Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This One is Mine

Publisher's Summary. 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.

Answering the question of what happens after “happily ever after” is This One is Mine by Maria Semple. The novel follows the lives of two women: Violet Parry, a “have” as in have a rich husband, beautiful toddler, elaborate mansion with a full household staff, and lots of free time; and Sally Parry, Violet’s sister-in-law and a “have not” as in no money, husband, mansion/wait staff or copious leisure hours. Neither woman is happy with her lot in life. Violet is at loose ends, because although she loves her daughter, being a mom it isn’t enough. Moreover, her husband David, the ultra powerful music industry executive, treats her like an incompetent servant. Meanwhile Sally will do anything to have Violet’s life. She pines for a deep pocketed hubby who can pay off her crushing credit card debt and score invitations to Hollywood’s A list parties.

Both women resolve to change their lives in all the wrong ways. After a chance encounter, Violet embarks on an affair with a broke, hepatitis C infected, recovering addict, musician Teddy Reyes. Fate, on the other hand, has little to do with Sally’s elaborate plans to snare in matrimony, Jeremy White, a man she barely knows and doesn’t love, but who will soon be a rich and famous sportscaster.

This One is Mine is a witty send up of LA life while simultaneously unfolding an intricate story of complex people making very poor choices. Neither woman is particularly likeable. Nor are the men any more appealing with the loser-jerk Teddy and the Scarface quoting type A David. Amazingly, however, by the story’s conclusion I was rooting for the whole gang! In spite of or maybe because of the bad decisions, the characters gain a bit of insight by the end of the novel. Along the way Semple satirizes the lifestyles of Hollywood’s rich and clueless.

This One is Mine is a smartly written and hilarious debut novel!

Publisher: Back Bay Books (March 24, 2010), 320 pages.
Advance Review Copy Provided Courtesy of the Publisher.


  1. I enjoyed this book, too! I was glad I don't have lots of money and live in LA after I read it, though.

  2. I won this book but I haven't read it yet!

  3. Good review, sounds like something I could read