Review – This One Is Mine by Maria Semple

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.


After hearing that Maria Semple had been a writer for the TV show Mad About You, I knew I had to read her first novel. One of the things I enjoyed about Mad About You is that the two main characters, who are pretty average people, are surrounded by the weirdest characters. This is something I also enjoy in books, I crave personalities that are off-beat, bizarre and sometimes seem down-right crazy. This One Is Mine is perfect for this, as it’s pretty much impossible to find even one half-way normal person among the cast.

Another thing I found enjoyable about this novel, was the contrast between the two leading ladies. Violet is a wife and mother, living what would seem to most, the perfect life. While Sally, her sister-in-law is living the female equivalent of the bachelors life. But neither woman is happy with what they have, and both yearn for what the other has. However, they soon find out that what you want and what you have are not always so easy to mingle together.

I couldn’t say that I liked any of the characters in this story, they are all self-involved, materialistic, snobbish and way too concerned with quick, easy personal satisfaction. But, as horrible as I thought they were, I was quickly pulled into their stories. It was almost like watching a drunken idiot making a fool of himself – you know you should probably step-in, but you’re curious to know just how much of a disaster he’s gonna make and how he’s going to react once he sobers up.

This One Is Mine, is hard-edged chick-lit with lots of sex, cussing and downright dirty behaviour. This book doesn’t present any great messages on life, or teach you the values of morality. However, it will entertain. It’s a mixture of darker Desperate Housewives, lighter Jackie Collins with a twist of black comedy.   

About The Author
Maria Semple has written for television shows including Arrested Development, Mad About You, and Ellen. She has escaped from Los Angeles and lives with her family on an island off Seattle. This is her first novel.

Title: This One Is Mine
Author: Maria Semple
Book Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Book Type: Hardcover 304 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: December 2008

Other Reviews
Books By TJBaff
Un-Mainstream Mom Reads
The Printed Page
A High And Hidden Place
Many more reviews here.

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


Mo said...

Great review, I definitely agree with you. Thanks for including the link to my review of it :D

naida said...

great review :)
how cool that the author was a write on Mad About You, I used to watch that show too.
sounds like a great book!

Lenore said...

I reading this aloud to my husband right now so it's taking awhile. I was more impressed with her Arrested Development credit - God I loved that show.

Dar said...

Great review Joanne. I have this one on my shelf to read and I'm definitely looking forward to being entertained after reading your review.

grayskyeyes said...

Aww, I got all excited when you said the writer was on Mad About You, and then I got to the part about hard-edged chick lit and I got less excited. It sounds like a good book, just not for me. Anyway, point is I liked reading your review even if the book doesn't seem like my style, which is I think the mark of a good reviewer :)

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

Belle @ MsBookish said...

I loved Mad About You! And zany characters in a chick lit novel ... this one's going on my list.

bermudaonion said...

You're right - the characters in this book were awful. I heard the author on Blog Talk radio and she said a lot of people in Hollywood are like that. Yikes!

Dan said...

Great review. Chick-lit maybe, but I love to read about those Hollywood types. Will add to my reading list.