Listen free for 30 days

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £24.99

Buy Now for £24.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Soon to be a major film starring Cate Blanchett

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To Elgie Branch, a Microsoft wunderkind, she's his hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled wife. To fellow mothers at the school gate, she's a menace. To design experts, she's a revolutionary architect. And to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend, and quite simply, mum. Then Bernadette disappears. And Bee must take a trip to the end of the earth to find her.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette is a compulsively readable, irresistibly written, deeply touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's place in the world.

©2012 Maria Semple (P)2012 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    145
  • 4 Stars
    112
  • 3 Stars
    50
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    6
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    157
  • 4 Stars
    74
  • 3 Stars
    38
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    7
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    130
  • 4 Stars
    98
  • 3 Stars
    38
  • 2 Stars
    17
  • 1 Stars
    7

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Giggles!

Haven't enjoyed a work of fiction so much in a very long time. I was tossing up btw buying the paper book and the audio version and ultimately went with the audio version due to time and space constraints. I'm so glad I did - Kathleen's narration is just brilliant; really brought so much life and energy to an already very funny story. Really really enjoyed it!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Narration Lets it Down

A very absorbing and fun story, however I did find the narration irritating after a while.

Kathleen's tendency to say everything in an overexcited and incredulous manner wears thin, it works for some characters but not others. It felt a bit like someone reading a child's book to a toddler, so when a character was feeling stressed or sad it made no sense for them to be sounding so outrageously enthusiastic about everything!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

If you could sum up Where'd You Go, Bernadette in three words, what would they be?

Funny, insightful and touching.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

I loved the school pick up and drop off scenes and all the insightful life observations by Bea

Which scene did you most enjoy?

All of them so much going on.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The end without giving anything away.

Any additional comments?

Both story and narrator excellent.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Enthralling listen!

Captivating story. Really enjoyable! Could not stop listening till I got to the end.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Awful

This is possibly the worst book I have ever listened to on audible. The story was ridiculous, far-fetched and made no sense much of the time. The narration was terrible and the narrator needs to practice their accents! I understand there are plans to turn this into a television production. I cannot see how there is any substance to the story to make this enticing for television viewing. The only good news is I can now start a new book!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

an enjoyable light weekend book

just enough intrigue to keep you interested without it being too taxing. Perfect summers weekend, a light enjoyable book in the garden.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Really enjoyable

Once you get used to the narrators voice which is pretty high pitched, this book is a must.
The accents are appalling but try to not mind as it’s at a really exciting part of the story.

Well worth a listen

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great characterisation with ambling storyline

Great characterisation and I enjoyed the layout of the book but I found the storyline very ambling. Enjoyable and worth reading purely for the hilarity of the characters. Well read although the New Zealand accent was very patchy.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very enjoyable

Enjoyed how the story unravelled through the accounts of different people, and how your understanding of the characters grew as information layered.
The narrator is great and added to the humour, I’ll be looking for more audio books read by her.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Waaaaaaayyyyy too many details

The narrator is really excited about it and makes all kinds of voices.
The book is fun but doesn’t need all these chapters. The editors should have cleaned up a bit more.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Valerie
  • Valerie
  • 21-08-12

If you like the genre, this is first rate

The primary narrator is a kid (mid teens). Significant parts of the story come in via emails from her mother, and from parents from her school. So I suppose it's partly a family drama and partly teen fiction, and it's an epistolatory novel. There's drama, back stabbing, infedelity and other bad behaviour, but also redemption for everyone - it has a happy ending. If you can stand all of that, this one is the best I've read in a long time. Very nicely done.

The narrator is good and the book is well served by her ability to differentiate accents, ages and tones of voice. I can't help mentioning that her attempt at a kiwi accent made me wince, but then I'm a kiwi and I know the difference. Probably if you come from anywhere else in the world you won't be bothered and it's a very small part of the book anyway. I'm impressed enough by her abilities to have already looked up other books she's narrated.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for barbara
  • barbara
  • 18-10-12

Funny and enchanting

What did you love best about Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

I loved the description of living in "Microsoft world" some parts made me laugh out loud.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked that the story was written through the eyes of a fifteen year old girl

Which character – as performed by Kathleen Wilhoite – was your favorite?

Just has to be Bee

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amanda
  • Amanda
  • 03-09-12

Didn't grab me at all

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

although the narration performance was good, for me this book was a waste of 10 or so hours. The story line imo was very weak and I found it very difficult to concentrate on listening to it. In fact I found myself drifting way off where the story was so boring. Very disappointing. This is the first book that I haven't enjoyed on Audible.

What do you think your next listen will be?

The room

Have you listened to any of Kathleen Wilhoite’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

absolutely not

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 30-08-12

What a wonderful book!

Would you consider the audio edition of Where'd You Go, Bernadette to be better than the print version?

The audio version was much more fun than reading it -- the reader(s?) was modulation heaven -- fab

What other book might you compare Where'd You Go, Bernadette to and why?

I have enjoyed many books but few surface to the top of the list like this one -- Fredrick and Fredirika; Life Expectancy all had Pat Conroy -level images.
This is brilliantly written with meaningful imagry that congured up the scene in fulll technicolor

Any additional comments?

If you are a mother who juggles the frustrations and rewards of life and home and career and creativity -- this is a great listen.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nicki
  • Nicki
  • 20-09-12

Excrutiatingly painful

What would have made Where'd You Go, Bernadette better?

Nothing.

Has Where'd You Go, Bernadette turned you off from other books in this genre?

Yes, it has totally put me off "bubblegum" literature / chic lit.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kathleen Wilhoite?

Anyone other than her.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No.

Any additional comments?

The story line contains no substance and far removed from reality, the narrator’s voice sounded like nails on a chalkboard and Bernadette’s continual and long winded rants about everything wrong in her privileged world are unbearable. I abandoned the book three times before returning to it with the hope that it would get better. It didn’t.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lorna
  • Lorna
  • 27-08-12

Whacky and Crazy!

Whacky and crazy story.. at times a little disjointed, but all in all a fun listen. I can say that I would rather have downloaded something with a litt more substance.. but hey.. that's how it goes!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dorothy
  • Dorothy
  • 16-08-12

Funny but Clever

Would you listen to Where'd You Go, Bernadette again? Why?

No, as I tend never to read books over again

What did you like best about this story?

The actual story line and the absurdness of some of the characters

Which character – as performed by Kathleen Wilhoite – was your favorite?

Bernadette

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Made me laugh and also cry

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Caroline M Bruce
  • Caroline M Bruce
  • 19-07-17

Terrible narration ruined the entire book

I could not even admire the story line the narration was so annoying and badly read the characters came across as imbeciles

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for zobo
  • zobo
  • 10-10-20

Entertaining, did not like narrator

Thought this was mildly entertaining, funny in parts, but really disliked the narrator's voice, especially towards the end of the book where she attempted different accents. It was an ok listen overall. Will be interested to see how the movie compares.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 28-03-20

Good story irritating performance

The reader makes Bernadette, a true introvert if ever there was one, sound like a preppy extrovert, all exclamations and gush, especially in her letters.