Book Review

Today Will Be Different


I loved Where’d You Go, Bernadette.  So when I saw that the author, Maria Semple, had a new book out, I was psyched.  I promptly bought and read it.  I was mightily disappointed.

For one thing, the book is short.  In theory, this can be a plus.  I mean, to be able to read a satisfying book in a relatively short amount of time is a gift, right?  Yes.  But only if the book is satisfying.  Today Will Be Different was not, which leads to my other points.

The story takes place over the course of a single day, which just doesn’t allow time for development.  I kept waiting for the plot to grab me.  Only there wasn’t much of a plot.

Typical of Semple’s style, this book was clever and witty.  And clever and witty.  And clever and witty.  Honestly?  Clever and witty took the place of plot.  From the start, this book felt more like a series of one-liners strewn together.

Maybe it’s a generational thing.  As I struggled through the crucial opening pages of the book, I began wondering whether the humor was meant for someone under forty.  Every so often I did smile, but my smile faded fast.  The characters were quirky, manic, never quite there.  I found little interesting in their stories.  And the final plot twist felt like a cop-out.

Maria Semple is a talented woman.  Perhaps the success of Where’d You Go, Bernadette did her in?  Either that, or it did in her publishers, who saw fit to put the Bernadette logo on the front of this new book.  Talent, style, logo – all felt misplaced.


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