A misanthropic matriarch leaves her eccentric family in crisis when she mysteriously disappears in this "whip-smart and divinely funny" novel that inspired the movie starring Cate Blanchett (New York Times). 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 her best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette vanishes. It all 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, and secret correspondence -- creating a compulsively readable and surprisingly touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.
- ISBN-13: 9780316204262
- ISBN-10: 0316204269
- Publisher: Back Bay Books
- Publish Date: April 2013
- Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds
- Page Count: 330
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TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS
The story of a mother who pulls an unexpected disappearing act, Maria Semple’s second novel, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, is a charmer from start to finish. Bernadette is disgruntled with the politically correct Seattle lifestyle she and her family became a part of when they left Los Angeles. Although life is good—her computer-whiz husband, Elgin, works at Microsoft, and their daughter, Bee, excels in school—Bernadette retreats from everyday existence. Unbeknownst to her family, she uses an online personal assistant, who takes care of her daily tasks—and listens to her complaints. When Bernadette disappears, Bee is left to piece together her story, and the book unfolds through the emails, magazine pieces and police reports she gathers. In Semple’s hands, this narrative approach feels wonderfully original. Semple, who spent 15 years as a writer for TV shows, including “Arrested Development,” is a gifted novelist who brings warmth, humor and a sly intelligence to this tale of maternal angst.