Today Will Be Different

Maria Semple. Little, Brown, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-40343-6
On the fateful day she decides to be her “best self,” Eleanor Flood—cult-famous cartoonist, mother, wife, cynic—spirals from one catastrophe to the next. Her day quickly turns hectic when her son, Timby, comes home sick from school. Hoping his father might help, Eleanor instead begins to suspect her surgeon husband is having an affair when his receptionist acts cagey. Eleanor’s ego is bruised when she realizes an underling she fired years ago is now a famous artist, she dodges calls from her publisher about a long-passed deadline for her graphic memoir, and, finally, she suffers what may be a concussion after crashing headfirst into a sculpture. The latest from Semple (Where’d You Go, Bernadette?) is a sharp, funny read, and the author injects quirky elements—drawings, a comic book, photocopies of poems—to add another layer of enjoyment. Though Eleanor is snarky, her troubles and growing calamities are engaging. Some of her encounters are a bit too convenient, and the trope of a “day from hell” makes for shallow interactions between characters, but Semple augments these first-person antics with third-person sections that dig deep into Eleanor’s past, finding particular resonance when telling the story of Ivy, the sister Eleanor feels she has lost to a wealthy husband in New Orleans. In the end, the novel wraps up too neatly, but the ride is consistently entertaining. Agent: Anna Stein, ICM Partners. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/11/2016
Release date: 10/04/2016
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-2762-4
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-316-39671-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-4230-6
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-316-40344-3
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4789-7193-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-1622-2
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-316-40345-0
Prebound-Glued - 288 pages - 978-0-606-40358-0
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