This One is Mine by Maria Semple
Published in 2008
My copy: Library
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 – but 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 sportscaster savant who falls into her trap.
This is the debut novel by Maria Semple, author of the award-winning Where D’You Go To Bernadette, which I read last year and loved.
The two key characters in this novel are Violet and her sister-in-law Sally. Violet is married to a rich music producer and seemingly wants for nothing, but is unhappy in her marriage, while Sally has been unlucky in love and is looking for a rich husband. We follow Violet as she meets and falls in love with down-and-out ex-junkie Teddy, and Sally as she snares TV sports pundit Jeremy.
Pretty much all the characters in this novel are deeply unpleasant – they are so shallow and it’s very hard to relate to or feel sympathy for any of them! But despite this the book is very readable, with a dramatic plot and snappy dialogue that keeps things moving along nicely.
The book is often over-the-top, with lots of quite outrageous things going on, and the language is also pretty blue at times. There’s also a lot of humour here as well, with some famous names thrown in to give it a real LA-feel.
It’s hard to say how I felt about this book in the end – I quite enjoyed reading it but I didn’t really enjoy the story or like the characters. It’s all a bit too brash at times, but having said that I didn’t want to put it down! So mixed feelings – but this one isn’t a patch on Bernadette!
My rating: a confused 6 out of 10