Today will be Different by Maria Semple is a fast-paced, adventurous, fun read. It is full of strong characters, edgy humour, crazy plot twists and delightfully descriptive text that immerse you in Seattle, New Orleans, and Aspen. In the story, Eleanor Flood, a middle-aged animator and mom of a precocious eight-year-old boy living in Seattle wakes up one day deciding that today is the day she will get out of her rut and insists that today will be different. In fact, it turns into one misadventure after another as she tries to solve the mystery of her absent husband and in the search reflects on her life and her troubled relationship with her estranged sister. Although a quick, fast paced read, Semple is able to explore the relationships between this flawed, yet immensely likeable character and her significant others to a satisfying depth. (Submitted by Michelle).
For those of us who know what it is like to have a semi-stream-of-consciousness day, to be less the person we want to be and more the person we don't, and to realize that facing what we don't want to see is a necessary part of healing.
She had me laugh out loud a few times. Requires attention. Enjoyed most of it.
After 75 pages I quit reading. She's hard to read. She writes these witty sentences full of angst, wit, etc but doesn't ever write sentences that are just plain readable. If that makes sense. It's like reading sentence after sentence of one-liners.......it wears you down.
I know some who love her style. Not me......
I just have to be honest and say: this is the worst book I have ever read. As many others have said, the main character is unrelatable, unsympathetic, and really just a horrible person. In general, I do not enjoy books about people who just genuinely hate everything and treat people poorly. Also, I was turned off in the first chapter when the mother gives her son a makeup set then shames him for using it. The huge focus on hating religion is also just very unappealing to me as well, especially since it is what initially bonds the main character and her husband when they meet. The events of the day seem put together at random and I finished feeling angry that I wasted the time on it. I read this for a book club and felt so confused when there were people in the club that actually enjoyed this book. Do not waste your time.
Within a few pages, I could tell this isn't for me. She really likes to bash any one who isn't atheist. Which I get. To each their own, but the character seemed close-minded to a fault. And agreeing with the below comments, the main heroine is unrelatable/unlikable.
This was my first time reading this author, so perhaps that is why I do not have as such a harsh review for this book as some others have here. I found it light and entertaining, and read it all one Sunday. The books takes place all in one day, with fast-paced action. The main character definitely comes across as selfish and unlikable, and her reaction to the reveal at the end was a bit much ... but all in all, it was a good summer time read.
The writing style is very entertaining and the main reason I stuck with the book.
Unfortunately the main character is so self centered that it's all about her and no lessons are learned. To the point, SPOILER ALERT, that the 'beloved' dog is forgotten about and left tied up at a Home Depot.
I finished the story feeling a bit disgusted with the main character.
Major religious content. SPOILER ALERT. All problems in the book are solved or made better by finding Jesus. This revelation occurs at the end of the book. Out of the blue.
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?
Review appears on my blog, Purrfectly Bookish.
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