Interrupted by Books: Today will be different

Today will be Different, by Maria Semple, is a wonderful book! I have to interrupt going on more about Simeon and Anna and baby Jesus at the temple to praise this book. I thought it was just going to be another modern family story: Eleanor and Joe had a perfect life, with their son Timby, when …..mental trouble, physical trouble, emotional trouble, you  name it, one of the “troubles” would descend and mess things up. Instead something else entirely happens, a whole new future is suddenly there. To say too much would be to entirely spoil the story.

It is funny. It is heartbreaking. It is so true to life in spots! Eleanor, mostly our narrator, seems both so real and so awful and so cool. I liked her more and more as the story rolls on. While in a way the action of the story takes place in just one day — a day she wakes up determined to be different (she wants to be the perfect wife and mother and she doesn’t want the mess and stress of an ordinary day) — in another way the action travels to the past in memory to explain how this day came to be about. And the more she tries to be perfect, well, the more hilariously things unspool. She is definitely in “firstworldproblems” territory at first, but then, so many surprises.

Parts are told with graphics and other clever things — normally I just want my stories immersive and don’t want clever things but this totally works. It is completely integral to the story.

Absolutely a unique and delightful voice, a great story, a fast read, a surprise.


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