I was elated to sit down with an autographed copy of Today Will Be Different. I loved Maria Semple’s other book Where’d You Go Bernadette, a novel that falls into the rare category of books I would read again and again, and recommend to everyone. I’ve come to love Semple’s female protagonists: women who are sort of crazy, but also easy for me to identify with. Semple gave the same great character traits to the protagonist here.
While reading, I found myself nodding in agreement with Eleanor Flood as she expressed her emotions and thoughts. Eleanor was a neurotic, but normal woman struggling to deal with life. Yet, what this novel had in spirit and characters, it lacked in plot. Eleanor was pulled from her day of superficial tasks when her son, Timby, faked a stomach ache. Timby ended up as her sidekick to a lunch with a former colleague, and while Timby’s outbursts were comical, the luncheon was a bit dull. Halfway through the day, Eleanor discovered her husband wasn’t at work, but had told his staff his family was vacationing for the week.
I was a little disappointed with where these plots went, or rather didn’t go. The stories should have made one great larger plot, but they didn’t come together very well. Instead, the story felt choppy, as if Semple had a few interesting ideas and tried to string them together to form a novel. In the end, I was confused about how to feel toward Eleanor. Her commentary was witty, but her days didn’t seem so horrible that she couldn’t get through them.
There were a lot of funny scenes and smart dialogue, but this wasn’t even in the same category as Where’d You Go Bernadette. Semple just set expectations too high, but I still intend to read her books just in case she can capture lightning in a bottle twice.