I just, just finished reading Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple. She’s most widely known for Where’d You Go, Bernadette? which is a really fun and interesting and quirky story of a mom gone missing. I wasn’t sure what I expected in Today Will Be Different, and I was initially disappointed in the first third of the book. She starts off with a paragraph full of simple hopes for the day like, “Today I will buy local,” and “I won’t talk about money.” After introducing the goals of the day, Semple introduces us to a a woman who loves her husband and son, but is disappointed with herself and her life in humorously detailed ways. We go through the whole day with her and see present, past, and a glimpse of her future.
The book really hits its stride, though, when we get the long-awaited back story and start seeing Eleanor as a more than a mother and wife but as an artist, a sister, and a friend. The thing that really gets me is the outrageous thoughts and actions and unspeakable distilled into words that leave you laughing and nodding and feeling like you are being confided in by one of the most interesting people you’ve met. Don’t get me wrong, if you were friends with Eleanor, she’d drive you nuts, but she’s special and says what she thinks and is the a great character for you to enjoy and marvel at in a novel because in real life, you’d never get a word in.
If that doesn’t make you want to read it, then maybe you’ve watched Mad About You on Lifetime when you were home sick from school, and you thought it was hilarious. In which case, the fact that Maria Semple helped write it will make you say, “Oh, yeah! I loved that show. She’s good.”
Or maybe not. Either way, the book is sincere and surprisingly tender.