Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
Today Will Be Different – A brilliant novel from the author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, about a day in the life of Eleanor Flood, forced to abandon her small ambitions and awake to a strange, new future.
Eleanor knows she’s a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won’t swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action-life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother’s company. It’s also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office-but not Eleanor-that he’s on vacation. Just when it seems like things can’t go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir whose dramatic tale threatens to reveal a buried family secret.
Today Will Be Different is a hilarious, heart-filled story about reinvention, sisterhood, and how sometimes it takes facing up to our former selves to truly begin living.
A day in the life of an enchanting and gifted woman who is almost too frazzled to go on.
The women on the verge of a nervous breakdown, the mad housewives, and the Annie Halls can welcome a new member to their club: Eleanor Flood, the narrator of Semple’s (Where’d You Go Bernadette, 2012, etc.) second sendup of Seattle and its denizens. Eleanor, formerly a New Yorker and the animator of a popular cartoon about four girls in “ ’60’s style pinafores” misdirecting “their unconscious fear of puberty into a random hatred of hippies, owners of pure-bred dogs and babies named Steve,” lives in Seattle with her sweet Seahawks doctor husband and her precocious, makeup-wearing third-grade son. Timby goes to Galer Street School, an ultra–PC environ familiar to Bernadette fans, where Eleanor imagines his arrival was greeted with delighted cries of “Eureka! We’ve got a transgender!” This book is so packed with interesting characters and situations, it could have been three times as long. You want more New Orleans Garden District (where Eleanor’s sister has been kidnapped by an effete Mardi Gras krewe captain), more New York animation studio, more poignant childhood stories (dead actress mother and alcoholic father, illustrated in a beautiful color insert), more annotated poems (Skunk Hour, by Robert Lowell). Only one thing you don’t want more of—a weird plotline about husband Joe’s secret life. As Eleanor tells Timby when they visit a public art installation, “I don’t mean to ruin the ending for you, sweet child, but life is one long headwind. To make any kind of impact requires self-will bordering on madness. The world will be hostile, it will be suspicious of your intent, it will misinterpret you, it will pack you with doubt, it will flatter you into self-sabotage—My God, I’m making it sound so glamorous and personal! What the world is, more than anything? It’s indifferent.” Ah, Eleanor. You could have stopped at glamorous and personal. Because few will be indifferent to this achingly funny and very dear book.
This author is on her way to becoming a national treasure.
I had the uncanny feeling, while reading Today Will Be Different, that Maria Semple had somehow snuck into my house when I was asleep, took an x-ray image of my heart, then painted it by hand in neon colors. This book is searingly honest and hilarious and dark and neurotic. It is dizzying. Best of all, it is delicious. – Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies
Few will be indifferent to this achingly funny and very dear book. This author is on her way to becoming a national treasure. – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Today Will Be Different is so unique, so smart, so funny, so beautifully humane, so utterly of our times, it’s astonishing. I’ve scribbled exclamation points and underlined passages on almost every single page so I can go back and savor. I’ve started quoting it as if it’s already a classic–which, no doubt, it will be. – Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl and Dark Places
Bittersweet, hilarious, perceptive. – The Millions
Hilarious [and] heartwarming. – Dana Getz, Entertainment Weekly
Today will be different, Eleanor Flood tells herself, and oh baby hang on for a wild ride that’s like nothing Eleanor sees coming. In this brilliant depiction of a woman hanging on by her fingernails, Maria Semple delivers a perfect panic of a day on which the barely tolerable, muddle-through-it desperation that so many of us have known at one time or another suddenly erupts with life-shattering force. Can an existential crisis make us laugh? Such is Semple’s talent that this one does, without losing any of the punch or gravity of the hardest kinds of lived experience. – Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Equal parts smart and funny. – Jenny Comita, W
Whipsmart, dazzling, darkly comic and deeply touching. I loved it! – Marian Keyes, author of The Brightest Star in the Sky and This Charming Man
Crackling with honesty and heart. – Jarry Lee, BuzzFeed
Today Will Be Different is going to delight the many, many fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette. – Michael Merschel, Dallas Morning News
Today Will Be Different is a sublimely funny and inventive novel driven by Maria Semple’s razor-sharp observations and a voice that leaps from the page. – Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
A sharp, funny read…. Consistently entertaining. – Publishers Weekly
A smart, laugh-out-loud funny, and thoughtful novel about how we reinvent ourselves and how we need to face the truth about our lives before we can truly change. – Brenda Janowitz, PopSugar
An introspective look, both comedic and tragic, at attempting to be the best one can be. – Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal
Maria Semple is the author of This One Is Mine and Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which has been translated into eighteen languages. She lives in Seattle.
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