Synopses & Reviews
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 (The 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.
"A compelling composite of a woman's life and the way she's viewed by the many people who share it. A satisfying caper full of heart." Publishers Weekly
"The characters in Where'd You Go, Bernadette may be in real emotional pain, but Semple has the wit and perspective and imagination to make their story hilarious. I tore through this book with heedless pleasure." Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom
"You don't have to know Seattle to get Maria Semple's broadly satirical novel....Underlying the nontraditional narrative are insights into the cost of thwarted creativity and the power of mother-daughter bonds, although a reader may be having too much fun to notice." O, the Oprah Magazine
"A smart, intelligent, nuanced tale whose characters will stick with you long after you finish the last page." The Dallas Morning News
"One of my favorite books of the fall....Delightfully funny...both antic and droll." Los Angeles Times
"Smart [and] entertaining." New York Times Book Review
"Clever, witty and laugh-out-loud funny. And that's a rare and wonderful thing." The Minneapolis Star Tribune
About the Author
Maria Semple's first novel, This One is Mine, was set in Los Angeles, where she also wrote for television shows including Arrested Development, Mad About You, and Ellen. She escaped from Los Angeles and lives with her family in Seattle, where her second novel takes place.