I loved Semple’s Where’d You Go Bernadette but was disappointed by This One is Mine; My feelings for Semple’s third novel, Today Will Be Different, falls squarely in the middle.
“Today will be different. Today I will be present. Today, anyone I speak to, I will look them in the eye and listen deeply. Today I’ll play a board game with Timby. I’ll initiate sex with Joe. Today I will take pride in my appearance. I’ll shower, get dressed in proper clothes, and change into yoga clothes only for yoga, which today I will actually attend. Today I won’t swear. I won’t talk about money. Today there will be an ease about me. My face will be relaxed, its resting place a smile. Today I will radiate calm. Kindness and self-control will abound. Today I will buy local. Today I will be my best self, the person I’m capable of being. Today will be different.”
Today Will Be Different focuses on another upper middle class, artistic woman having a bit of a mental breakdown in Seattle. Eleanor Flood decides to start living her life more in the present, beginning by having lunch with a friend she dislikes. I did like the choice to have the novel be just one day in the Flood family’s life; there are also a series of flashbacks about meeting her husband, her upbringing and her time working as an animator on a popular TV show. The most revealing of these flashbacks include Eleanor and her younger sister, Ivy, and the dissolution of their relationship.
Eleanor picks her son (Timby!) up early from school and takes him to her husband’s office where she is surprised to find out he has told his staff the family will be out of town for the week. We follow Eleanor down the rabbit hole which includes meeting up with a former coworker, a phone call with her publisher and a set of stolen keys. Unlike Bernadette, Eleanor seems more mean spirited and the payoff for the husband’s secret was not worth the Eleanor antics the reader endures.