Eleanor knows she's a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. Read more...
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ProductsMore About Today Will Be Different by Maria SempleOverviewA brilliant novel from the author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette, about a day in the life of Eleanor Flood, forced to abandon her small ambitions and awake to a strange, new future.
Eleanor knows she's a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won't swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action-life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother's company. It's also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office-but not Eleanor-that he's on vacation. Just when it seems like things can't go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir whose dramatic tale threatens to reveal a buried family secret.
TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT is a hilarious, heart-filled story about reinvention, sisterhood, and how sometimes it takes facing up to our former selves to truly begin living.
From our buyer, Margaret Terwey: "Have you ever had one of those one-thing-after-another days? One of those days when all those careful plans are thrown out the window? Then this novel is for you. Maria Semple delivers a funny, touching, and invigorating story with all the wit and style you'd expect from the author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette?"
- ISBN-13: 9780316403436
- ISBN-10: 0316403431
- Publisher: Little Brown and Company
- Publish Date: October 2016
- Page Count: 272
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds
Related CategoriesPublishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-07-11
- Reviewer: Staff
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.)BookPage Reviews
A hilarious and pivotal day in the life of an American everywoman
Eleanor Flood is tired of being tired. She wakes up in her trendy Seattle neighborhood already counting down to bedtime. A former artist for a “Simpsons”-esque TV show, she is stumped professionally and stuck personally. “I’m looking worse by the day,” she laments. “I’m all jowly. My back is dry. My core strength is nonexistent. Really, I’m hanging by a thread.”
But, as she declares on the very first page, today will be different. She will play with her sweet son, Timby. She will radiate calm and go to yoga class. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe.
Reader, the day does not exactly go as planned. Timby fakes an illness to get picked up early from his tony private school (in a fun nod to Semple fans, he attends Galer Street School). Eleanor runs into an old colleague who brings some long-suppressed family secrets to the surface. And when she goes to surprise Joe at his office, his receptionist informs her that he is on vacation.
Eleanor spends her day unraveling the mystery of where Joe is spending his days, while also facing her hurtful childhood and estrangement from her beloved sister. She may not make it to yoga, but the day is a major turning point in Eleanor’s life, one in which she realizes she has to deal with her past to carve out a better future.
Semple—the author, of course, of the incomparable Where’d You Go, Bernadette—is second to none in humorous fiction. Her heroines are deeply flawed but totally relatable, and Eleanor is no exception. Today Will Be Different is filled with transcendent moments of humanity, reminders that while we all can aspire to improve, sometimes it’s OK to just appreciate what is already in front of us.