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This One Is Mine: A Novel Paperback – March 24, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former television producer and writer Semple (Arrested Development; Mad About You) bashes Hollywood celebrity, New Age nonsense and struggling relationships in this smart and funny debut. Violet Parry, who puts aside a TV writing career to have a baby and take care of the sumptuous L.A. home of her legendary impresario hubby, David, scratches a seven-year itch with D-list rocker Teddy Reyes. Yet Violet is hardly ready for the roller-coaster ride with a man who thinks only "about my rent and my car and getting laid and staying sober." Meanwhile, David's conniving sister, Sally, sets out to snag a rich husband, training her sights on Jeremy, a robotic sports-stats genius with a promising TV career. In one of the most hilarious sendups of New Age claptrap, David figures out if he's willing to stick around to see where Violet's wild ride will take them. Semple's takes are tack sharp as her delightful cast is driven comically and tragically ever deeper into a culture of artifice. Semple obviously knows her turf, and she does an exquisite job of stomping all over it. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Critics had mixed reactions to Semple's debut novel. While some appreciated the social commentary and satire, others were not impressed by far-fetched plot twists and cliched characters. Teddy, in particular, seemed to have few redeeming qualities, which made Violet's behavior incomprehensible. Though Semple, writing with wit and warmth, gives readers a fascinating insider's view of Hollywood, USA Today saw too much of a sitcom in the novel. Other critics pointed out that This One Is Mine, because of its unexpectedly poignant character development and themes of compassion, understanding, and redemption, is no made-for-TV movie. With its fast-paced plot, laugh-out-loud shenanigans, and touching conclusion, this novel will charm readers who can forgive a new novelist's few missteps.
Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (March 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031603133X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316031332
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Maria Semple wrote for the television shows Arrested Development, Ellen and Mad About You. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker and The Los Angeles Times. She lives in Seattle.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I couldn't resist reading this book, partly because first-time novelist Maria Semple also wrote for several of my favorite sitcoms (Mad About You, Arrested Development) and partly because the novel was described to me as a "modern-day Anna Karenina." Unlike Tolstoy's tragedy, however, This One is Mine is more of a bitter, black comedy.

Although the story is mostly told from the perspective of Violet Parry, a rich, unhappy wife who hasn't seemed to be able to bounce back and find purpose to her life since the birth of her first child over a year ago, the book actual opens from a different point of view, that of Violet's husband, David, a successful music executive. Neither are portrayed as sympathetic figures, and then we are introduced to David's sister, Sally, a conniving woman whose sole purpose in life seems to be to marry a rich husband. Thus, none of the three main characters is particularly likeable, which made it difficult for me to get through the earlier parts of the novel in particular.

Surprisingly, however, Semple managed to hold my interest in the story; although I repeatedly found myself frustrated with her characters, I was also eager to discover what happened to them next. So, I found that the plot of the book did give it some momentum, and in the end, I did find it fairly entertaining; I would give it a final rating of about 3 1/2 stars. Although dark comedies are not my preferred genre, Semple certainly writes well, and I would be interested to see what else she produces in the future.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Sheri S. VINE VOICE on December 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"This One Is Mine" completely took me by surprise and I mean that in a good way. Violet Parry has the successful husband, the adorable baby girl, a luxurious mansion in Los Angeles and staff who can cater to her every whim. Beyond the facade of a privileged lifestyle, Violet feels completely alone. Her husband David is a music producer who works all of time and doesn't understand her needs. She longs for a connection and is almost desperate for attention and love, when along comes Teddy Reyes, a scruffy bass player, who is wrong for her in every way. It is clear there is chemistry between them and so they begin a really unconventional affair. Then there is complicated and neurotic Sally, David's younger sister, who has her heart set on socially awkward Jeremy. These characters are all eccentric and lost in their own little way. It takes a number of difficult and often hilarious (but only for the reader) events to teach them the important lessons in life and where their priorities should lie. This book is so much more than a desperate housewife seeking an affair and a single woman seeking companionship. This is one of those dark comedies that forces you to read in between the lines and extract deeper meaning. The plot takes some strange turns but the ending seemed perfect and almost poetic to me.

This book is incredibly compelling in a quiet way. I enjoyed Semple's zany humor and vulgar language aside, it was an enjoyable read. Semple has such a vivid imagination enabling me to easily envision the characters' peculiarities and find something relatable about each one of them. This is one of those off-beat books that is unexpected and can elicit laughter from even the most subtle humor. I loved how unique this book was and though some may find it too unconventional, it worked for me.

[...]
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Sheila A. Dechantal on September 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
Violet Parry is bored. She is bored with what her life has become. Once vibrant and full of life (her rock and roll manager husband David used to call her "Ultra Violet") Violet is now a stay at home mom. Sure, life is good, she hand-picked the house they live in and money is certainly not an issue, but Violet has lost her zip. Their toddler Dot has become an anchor holding her back from living, and she still has not lost the baby weight around her middle... and possible her thighs... and for sure her rump... and David? Well David is busy being David. Closing deals, running around the country.....

So when Violet meets Teddy, small time rock and roller with a bad boy image who seems to take an interest in Violet, she suddenly recalls a bit of her old spark...

Then there is Sally, David's sister who is determined to land the perfect husband on her schedule. When her eyes land on Jeremy who she foresees hitting the big time soon, she sets her plan in motion. FAST motion... as in she has given herself a few weeks to meet (yeah, did I mention they had not met yet?), fall in love and get the ring... er, I mean get married.

Both women throw caution to the wind and disaster awaits around every corner.

So... This One Is Mine. It has been a long long time since I have disliked a book so fully. From the very beginning I found Violet to be spoiled and selfish... yes, I agree her marriage needed work - but she never gave it the opportunity to work. Poor poor Violet *laced with sarcasm*

And then there was Sally. Almost more unlikable then Violet. Almost. Depends on the chapter. Selfish and determined to have her way no matter who was in her path.
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