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This One Is Mine ~ Maria Semple

November 9, 2009



Genre: Adult Fiction

Publisher: Little Brown and Company

289 pages

ISBN: 9780316031165

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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2 Comments leave one →
  1. stacybuckeye permalink
    November 10, 2009 11:21 am

    I’ve seen this book around and I’m tempted, Great review 🙂

  2. November 11, 2009 12:42 pm

    What a lovely way to wake up on a day I have the flu– with a friend emailing me your lovely review. Thank you so so much!

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