Thursday, May 27, 2010

Review: This One Is Mine by Maria Semple

This One Is Mine: A NovelTitle: This One Is Mine

Author: Maria Semple

Pages: 289

Source: Publisher

Rating: 4/10

Challenges: Read 'n' Review Challenge

First Sentence: "David stood at the sink, a pine forest to his left, the Pacific Ocean to his right, and cursed the morning sun."

Summary (From back of book):

Violet Parry has a picture-perfect life: a beautiful house, a successful husband, a darling daughter. Violet can speak French, quote Sondheim, and whip up dinner from the vegetables in her garden. She has everything under control -- except her own happiness. All it takes is a chance encounter with Teddy Reyes, a roguish small-time bass player with a highly evolved sexuality, to open Violet's eyes to what she's missing and upend her life completely.

My Two Cents:

I tried to like this book. I really did. There was just so much standing in the way.

Semple's writing is good. It ought to be; she's worked for TV shows. She's funny and can really turn a phrase. She's got a sense for the narrative. And, she can write vivid characters. I could picture each of the people in this book really easily.

The problem was, there was not a single character in here that I either liked or empathized with. Wait. I did like Jeremy and I felt bad for Dot, the little girl, for being caught up in the mess that is her family. But as far as the others? I thought they were terrible people who did terrible things and got exactly what they deserved. And the characters in here did some absolutely awful things, not the least of which was adultery. I understand that this book is about finding happiness and that happiness people who seem to have everything can be incredibly unhappy, but did these characters really have to go to such extreme lengths to find their happiness? Maybe Semple was trying to portray a group of people and a lifestyle with which I don't identify, so maybe I missed a lot of the point, but I just could not take any interest in what happened to anyone in this book.

I've seen several reviews where people enjoyed this book but, for all of Semple's wit and writing talent, I just couldn't like it.


Aths said...

I think I would struggle with this book too. It doesn't exactly sound like my cup of tea.

Jenners said...

I've struggled to like books too but you just can't force it!

And her name sounds incredibly familiar but I can't think why. I'll have to Google her.

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