Violet Parry is an LA woman with everything: a successful and faithful husband, a beautiful toddler, and so much cash that she drops $300 on premium chocolate just because she feels sorry for the store. Since quitting her TV writing job though, she feels dangerously isolated in her expensive house and just might do something reckless…
Sally Parry, Violet’s sister-in-law, has just one thing on her mind (other than herself) and that is marrying a man whose star is on the rise. She has her sights set on someone, and this time, no one, especially not her chosen prey, is going to keep her from getting what she wants…
This is not the type of book I usually read, but when I heard that Author Maria Semple was a writer for the TV show Arrested Development (my favorite TV comedy of all time), I decided to give it a go. Arrested Development was not only brilliantly hilarious, it also excelled in making the viewer sympathize with characters that were extremely unlikable.
True to the Arrested Development mold, Violet, Sally and most of the supporting characters are extremely egocentric, make very bad decisions and are not the type of people you would ever want as friends. But somehow, you do end up caring about what happens to them. And yes, there are many absurdly funny scenes. There are also mentions of diseases as diverse as autism, diabetes and hepatitis C, but refreshingly, none of these are played for laughs.
I read the first few chapters aloud to Daniel and he enjoyed the authentic LA feel of the novel (he lived there for 5 years), but he said had trouble concentrating so he’ll finish it on his own (yeah, right!).
There is a heart buried deep within all this dysfunction, and I think it is perfectly expressed by the Hafiz poem Semple chose to include at the beginning of the book:
You on a slave block
And the unreal bought
Now I keep coming to your owner
“This one is mine.”
You often overhear us talking
And this can make your heart leap
I will not let sadness
I will gladly borrow all the gold
To get you
This One is Mine is available in hardcover now.