Author: Maria Semple
Publication Date: March 24, 2010
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Publisher- this one was a surprise in my mailbox
I've decided to change things up a bit with this review. First, I want to say upfront that I thought the writing was wonderful. I think Maria has a real gift and her talent is immense. Please keep that in mind, as I'm sharing my thoughts with you of this one, that I'm not attacking Semple whatsoever! I would read another book written by her in a heartbeat. I just have MAJOR ISSUES with the characters and their behaviors throughout this story. So here it goes-
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
My take on it: Violet is a spoiled brat who expects everyone else around her to make her happy. She doesn't realize the sacrifices that David has made in order for her to live her swanky life. Also, Dot can speak wayyyy to good for a toddler...sorry!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
My take on it: David works all of the time trying to keep up with Violet's whims. She wanted to renovate a house, he bought it for her. Whatever she wanted he tried to do. She decided that she hated the grind of writing for television, so David told her that she could quit if she wanted...so she did. Then she finds that she just can't keep herself occupied. She becomes bored until one day she meets loser Teddy. She's attracted to him why?? I don't know why!! That's the question I kept asking myself. From the author's description he comes across as a dark latino that never takes a shower and grooming isn't exactly his forte. Why would she risk her marriage for this recovering drug addict/alcoholic????? This is the part of the book where I found myself getting royally pissed. Would you have unprotected sex with someone who A) is a recovering drug addict and B) who has Hep-C?????????? I wouldn't even have protected sex with them. Even if my entire body was covered in a body condom!! I have a hard time with infidelity and I was in no mood to be giving Violet any passes on her behavior. I could care less if her husband hadn't talked to her in a few days...big deal. You're either in or you're out!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
My take on it: I wasn't that wild about Sally. She seemed like a major manipulator to me. I felt sorry for Jeremy and recognized early on that he had some issues in regards to dealing with people. But Sally only wants one thing- someone to take care of her and that someone better have money. I just thought she was shallow and therefore I did not like her.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
My take on it: David is a stand up guy. I liked him and really could understand how driven he was to succeed. He loves his family but at times has a hard time jumping into the mix and just relaxing. I think Violet and David needed to communicate, but instead they seem to have fallen into that "Hollywood marriage" thing....you know, have your person call my person sort of relationship. David is a solid person and good thing for Violet that he is this way because through it all he stands beside her. I think she is one lucky fickle wife.
I'm not going to tell you that I loved this book, but I am glad that I read it because it really did stir up some strong emotions. Just ask my son...he heard me yelling and calling Violet some shady names while I was reading it. I do believe Maria has a great future ahead of her, but I hope her next book's main character isn't someone that I wish to burn for all eternity in a fiery pit of hell!
Ok yak, no I do not wanna get hep-3, I would not like to read about someone who was stupid enough to sleep with a guy with that.ReplyDelete
Still getting emotions out of the reader is good
Sometimes I read along for days and days not thinking about the reality of what a character is doing. And then I will stumble upon a book where a character is so annoying, or so stupid, or so something, that I can't help but pause and question what the author wanted me to feel about this character.ReplyDelete
I remember having strong feelings towards the characters as well. Hoping that they would figure out that what they think they want is not what they really need.ReplyDelete
I can soooooooooooooooooooooooooo hear U yelling at her!! LOL! I do the same thing!! Yeah...I think this book would irritate me! :):):) LOL :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)ReplyDelete
I love the bit about having your entire body covered with a condom! :--)ReplyDelete
I LOVED the way you reviewed this book. I felt like I was sitting in the room with you as you exploded about this book. I had fun.ReplyDelete
Characters in a novel are important to me too. I don't mind a couple of stupid ones but when they all have issues, it spoils the story for me. Since they are all ficitonal characters I'm guessing you meant them to go to a fictional fiery pit of hell. Good one.
I'm glad I passed on this book now since I'm not sure I would not have the same problems you did. Thanks for the honest and well thought out review.ReplyDelete
I liked picturing that body condom! lolReplyDelete
I agree...Violet and Sally were both narcissistic brats.
You're also right that the author is talented. I think I gave the book five stars, but I didn't care for the characters either.
I'm with you -- books that stir up strong emotions are often worth reading, even if we don't love them!ReplyDelete
I've read too many novels featuring cheaters lately, so I'd probably pass this one up for now... but glad to hear the writing was well done!
I loved your translation of the Goodreads summary -- you are laugh-out-loud funny. ;-) Your description of Violet made me cringe, especially the unprotected-sex-with-a-former -drug-user-with-hepatitis thing. Egads! Her poor husband.ReplyDelete
This was a fun review. I really enjoyed it. I loved Semple's writing but I also like the way the story developed a little more than you did. Everyone in the book needed a good shaking, with the exception of Dot!ReplyDelete
Good way to review Staci! I liked it! I have yet to read this book and have read many mixed reviews on it. I'm sure I'll read it one of these days.ReplyDelete
I get what you're saying about characters evoking strong emotions. I just read one like that- had me cursing and shaking my head. lol. Sometimes it amazes me what these characters will actually do but I guess that's the whole point of a story. lol. It's taking you somewhere you wouldn't normally ever even consider going.
Ack. Violet would make me want to throw myself off a cliff. Thanks for the heads-up.ReplyDelete
I left my comment on Goodreads, but again, such a good review.ReplyDelete
100% agree! I was a little more patient with Violet--I think it was a case where she thought she knew what she wanted because she bought into the "stuff will make us happy" and "all mommies must stay at home with their babies." But Teddy? Yuck!ReplyDelete
I am still thinking of what emotions to tell. The book caught my interest.ReplyDelete
On one hand, I hate it when characters make me scream at them or want to put my hand into the book and slap them silly. But on the other hand, I think it's good when authors can provoke such emotion. It really shows the power of the written word. However, I think Violet would annoy me too much, so I think I'll pass on this one. Thanks for the honest review!ReplyDelete
Diary of an Eccentric
What can I say? This is an awesome review and a great way to get your point across. I think your upfront disclaimer was the best part becuase it wasn't writing but the characters. I think we sometimes blame the writer when it's their creation we don't like, you the fictionalized people.ReplyDelete
It's her writing that makes us dislike them, but to stir up that many emptions speaks to her talent.
Great method of reviewing this one. Succinct and to the point.
I won this book and got it not too long ago. I probably won't rush to read it.ReplyDelete
I didn't like this book at all - but I will read more from the author. I enjoyed her writing style but I thought the love interest for Violet would NEVER happen. Dirty, greasy hair, vulgar... it didn't work for me.ReplyDelete
I love this review. I really liked this book, but hated Teddy. I think it's interesting that you liked David so much. He grew on me, but at the beginning I didn't see him as a stand up guy. I totally agree with you about Violet, but she did show a little growth by the end. Not enough to make me really like her, but enough for me to apreciate the journey.ReplyDelete
Great way to review a book :)
I couldn't have said it better myself!ReplyDelete