This One is Mine, by Maria Semple

This One Is Mine by Maria Semple: Book CoverFinished 3-28-10, rating 4.5/5, fiction, pub. 2008

He spotted Violet – she had said she’d be the one wearing red plastic sandals – sitting on the sidewalk in the ticket holders’ line, engrossed in the New York Times, and listening to a Walkman.  Two movie were tucked under her leg.  She wasn’t a knockout, but wasn’t fat either, and had a face you wanted to look into.  She turned the page of the business section and folded it, then folded it again.  An artsy chick who read the business section?  Who was responsible enough to have arrived early and bought tickets?  With enough Ivy League pluck to sit on a dirty sidewalk and not care who saw her?  It was done and done.  He had to have her.  As he stepped forward, she absent mindedly twisted her long hair off her neck.  That’s when he first glimpsed the tatoo behind her ear, teasing him from the edge of her hairline.  He found it wildly sexy.  But something inside him sank.  He knew then there’d be a part of her he’d never possess.

Chapter One

Violet has what most women dream of, a rich and important husband, a child, no job, and people she pays to make her life easier.  So, when Violet has a chance encounter in a bathroom with a down on his luck musician, her life takes a surprising turn.  She becomes a bit obsessed with the sex-addicted, alcoholic and life at home becomes more unbearable for her.  Teddy awakes a spark in her that had been missing.

Violet’s husband David is real jerk.  He treats her badly and is a self-proclaimed asshole, but when it becomes clear that Violet may be cheating on him he manages to show another side, one with feelings and regrets.  David’s sister Sally, is the third messed up person in this story who only cares about landing a rich husband, no matter the consequences.

 I really loved this book. For the better part of the book these people are easy to dislike.  Violet is a whiner, David is a jerk, and Sally is only concerned with herself.  But somehow as we learn their motivations and see the way they react to life you realize they are wonderfully flawed.  In most people you start with the perfect image and the more you learn the less there is to like, but it worked the opposite way in this book.   I was hoping that by the end I might grow to love or appreciate Teddy too, but that didn’t happen for me, but that didn’t take any of the enjoyment away.  The writing was superb and I look forward to more from this debut author. 

This book was sent to me by the publisher.  Come back on Friday for my interview with Maria.