Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Review: This One is Mine & Giveaway

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. For all their recklessness, Violet and Sally will discover that David and Jeremy have a few surprises of their own. THIS ONE IS MINE is a compassionate and wickedly funny satire about our need for more--and the often disastrous choices we make in the name of happiness. -- Little Brown

I enjoyed reading THIS ONE IS MINE by Maria Semple, but I have to say that it did appeal to my "darker side." As much as I hate to admit it, I do like those Hollywood gossip shows; and if People Magazine weren't so darn expensive, I'd have a subscription. And don't even get me started on the HBO show Entourage -- I think it's a riot! I hesitate to use the word "fascinated," but I am somewhat intrigued by the whole Hollywood lifestyle. I don't think the people or the city could be any more different than my little city in Central PA. It's kind of amazing to me that people actually live like the ones in this novel.

This definitely isn't one of those novels where I related to any of the characters. If I had to choose one (cause you know how I like to feel something towards a character), I would have to say it was Violet. And that's only because she's a mom who gave up her day job to stay at home with her child. That's probably the extent of what I had in common with her unless you count the frumpy body that was still hanging around a few years after I gave birth. While I most likely wouldn't want to associate with Violet (or any of them really), they sure do make for some entertaining reading.

I understand that this novel was supposed to show the shallow nature of Los Angeles and its people -- Ms. Semple definitely did a great job of demonstrating that. And I definitely appreciated the satirical nature of the story and her writing; however, I found Violet to be so self-absorbed that I just wanted to shake her. Here she was with loads of money (everything she could ever want in a material sense) and a beautiful little girl, and she still didn't have enough to make her happy. I can understand not necessary being fulfilled with her life, but to take a chance and throw it all away for a strange man (who just happened to be a recovering drug and alcohol addict) was so stupid. And the selfish personalities in this book weren't just limited to Violet because Sally, Violet's sister-in-law, was even worse.

Overall, I found this novel to be both funny and touching at times. I also enjoyed the surprises that the author threw in towards the end of this book. While I wanted to just scream at a few of the characters because they were so shallow, this novel did demonstrate how people who seem to have everything can still be unhappy and desire more from their lives. The book also really showed how much people are willing to risk to find what they think will bring them happiness. It's a very real occurrence in today's society, albeit a very sad one. Fortunately, some of the characters do have a few redeeming moments throughout the book so the reader can't totally hate all of them.

THIS ONE IS MINE is Ms. Semple's first novel, but she is a distinguished television writer. She is a former writer for Arrested Development, Mad About You and Ellen so you can tell that she's got a great sense of humor. There were some very funny parts of this book, and one in particular when David visited a yoga retreat, where I found myself laughing out loud. I could absolutely picture David crawling around in that tent, as well as a few other scenes, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that this novel is being made into a movie.

I can't wait for the BlogTalk Radio show with Maria Semple that's taking place tomorrow (December 17th) at 1:00 p.m. EST hosted by Hachette Book Group USA/Little Brown. Ms. Semple has quite an interesting resume. You can listen to the show live and even call in with your questions. Or, if you aren't available, you can always listen to the taped show here. I've participated in quite a few of these radio shows, and I find myself liking the book even more after hearing the author speak about the book.

THIS ONE IS MINE would make a fabulous book club discussion book; and I would love to hear what my fellow book clubbers thought of this story. This book is being called a modern-day Anna Karenina story so I think it would be interesting to discuss the similarities between the characters. Although this story was larger-than-life, there are so many universal themes to talk about like honesty, marriage, adultery, happiness, ambition, greed, parenting, etc. I was happy to see that there is a terrific reading guide already available.

Does THIS ONE IS MINE sound like something you'd like to read? I just happen to have a copy of this funny novel to share with one lucky reader. Please leave a comment (with your e-mail) after this post for one entry. If you'd like another entry or two, you can blog about this contest with a link back here and/or twitter about it. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only (no P.O. boxes please.) The giveaway will be open until December 30th at 11:59 p.m. EST. Good Luck!

47 comments:

Jill said...

Great review...I just finished this, and your comments are dead on. Definitely can't relate to the characters, but it's an amusing book. Even when I was turned off, I felt compelled to keep reading.

bermudaonion said...

Don't enter me - I have the book. I just wanted to say great review - I'll be embarrassed to post mine tomorrow.

Ramya said...

great review! please do enter me for the giveaway.. want to read this one now.:)
ramyasbookshelf(at)gmail(dot)com

Jo-Jo said...

Nice review. I felt the same way when reading this...that it kind of touched your dark side...that is a good way to put it. No need to enter me as I also have a giveaway for this book.

ddurance said...

Sounds interesting, sign me up!

Deidre
deidre_durance at hotmail dot com

S. Krishna said...

No need to enter me, but I've got this on my shelf. Thanks for the review!

Karin said...

I enjoyed reading the review. I'd love to be entered in your giveaway. Thank you.

LazyDaisy0413 said...

This book sounds like something I'd like. Please enter me. Thanks.

mparke[at]shaw[dot]ca

planetbooks said...

Please thrown my name in the hat for this book!

kristi said...

Please enter my name in for the drawing - this sounds like a book that I would like.

Thanks
Kristi
kherbrand(at)comcast(dot)net

The Pajama Queen Knits said...

Sounds good. Sign me up for the contest.

The Pajama Queen Knits said...

Sounds good. Sign me up for the contest.

carolsnotebook said...

This sounds like something I'd enjoy reading. Please enter me.

Gwendolyn B. said...

I'd like to read you - your review won me over. Thanks for the chance!
geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

traveler said...

thanks for this great review. It sounds unique and compelling.
elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

ChristyJan said...

Your review has made me definitely want to read THIS ONE IS MINE.
Please enter me to win a copy.

hawkes(at)citlink.net

AmandaSue said...

Sounds like a good book, please enter me thank you!

unforgetable_dreamer_always AT hotmail (dot) com

Bridget said...

I've posted on Win A Book. No need to enter contest.

Anya said...

Thanks for the chance to win!

bridget3420 said...

Thanks for the chance to win this book! Happy Holidays!

bridget3420(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sara said...

Enter me, please! I blogged about it at SMbooks.blogspot.com

Thanks!
Sararush at hotmail dot com

Stephanie said...

This looks great! I'm searching for new titles for our bookclub and I will definitely put this one up for discussion! Thanks

daq_17 at hotmail dot com

Valorie said...

I would love to read this one! Maybe to remind me how much there is to value in my own life. :P I need that right now.

I also blogged about this contest here:
http://morbid-romantic.net/2008/12/15/book-giveaways-1215-1221

Valorie
morbidromantic@gmail.com

Lalaland said...

This sounds like a great book.

ttt1612 AT yahoo DOT com

ellie said...

Please enter me. I secretly love Hollywood gossip, and this sounds like a great read.

Director said...

I love laughing when I read and this sounds like a lot of fun. Please enter me. lauri(at)unicorncom(dot)net

Julie said...

Sounds great...please enter me! I also put your giveaway on my blog:)
http://julyso4463.blogspot.com/

cpullum said...

Wow count me in I would love to read this book!
Carla
cpullum(at)yahoo(dot)com

A Real Librarian said...

Great review!! I'd love to read it!

areallibrarian[at]gmail[dot]com

Kaye said...

Great review- I think you're right, you wouldn't want to hang around with these people but you sure like to read about them. Please enter me in the contest. Thanks and have a nice holiday.

Kaye said...

oops, forgot my e mail
florida982002[at]yahoo[dot]com

dawn said...

I loved the show *Mad About You*, so I think I'd like to read more of Semple's writing.

The one place I tend to put my own book aside and read the magazines in the waiting room is at the dentist ... they always have People magazine and it's a guilty pleasure!

Thanks for the opportunity
dawn[dot]rennert[at]verizon [dot] net

windycindy said...

It would be fun to read about these two sisters and their exploits! A fun read, but sounds like a message to the reader is in there. Please enter my name in your drawing. Many thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

The Giveaway Diva said...

wow sounds like a good book! would love to win! and great review too!!

nicolemarielum(at)gmail.com

Kate said...

wow i would love to read this book! sounds awesoem!! thanks so much!!

glittergurl04(at)hotmail.com

Michelle said...

great review! i'd love a chance to win this awesome book!

papalum(at)hotmail(dot)com

mindy said...

sounds like a good read thanks for the contest minsthins(at)optonline(dot)net

Shelly said...

You have me intrigued. Thanks

alexandrea said...

I love books like this too! Keeps me from having to watch real gossip on TV shows or in tabloids cause that stuff makes me feel bad about being curious! Thanks for the giveaway.

Candie said...

How fun. I like the idea we can leave our typical lives behind and get lost in one we only dream about

candieluster(at)gmail(dot)com

Lynne said...

Sounds like a good read. Please enter me and thanks for the contest.

Tara said...

First, let me say, you write great reviews!! I would love an opportunity to read this book. boomdier181 AT gmail dot com

Diana said...

Am an avid reader and would enjoy winning the book

Diana said...

Being an avid winner I would love to win the book in your giveaway

Luck Happens said...

I'd love to win a funny novel...what a great way to start the new year!

kellifrobinson2 AT gmail DOT com

Luck Happens said...

I promoted your giveaway here: http://www.luck-happens.com/december-30.html.

kellifrobinson2 AT gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great review of my novel. I really appreciate it and LOVE your blog.
xo
Maria Semple
www.mariasemple.com