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3.4 out of 5 stars
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3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 16 August 2014
I absolutely loved Maria Semple's previous novel 'Where Did You Go Bernadette?', which is a skilfully crafted portrait of a marriage on the brink. 'This One Is Mine' deals with similar issues of love and marriage, this time set in LA. Violet is married to David, and although they are very rich indeed, all is not well. New mother Violet sees only sadness in the world until she meets a down and out ex-junkie, Teddy. Meanwhile Sally, David's tall, blonde ballet teacher sister, is desperate to marry well and thinks she has found the perfect man. Unfortunately for Sally, the man isn't as emotionally connected to Sally, or the world, as Sally would wish him to be.

Although the plot of 'This One Is Mine' weaves between backstory and the present at quite a pace, with moments of hilarity and deep insight, I didn't have same kind of affinity with the characters as those in 'Bernadette'. Both of the central love stories in this book seemed weak and unbelievable - and the female lead annoyed me with her inability to deal with her situation.

I believe this novel was written before 'Bernadette', so I hope Semple's next novel will be of the same quality as 'Bernadette'.
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on 4 January 2016
I came to this after enjoying Where D'You Go Bernadette? I loved every page and thought her plotting downright brilliant in that although she was writing about a whole range of weirdo LA characters, the psychology of each of them was entirely convincing all the way through. It's ages since I stayed up after midnight, reading. (I'm no spring chicken.) But this one did it for me. It's funny, funny, funny - and oh, so, so clever.
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on 2 April 2014
My copy had some upside-down print and so I was given a full refund by the seller! I would not let go of my copy now, defective or not.

I liked this and could not put it down. In places it is just as wacky and funny as Bernadette, and although it takes place in the crazy world of LA, it feels somehow more real and serious than Bernadette. And better structured.
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on 21 July 2017
A very good read.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 August 2014
Now please don't go thinking (as I did) that this is the second book by Where'd You Go, Bernadette author Maria Semple. This One is actually Semple's debut novel, 're-packaged' and artfully presented to us almost as if it's her latest book, when in fact it was first published in 2008. Maria Semple's razor-sharp dialogue snaps and fizzes but for me - and it's a big but - it's simply not in the same league as Where'd You Go, Bernadette.

Whereas Bernadette is an original multi-layered read with an engaging protagonist, this is just a ho-hum story of two rather dislikeable women in sunny LA: Violet, the privileged wife and mother who has everything - including ennui. And her sister-in-law Sally, a scheming husband-hunter who hides her vulnerability under her carefully-controlled perfect figure. That's about it. There are a couple of big 'set pieces', both pretty lame, and some grunts of amusement rather than any real out-and-out laughs. You certainly won't find anything profound.

It's interesting to compare the two books as it shows just how much Semple has developed as a writer. Also interesting to compare the two characters of Violet and Sally in this earlier book; the author plays with our perceptions of these two women throughout the story but they're hard to warm to and one wonders why Semple chose to write about them. As they say in the States, go figure.
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on 24 August 2014
If you liked Where'd you go Bernadette you will love this! I think it's even better - definitely more of a page turner!
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Violet Parry lives in LA with her wealthy rock manager husband David, baby daughter Dot and nanny, LadyGo. David is much admired, successful and driven – while Violet has given up her career as an Emmy-winning writer after the birth of her daughter, has plunged her entire savings into the house she wanted to refurbish and now feels trapped by her home, motherhood and marriage. Meanwhile, David’s sister Sally lives as a ballet workout trainer, organises children’s parties, struggles with debt and diabetes and is desperately on the lookout for a wealthy husband. Both Violet and Sally will have their entire lives changed by a man. Sally by Jeremy White, the up and coming sports caster, and Violet by a chance meeting with Teddy Reyes; bass player, alcoholic and definitely not financially in her league.

I imagine that many people will struggle with this book, as the characters are not immediately sympathetic. David appears brash and insensitive, frankly Violet seems to have nothing to complain about, and Sally seems so one-minded about marrying a successful man that she comes across as more than a little crazed by material desire and a quest for security regardless of the cost. However, this is a novel which is worth persevering with, as it has so much more depth than first appears to be the case.

As Violet falls bewildering in love with Teddy Reyes, she stands on the brink of losing her marriage, family and lifestyle. Sally, meanwhile, plots and plans for Jeremy to propose and give her the success and wealth she craves. The author paints a less than flattering portrait of LA and its citizens, although, of course, beneath the surface people are far more complicated than they first appear. Despite appearances, both David and Jeremy are both more complex and resilient than Violet and Sally realise, and there will be many twists and turns before the end of the book. I began unsure of whether I would enjoy the storyline and characters – but, by the end, I was sorry to finish. This would be ideal for reading groups, with so much to discuss. Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, for review.
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on 20 August 2014
I loved "Bernadette" and would go so far as to say it's one of my favourite ever novels. I've given up on "This one is mine" less than half way through. There is nothing interesting about these shallow, self-absorbed, even pathetic characters. There is no-one to like, and nothing redeeming about them. I agree with a previous reviewer in that it's hard to see why Semple chose to write about them at all. Do not expect from this the same as what's in the pages of "Where d'you go Bernadette". That, I highly recommend, this one I'd skip.
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on 26 December 2014
Where to begin? If you liked where'd you go Bernadettte, I'd be very surprised indeed if you liked this. I bought it thinking it was her second novel but it is actually her first, re-released I think. If I was her, I would not have bothered. Poorly written, characters that are hard to give a damn about, ugly story - and should definitely be entered for the bad sex award.
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on 30 June 2015
Took me half way to get into this book. Then when I did get into it, it went no where. A seriously disappointing ending. It's like she didn't know how to end it and so it just ends. Not worth the read. Disappointing considering I really enjoyed the 'where did you go Bernadette Fox' book.
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