This One Is Mine: A Novel

by Maria Semple

Paperback, 2010

Status

Available

Genres

Publication

Back Bay Books (2010), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages

Description

Violet Parry is living the quintessential life of luxury in the Hollywood Hills with David, her rock-and-roll manager husband, and her darling toddler, Dot. She has the perfect life--except that she's deeply unhappy. David expects the world of Violet but gives little of himself in return. When she meets Teddy, a roguish small-time bass player, Violet comes alive, and soon she's risking everything for the chance to find herself again. Also in the picture are David's hilariously high-strung sister, Sally, on the prowl for a successful husband, and Jeremy, the ESPN sportscaster savant who falls into her trap. For all their recklessness, Violet and Sally will discover that David and Jeremy have a few surprises of their own.

User reviews

LibraryThing member stonelaura
Feeling unloved/unlovable, committing adultery, realizing what you’ve got is best are all covered in this combination women’s issues, chick-lit debut novel. It’s hard to tell if the author is trying to be funny but ends up being whiney, or is trying to be serious but strays into bizarre. Violet is feeling fat and useless as a mom and ex-TV writer. Husband David seems controlling and insensitive until his epiphany moment at a yoga retreat. Sally is desperate to marry as she approaches 40 and being stupid is really a hindrance. Teddy, Violet’s object of adultery, is a bass-playing ex-alcoholic who drops racial slurs as easily as breezy compliments and suggestive sex talk. As an object of desire he seems totally unlikely. While the book has some charm and some momentum, it misses on too many points to be a real winner.… (more)
LibraryThing member pegmcdaniel
I had read Maria Semple's second novel, 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette,' and enjoyed it so much that I decided to read her debut novel, 'This One is Mine.'

It was advertised as humorous but I found no humor in the shallow characters with lives so very different from mine. The setting was Los Angeles (Hollywood) and that didn't help since I would never want to live there. It was difficult to relate to any of the characters. Ms. Semple does have a way with words and managed to keep me interested just enough to finish the book. I kept hoping it would get better but it didn't. I'd like to give it 2.5 Stars but will round it up to 3.… (more)
LibraryThing member Randall.Hansen
This first novel by former television writer Maria Semple is filled with odd and unlikable characters -- a reason why many people seem to loathe this book... but, if you get through the first couple of chapters, you eventually see an evolution and purpose to the way the characters were and what they become at the end. I enjoy her writing style, though she does tend to stick to oddballs, as with her second novel, Where'd You Go Bernadette?… (more)
LibraryThing member ForeignCircus
This well-written novel was surprisingly engaging, especially given that I didn't much like the characters when I started reading. As the story unfolded however, the motivations behind their actions became more clear, and I found myself reacting to them with much more empathy. Parts of the book were tragic while others were tragically funny; only in a book about Hollywood could entire plotline not seem a bit contrived.

Though I never fully understood Violet's attraction to Teddy, I could understand her frustration with her marriage and the life she found herself living. Sally initially appeared cold-hearted and calculating, but revelations about her health and the profound impact that had on her outlook on life gave her character unexpected depth. The revelation about her insurance, so life-altering to her and so unimportant to David, struck me as the most poignant moment in the book- I almost cried for Sally.

Semple has the voice and flavor of Hollywood life down pat, and this first novel tells a wonderful yet cautionary tale about the teeming depths beneath the surface lives of these characters. A strong 4 stars, I hope this novel is not the last we see from Semple.
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LibraryThing member CMash
this one is MINE by Maria Semple
Published by Back Bay Books/Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 978-0-316-03133-2
At the request of the author's friend, a PB copy was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
Synopsis (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 Thoughts and Opinion: This week I asked advice for getting out of my reading slump because I felt that I just couldn't and didn't want to pick up this book and read. And then today, in my google reader, another book blogger/reviewer answered my question. Alayne from The Crowded Leaf, posted her review of this very book and made me realize why the slump. She could not finish it. I read 90 pages and did not like, nor could I relate to any of the characters. This is my opinion, and only my opinion but without giving away a spoiler to the plot, I had a hard time with the story line. I have read other books with a similar theme but this book was difficult to read in the way it was presented. Unfortunately, I had to set this one aside and place in the DNF pile.
My Rating: 1
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LibraryThing member mamashepp
This book had a lot of potential as it looked a class, fidelity, honesty and it even had a lot of really well written points. But so many of the characters were so stereotyped and the affair that was the central point of the novel just did not seem at all plausible to me.
LibraryThing member mistycliff
Violet used to be something. She wrote for T.V. greats and made her snobbishly intellectual family proud. When she married mega music producer David Parry, she found herself slowly slipping away. She quit her job to raise their daughter who now spends all day with a nanny while Violet roams the canyons of Southern California. David, himself is too absorbed in the industry, to really get to the bottom of the troubles in his life, his wife’s or his younger sister, Sally’s.

Sally, a middle-aged diabetic dancer, has inevitable troubles of her own. She’s still looking for “that someone” and she doesn’t mean romance. She wants a diamond, preferably attached to rising star and future ESPN personality Jeremy White. Scheming is what Sally does well and hijinks, as well as tragedy, ensue.

While the reader doesn’t have to be terribly well-versed in the Russian epic-dramas, if you’ve read Anna Karenina, you’re in for a fun surprise. Many of the scenes and events are linked to Tolstoy’s tragedy, especially Violet’s despondent, self-centered outlook on her life.

The other item of note is the approach Semple took in creating her characters. If the book is not understood as a microcosm for various sects of L.A., it will be fairly unlikable. For anyone who has ever run screaming from the town, or even for a high number of those who have stayed, the dark, albeit hilarious, parody will ring true enough for laughs and tears. The characters are not “likeable” but I find myself time and time again wondering why that is criteria for enjoying a book.

I don’t read books to read about Miss Suzy Sunshine and her perfect life. I want people to echo the ideas we all have but never speak or act on. Pristine, self-less thoughts rarely make good reading material, at least not funny reading material. Dark, questioning, self-conscious ideas people never say aloud, do.

The writing is crisp and snazzy, the images both true and absurd. Semple’s talent translates well from t.v. screen to her first novel debut. This is a must read for the L.A. crowd, or maybe, rather for the recovering-from-L.A. crowd.
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LibraryThing member mrstreme
This One Is Mine is the debut novel by former TV screenwriter, Maria Semple. It’s a chick lit book, full of humor, man troubles, fashion woes and self-exploration. More intriguing for me was the satirical look at the Beverly Hills life of the two main characters.

Violet Parry was in a loveless marriage with a famous music producer. A former screenwriter, she gave up her career to take care of her home, and eventually, her daughter, Dot. Violet was frustrated with the drudgery of her life, and when she stumbled upon former drug addict, bass-playing, Hep C-infected Teddy Reyes, he brought her some excitement that she yearned for in her life.

Meanwhile, Violet’s sister-in-law, Sally, was a body-obsessed, status-obsessed young woman who pegged her affections on an up-and-coming sports broadcaster, Jeremy. Jeremy had the personality of a toenail, but he was on his way to fame and fortune – and was intensely loyal to Sally.

As I followed Violet and Sally’s lives, Semple showed off her former screenwriting skills by creating a very descriptive story. You knew what the characters were thinking not only by their language but also by their gestures, facial expressions and body language. Semple’s power of observation allowed her to show the story to her reader.

I am not an enormous fan of chick lit, and this book certainly is not for people who are offended by foul language (especially anatomical references). However, this would be a great book for the poolside or cruise deck. If you loved Sex and the City, then give This One Is Mine a try.
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LibraryThing member thelittlereader
i flew through This One Is Mine in one sitting, which says something about the book in itself. given my predisposition to L.A., i was almost expecting to hate this book, and i actually did for about 20 pages, but i was quickly drawn in and surprised by my enjoyment. despite some really loathsome characters (which was probably intentional), the story line moved really well and was quite the page-turner.Violet and David seem like they have the perfect life, happily married with one daughter, Dot. they are filthy rich due to David’s blossoming career as a big shot rock music manager and Violet is afforded the luxury of not having to work, and having a nanny. but, Violet is deeply unsatisfied with her life and finds herself reckless and out of control after meeting a charismatic, recovering addict of a bass player named Teddy. David’s sister Sally has only one goal in life, which is to marry rich, with her sights set on the socially awkward up-and-coming sportscaster Jeremy. "Sally had to get a ring on her finger before Jeremy became famous and started earning the big bucks. That’s how they never leave you. Because no matter what happens, they know you loved them for them and not for their money."in each of the characters, we are able to see exaggerated flaws and deeply rooted disappointments of their lives. David longs for the Violet that he fell in love with, while Violet desperately craves the passion and excitement that she finds in Teddy. Sally, after a string of abusive and meaningless relationships, yearns only for long-term love and has good intentions, despite her misguided ways. through their eventual growth as individuals, i found myself looking past the flaws and deeper into the potential that they each had, a true testament to the power of good writing.my favorite parts of the book were the many pop culture and art references, some more obscure than others. for example, one of the kids that Dot is in class with is named Django, as in Django Reinhart, the jazz guitarist that you’ve probably never heard about. and my absolute favorite painting ever, The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, is alluded to in a rather disconcerting way in a pretty raunchy sex scene. i was happy to recognize many of the references, but i’m sure i missed some, too. in a style similar to High Fidelity, this book begs to be read by groupies and pop culture buffs and in that way, i found the reading to be a lot of fun.given the personalities, there was the expected whining and self indulgence that can border on excessive and annoying, but there were also a lot of really honest moments, particularly towards the end. the book touches on some more serious subjects like drug and alcohol abuse, hepatitis, and social disorders, which i think really worked. Semple brought together these characters and themes into a quick, exciting read that was very raw at times and was engaging and well put together.in the end, i have to say that i actually enjoyed This One Is Mine quite a bit. i think it would make a great read for an adult reading group and i would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, entertaining read.… (more)
LibraryThing member cleverlyinked
Violet Parry an UNFORGETTABLE character. Violets life is perfect to the outsiders. Her husband who forgets what a relationship should entail seems insensitive. It almost seems like he forgets she is human and has feelings. I almost feel maybe Violet wasn't quite right either. I kept saying to myself "I would so not do that". Yet it was so realistic. Things that happen in this plot happens everyday. Sally was something in a class all her own. If you don't fall in love with this tiger on the prowl I don't know what would make you happy. I am still in shock as to the twist and turns of this one. I still don't know how I got there but I did. Like a whirl wind of twists which makes for a perfect plot! The witty, clever and LOL writing style was Powerful to make you stay attached. I really enjoyed this ride! I will continue to look for more of Maria Semple books in the future! I had a blast, Does my hair look OK after that ride??… (more)
LibraryThing member miriamparker
A modern day Anna Karenina full of fabulous houses, people and celebrities. While it's a difficult task to create pity for people with fabulous lives, Maria Semple does a great job. Perfect airport reading for your holiday journeys.
LibraryThing member Cajunbooklady
Let's see what my thoughts on this one are...hmmm...
I thought it was interesting. This is the second book I review where the storyline is based around the wife's infidelity, so of course this is another one I had strong feelings about.
There were several things going on in this one which kept it interesting. It was a humorous novel about how really screwed up we all are. I don't feel like I can say too much without spoiling so many aspects of this book, so I'll keep it at this...It was a good read and I enjoyed it. I was very happy with the ending and would certainly read Maria's work again.… (more)
LibraryThing member chaoticbooklover
For me the book started off a little slow, and it took me a bit to really get into it. But once I got past all that, I couldn't put it down. I figured things out about Jeremy before Sally did, I laughed and fell in love with Teddy. Violet, oh I connected with her in so many ways. My heart stopped when Dot fell and I wanted to hurt Kurt right along with David.
I fell hard for David, even though he can be an a** at times.
I cried at the end of the book, but would read it again and again just to see the love blossom between them all and know that in the end, everyone was ok with were they are in life.
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LibraryThing member readingrebecca
Marie Semple has created a spot on, delicious send up of all things Los Angeles in This One Is Mine. With a delightful cast of some of the shallowest people ever to grace the printed page, this is a story of New Age absurdity, conniving, greed, wealth, social climbing, adultery and so much more. These characters are so real, they could live next door. But thank goodness they don’t!

Once started, I could not put this book down. The writing is fluid and the characters fully developed. I enjoyed every last page of this dark comedy.
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LibraryThing member sarafwilliams
My advice to you is - don't read this book. Everyone is boring. These pages are full of racist and sexist statements. I wanted to drop it 20 pages in, but went like ''oh this might pick up later on'' but it didn't. You have your rich people trashing poor people and this one character Sally who gets pregnant to this guy she doesn't even like only to have her debts cleared. If there's anything average about this book it might be Terry's and Violet's little dates but even those bore the crap out of me.
I should probably stop buying books because of their covers. Even if they're just 1 buck.
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LibraryThing member cjordan916
Violet Parry is living the quintessential life of luxury in the Hollywood Hills with David, her rock-and-roll manager husband, and her darling toddler, Dot. She has the perfect life--except that she's deeply unhappy. David expects the world of Violet but gives little of himself in return. When she meets Teddy, a roguish small-time bass player, Violet comes alive, and soon she's risking everything for the chance to find herself again. Also in the picture are David's hilariously high-strung sister, Sally, on the prowl for a successful husband, and Jeremy, the ESPN sportscaster savant who falls into her trap. For all their recklessness, Violet and Sally will discover that David and Jeremy have a few surprises of their own.… (more)
LibraryThing member davis22star
This is a very impressive first novel by a former TV writer that although a little rough around the edges, it certainly has its charms. I felt like a fly on the wall on some occasions, getting an inside view into the lives of the rich and successful creatives that populate the Los Angeles entertainment industry community. I guess it's no surprise that despite their wealth and their success, they are as equally unhappy as the rest of us and all so capable of making bad decisions with inevitably nasty consequences. The book is written so intelligently well that I want to read her follow-up novel, Where'd You Go Bernadette.… (more)
LibraryThing member lostinthebb
I enjoyed a different novel by this author and made the mistake of buying this one. It has the most loathsome characters I've ever encountered in a supposed comedy.
LibraryThing member mamashepp
This book had a lot of potential as it looked a class, fidelity, honesty and it even had a lot of really well written points. But so many of the characters were so stereotyped and the affair that was the central point of the novel just did not seem at all plausible to me.
LibraryThing member sarafwilliams
My advice to you is - don't read this book. Everyone is boring. These pages are full of racist and sexist statements. I wanted to drop it 20 pages in, but went like ''oh this might pick up later on'' but it didn't. You have your rich people trashing poor people and this one character Sally who gets pregnant to this guy she doesn't even like only to have her debts cleared. If there's anything average about this book it might be Terry's and Violet's little dates but even those bore the crap out of me.
I should probably stop buying books because of their covers. Even if they're just 1 buck.
… (more)
LibraryThing member theepicrat
Maria Semple crafted a well-written story of 2 women searching for love in the modern world. Her writing pulled you through story and characters' minds that, instead of hating one or the other (and the flip side, liking them all too well), you understood where they came from and where they would like to go. David was actually my favorite character after he went on his yoga retreat and had a revelation. I could not help but sympathize with him when he figured out that Violet was having an affair, but David intended to continue loving her and tried to be less of an ass towards her.

While I cannot say that I loved This One Is Mine, I do think that it does an excellent job at presenting modern relationships and how it is a two-way street where hearts can be collide, both in good and bad ways. And the ending definitely leaves you thinking...
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LibraryThing member knittingmomof3
From My Blog...

Well-written, descriptive with witty narrative This One Is Mine by Maria Semple has an interesting premise; two unhappy women looking for happiness, one longing for what the other has. Violet Grace Perry seemingly has a wonderful life and yet she is tragically unhappy, refers to mornings with her husband David as "revolting", wonders about the "indignities" forced on 50-year-old women who are single and work such jobs as selling real estate and believes motherhood, no matter how much a mother loves her child, is not only "boring" but "draining". Unfortunately, Violet neither grew on me nor became more likeable with time. Will her affair with Teddy Reyes, a bass player and recovering alcoholic be the answer she is looking for? Sally, the younger sister of Violet's husband David, recently turned 36 and believes she is absolutely stunning and further believes her best friend Maryam would flounder without her help and guidance as the "pretty one" in the friendship. Sally's goal is to hook up with a wealthy man, ideally the soon to be TV star named Jeremy White, and live a fairy tale life. Sally wants what Violet has, yet the grass is rarely greener on the other side. The parallel stories and exploits may be delightful for others to read, unfortunately I did not find them to be witty or interesting but rather superficial and I tired rather quickly of the descriptive sexual escapades. With that stated, Maria Semple's novel is well written and executed, her characters are developed and the story moves at a fast clip. Just because the genre was not for me is not at all indicative of the author's ability. Several times I saw references to similarities between This One Is Mine and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, which happens to be my all-time favourite novel and the comparison threw me, certainly the wealth, power, and unhappiness, yet there are a lot of novels like that and I do not place these two books in the same category. I am curious if anyone saw similarities between Tolstoy's classic novel and This One Is Mine, and if so, what? While this novel was not to my liking, I strongly suggest reading other reviews before making a decision on this book. I do believe This One Is Mine would not only make an excellent book discussion group pick but would also create quite lively discussions.… (more)
LibraryThing member horomnizon
I'll admit it. As a Sondheim fanatic myself, I was attracted to this book simply because I read that the main character quotes Sondheim lyrics. This type of relationship themed book is not my usual fare - I'm more of a fantasy/mystery/historical fiction kind of chick. I did enjoy this book, though.

Violet has everything she thought she wanted - a rich husband, the house he bought her to remodel, the daughter that took a long time to conceive....but she's really just going through life - not living. She meets Teddy, a bass player, by chance and suddenly she is enthralled by him - his drug and alcohol filled past and his eyes. Meanwhile, Violet's sister-in-law, Sally, is really determined to marry one guy in particular and will do anything to, essentially, force him to propose. And then there's David, Sally's brother, Violet's hubby who isn't particularly happy in the marriage and whom most everybody else, including Sally, thinks is an a-hole.

Whew! Ok, so let's just say there are some major improprieties and life gets even more messed up for Violet and she has some major problems deciding what she really does want. In the end, well, we don't actually find out what happens....which kind of sucks, but didn't bother me as much as that kind of thing usually does. We are left with possibilities....some people may find them to be inevitabilities.

I enjoyed reading about these characters, although I had several "What the heck is he/she doing?!" moments. It wasn't the best book I've ever read, but it did keep me reading. So, if you like books that are mostly about character and relationship, this is a pretty good one along those lines.
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