This One is Mine by Maria Semple
Bay Back Books (March 24, 2010)
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. This One is Mine is a compassionate and wickedly funny satire about our need for more–and the often disastrous choices we make in the name of happiness.
This One is Mine struck me as a quick, chick-lit read. I was entertained by the story line and found myself laughing a bit at how some of the characters were a bit over-the-top in their actions.
The character Violet was stuck in a rut of depression and is the perfect example of how money does not buy happiness. Her obsession with junkie, music player, would-be golfer Teddy was a mid-life crisis in the extreme. Descriptions of her brief affair with Teddy were pretty racy and not for those who are easy to blush!
Violet’s husband David is a powerful music executive, who quite obviously likes to have control. I enjoyed the scene where he was at a yoga retreat in a sweat lodge – his emotions traveled from disgust with Violet at the affair he believed that she was having, through anger at how everyone perceived him to be an “asshole,” through remembrance of falling in love with Violet, back to being in love and wanting to do anything to save his marriage. It was quite a trip.
David sister Sally, a diabetic, former ballerina turned gold-digger was the most frustrating for me. Her scheming to find a rich husband was so orchestrated that it was scary. The book described her thoughts in such detail – each plan, each alternative, each anticipated outcome of her actions – each choice bringing her farther down the path of destruction.
For all of the depression, crisis and manipulation that occurred in This One is Mine, it was a light and entertaining read. It was a perfect choice for my morning on the beach – relaxing and not too brain-intensive. Lovers of chick lit will enjoy This One is Mine. I’m looking forward to seeing what other participants of the April Book Club hosted by Everyday I Write the Book will think about the novel.
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