Wednesday 4 January 2023

AudioBook Review: Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, narrated by Kathleen Wilhoite

Where'd You Go, Bernadette Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before Christmas I attended a short online course at City Lit, London on Epistolary novels. One of the extracts the tutor used was from this novel. I'd never heard of it, never heard of the author, never watched all the TV shows she has written (eg Arrested Development). A comic novel about a mad cap family based in Seattle, father works at Microsoft, mum a washed up architect frustrated by the parochrial housewives, mothers and assorted figures trying to get her to be part of the community at Galler Street School where her only child, gifted daughter Bea goes to school. Sitting somewhere on the spectrum , Bea has written up the various communiques to and from her mother, antagonistic neighbour Audrey in a fight over brambles and a run over foot, her remote based PA Manjula in India, another Galler Street parent Soo-lin who becomes her husband's admin, the schoolteacher. These open the book. As I read the first few pages I was pleasantly surprised by the flow, indeed the speed of the text, it flew off the page. It is most definitely not a book I would normally have picked up but I borrowed it from our library and wow! One of the best reads in a long time. Not a great book, but a superb read. The audible narration by Kathleen Wilhoite is 5*, she nailed it, her narration captures the character of Bea. Check out her interview where she talk about what it is like to record an audiobook. I was amazed this was her first one, she had met Maria Semple at writing class!
If you want a great read to become immersed in, to laugh, smile and giggle at and lift the spirits during a winter's day as grey as Seattle, then pick up this book now!

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