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Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: October 4th 2016
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Eleanor knows she's a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won't swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action-life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother's company. It's also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office-but not Eleanor-that he's on vacation. Just when it seems like things can't go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir whose dramatic tale threatens to reveal a buried family secret.
TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT is a hilarious, heart-filled story about reinvention, sisterhood, and how sometimes it takes facing up to our former selves to truly begin living.
We are back in Portland and in the shadows of Maria Semple's prior book, Where'd You Go, Bernadette? I rather enjoyed that book and laughed my way through it. The writing style was unique and it told an entertaining story through a very odd and circuitous way. Today Will Be Different is not a sequel to that book but we do recognize some locations (Galer Street School) and there are a couple mentions of characters from the Bernadette book. I'll be blunt... this book is just not as good. The protagonist Eleanor comes across as unbelievably scattered, manic and altogether self absorbed.
Eleanor starts out determined that "today will be different" but you get the sense throughout that, as wild as this day is, it really isn't all that different. She hates her best friend, is terrible to her son and is so self absorbed, her husband chooses to not share a very important thing in his life because he believes she wouldn't understand and support him! This is not a likeable person! And while there can be value in reading unlikeable characters, I didn't find the value in reading about this unlikeable character. I did give it three stars though since the writing is good and I did laugh... there were funny bits mixed in with all the mania. I just really can't recommend it though. Don't let this be your first book by this author and don't waste your time if you liked Where'd You Go, Bernadette?