Here's What the Back of the Book Says:
Violet Parry is not Anna Karenina. Witty, affectionate, and fearsomely resourceful when she wants to be, she's a modern woman who has traded a great job for a picture-perfect Los Angeles life with her rock-and-roll-manager husband, David, and their darling daughter. She can speak French, quote Sondheim and whip up dinner from the vegetables in her garden. She has everything under control—except her own happiness. Driving the hills of Los Angeles, her sense of isolation grows with every curve. She has a chance encounter with Teddy Reyes, a roguish small-time bass player with a highly-evolved sexuality. He shows an interest. That's all it takes. Heedless of consequences, Violet embarks upon her monomaniacal journey towards destruction.
David’s sister Sally, in great shape but pushing forty, is on a mission of her own to attain exactly that status and security which Violet is so quick to abandon. Nothing can stop her—as is discovered by the unfortunate bystanders in her path, and by Jeremy, the sportswriter-savant she's desperate to marry before he achieves the television celebrity she knows is his destiny.
Consumed with recklessness, Violet and Sally overlook the possibility that David and Jeremy may deal some surprises of their own.
About the Author:
Maria Semple spent her first two years in Spain where her father had gone to write a play, but instead ended up writing the pilot for the TV series Batman. They packed up for Los Angeles, where Maria mainly remembers being driven around the hills in a Mercedes convertible with the latest Stephen Sondheim playing on 8-track. Wanting to expose the children to a change of seasons, her parents moved the family to Aspen in the early seventies. There, Maria became an expert skier, pot-smoker and delinquent. She was sent away to boarding school at Choate Rosemary Hall and loved every minute of it.You can learn more about Maria at http://www.mariasemple.com/ Here's What I say:
College was at Barnard, where Maria had big plans of becoming a novelist or an English teacher. Those dreams got derailed when she sold a movie script to Twentieth Century Fox just after graduation and moved to LA. She got into TV when her friend Darren Star-- whom she'd met on the ski slopes in Aspen years earlier-- gave her a job on Beverly Hills 90210. Thus began a fifteen-year career in television, writing for good shows like Ellen, Saturday Night Live, Mad About You and Arrested Development. And bad shows nobody needs to know about.
She had a baby and quit television. When it was time to get back to work, she resisted Hollywood and gave novel-writing a try. THIS ONE IS MINE is the result. Writing it was the most fun work experience of her life.
Maria, her boyfriend and their daughter have since left LA for Seattle where Maria's at work on her second novel
WOW! This book grabbed me within the first three pages.For a first time novelist, Maria Semple is incredibly talented. She has this incredible way of "writing pictures", I suppose that comes from being a screenwriter. It was like watching a TV show unfold. Normally I have an issue with bouncing back and forth between two story lines (Violet's and Sally's) in one book, but it is all very fluid. I also love that Maria made the world of the wealthy so accessible. It really made me think about the fact that they are really just real people. They wear sweats to the grocery story ($500 Juicy Couture, albeit, but sweats nonetheless). I do feel that David ends up being the unsung hero in this book because he saves them all. But the best part of it is that it was a conscious thing, it is just who he is, and that makes it all the more meaningful.
I do want to point out that if this book was a TV show it would be for Mature Audiences Only and probably be on HBO or Showtime. There is language, drug use and sexual situtations.
I had arranged to do an informal interview with Maria, but upon finishing the book, I realized there was an interview in the back of the book. And on top of that it was a really good interview that covered all my questions but two. Maria was still gracious enough to answer my two little questions: (Please be advised there is a sort of spoiler in the second question - nothing specific but still, you know i like to alert you guys)
1. It is never mentioned in the book, but is Violet suffering from Postpartum Depression?
Pam, I'm glad you mentioned this. Because in many ways, I feel this is a book about postpartum depression. About a woman who has longed for a baby for her whole life, then when she has one, she snaps, and goes on a self-destructive tear to try to get out of being a mother. So, yes. I do think she is suffering from PPD.2. Will there be a sequel? (I see a huge story when Sally figures out just who Teddy is!)
When I was writing it, I thought there would be a sequel. But now that I'm onto my next book, I am content to have Violet, David, Teddy & Sally stay home in THIS ONE IS MINE. But I will tell you that in the book I'm working on, a couple come into a store where one of my character works. The man pays with a black American Express card, his last name is Parry. With him are his wife, ten year old daughter and two smaller adopted children... both African American.
And the absolute best part of this whole book review?? I get to give away 3 (that's right THREE) copies of this book to 3 (yes THREE) lucky winners!!! (obviously, one book each, lol). The very generous people at Hatchett Book Group have been so good to me and my readers!!!
Here's How It Works:
A Few Rules: (per Hatchette Book Group)
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Disclaimer: Although I did receive a free copy of this book for review, I was in no other way compensated to post this review. These are my real impressions of the book.
If you are an author or publisher and you would like for me to review your book, please contact me directly: polsen11[at]comcast[dot]net