard.com/node/770

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  23. I am so glad to hear you liked this one. You are right, it has been all over the blogosphere but I think mainly lots of good reviews right? I've got the book on my shelves. Will get to it one of these days!

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  24. I put this one off for a long time for the same reason. I definitely found some things to like about Semple's writing in This One Is Mine but I so disliked so much of the story that I just couldn't imagine she'd write something I would want to read.

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  25. I'm glad the book surprised you! I've seen this all over, but haven't felt like I needed to add it to the list. Maybe...

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  26. I must say I love it when books surprise me.

    I have seen this one around a lot lately but I haven't actually been reading many of the reviews. Now that I know a little more about the book, I do believe that this would turn out to be something quite enjoyable for me.

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