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.
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.
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.
Published by Back Bay Books/Little, Brown and Company
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I should probably stop buying books because of their covers. Even if they're just 1 buck.
I should probably stop buying books because of their covers. Even if they're just 1 buck.
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...
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.
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.