Book Reviews

This One is Mine by Maria Semple | Book Review

This One is Mine by Maria Semple | Book Review This One Is Mine by Maria Semple
Genres: Fiction, American Literature
Original Publication Date: 2010
Source: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Find the Author: Website, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram

In This One Is Mine, 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 a 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.

This One is Mine by Maria Semple examines the seemingly glamorous marriage and lifestyle of Violet and David Parry.

This One Is Mine

Violet Parry is married to David Parry, an extremely successful rock band manager. They have a beautiful little daughter, Dot. They are very rich and have a glamorous lifestyle that most people would envy.

But Violet is desperately unhappy. She seems to be suffering from prolonged post-partum depression, and her mansion has become a gilded cage.

David has become increasingly frustrated with her depression and has become quite angry with her.

He doesn’t listen to her or asks for her opinions, and never asks her how she really Her opinions seem worthless to him. He seems to be deliberately cruel.

It’s very upsetting to Violet because they had a very close marriage for a long time.

She gained quite a bit of weight during her pregnancy, thus exacerbating her depression. She is ripe for the attention of another man.

Violet Is Attracted To Another Man

His name is Teddy Reyes, and he is a small-time bass player. I’ll admit that I never cared for Teddy, who spews racist remarks and seems to be incapable of telling the truth or being faithful to those who love him. He is the exact opposite of David, who is extremely responsible and loyal to his family.

Violet is immediately attracted to Teddy, probably because he actually listens to her. She may also be attracted to the bad-boy side of Teddy because he has long-standing drug and alcohol addictions.

Teddy was more interested in shooting up than in his career and is now penniless. Violet knows instantly that she wants to have an affair, and fantasizes about the life they will have together.

It never occurs to her that Teddy may not be as smitten with her as he is with drugs. However, there is a strong physical attraction between them.

The other major character is David’s sister, Sally, who at first seems to be rather trashy. She sets her sights on Jeremy, a man who looks like a sure bet for sportscasting stardom. She seduces him within moments of meeting him.

Sally manages to get him to the altar, but then makes a series of huge errors to make her life very complicated. Sally is a diabetic former ballerina, and while it seems that she is trying to marry a soon-to-be rich man for his money, I suspect that Sally really feels unloved and insecure, and just wants someone to love

Violet’s affair with Teddy has huge ramifications for all of the other characters, in ways that she could never have foreseen. David finds out about the affair, and the surprising way he handles the situation was a turning point in the book (at least for me).

Final Analysis

This book has characters suffering from various ailments. These include diabetes, Asperger Syndrome, Hepatitis C,  and drug addiction. These are not mere plot devices, but crucial to the development of the story.

All of these are very serious diseases, but the book’s dark comic undertone sets the plot racing along, especially in the last few chapters, where the pace seems to really pick up to a satisfying finish.

In case you’re thinking of reading a superficial novel about Hollywood, this is not it! When I first started reading the novel, I didn’t like some of the characters. They seemed like self-involved and shallow Hollywood types. But then Maria Semple surprises you, and all of her characters become real people who just happen to live in Los Angeles.

Maria Semple was a television writer for many years. She wrote for the shows Arrested Development, Mad About You, and Ellen. Her knowledge of show business and of Hollywood forms the basis for her first novel: This One is Mine. Her novel is a tragi-comic tour de force.

I don’t want to give away the entire plot of the book because I want you to enjoy reading it yourself!

Here is a video of Maria Semple reading excerpts from the novel:

You can read more about this book here.

Please read my review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

Thank you for reading The Literary Lioness!

About Maria Semple

Maria Semple is the author of This One Is Mine, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and Today Will Be Different. Her work has been translated into over twenty-five languages. Before turning to fiction, she wrote for the television shows Arrested Development, Ellen, and Mad About You.

I love books, writing, film, and television.

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