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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2012 Maria Semple (P)2012 Hachette Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By jennifer on 01-28-16

Misleading cover contains excellent novel

I expected 'chick-lit' because of the cover--- I don't need to read about a red-lipsticked 22 year old discovering herself through a series of cute foibles. I took a leap of faith owing to the abundant praise. I was not disappointed.

It's a quirky story-- a fun story, an unusual story with unusual characters. A young daughter tells the story of her odd mother, father, and the events of a several month period in the uppity community the inhabit. The narrator is also unusual (listen to sample first-- might turn you off if you are sensitive to less conventional voices) and does a wonderful job delivering sophisticated themes with the matter-of-fact manner of a child.

Though somewhat dark, the story never becomes melodramatic. The gravitas is cleverly enfolded in humor and the naivete of the narrator (the story's narrator as well as the performer.) The characters' questionable choices lead to inevitable consequences which form a web that intertwines wonderfully: A domino effect. Complex and satisfying.

There's a lot more here than just good entertainment. As for the cover: I have no idea who that spunky young chick is. She doesn't really fit the description of a younger Bernadette, nor anyone else.

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136 of 142 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By S on 11-07-12

One of my top 10 listens of the year!

Any additional comments?

Like other reviewers said, there is something about this book that makes you feel like a glowing review somehow doesn't do it justice and can't adequately explain why this book is so entertaining and sweet.

Bernadette is a stifled artist who redirects her genius energy with some odd behavior. Elgin is her genius husband who works a little too much and misses some important goings on in his family. Bee is their daughter, a mix of the two--also genius, humorous and insightful. So, how is it that Bernadette goes missing? Well, that's where this book gets really entertaining.

The story is told through emails, letters and documents compiled into a book by Bee and it's a fun read. All of the characters are well written and Kathleen Wilhoitte does a great job of giving them each a distinct voice. It does take a little time to get used to, as she tends to be a little overexcited as Bee and their neighbor, but I really came to enjoy it by the end. You somehow end up loving and sympathizing with every character, even through their mistakes.

I was sad when this one ended!

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103 of 108 people found this review helpful

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