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This One Is Mine

3.02  ·  Rating Details ·  5,757 Ratings  ·  809 Reviews
Violet Parry is living the quintessential life of luxury in the Hollywood Hills with David, her rock-and-roll manager husband, and her darling toddler, Dot. She has the perfect life--except that she's deeply unhappy. David expects the world of Violet but gives little of himself in return. When she meets Teddy, a roguish small-time bass player, Violet comes alive, and soon ...more
ebook, 0 pages
Published December 4th 2008 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2008)
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Lisa Wolf

It's truly surprising to me how very much I disliked This One Is Mine, considering how much I loved Maria Semple's second novel, Where'd You Go, Bernadette. Maria Semple, a former TV writer for shows including Arrested Development and Mad About You, has a flair for humor and quirky use of words. These elements are apparent in This One Is Mine, but the story itself is so loaded with unlikable characters making nonsensical decisions that I read the book with feelings of detachment and apathy.

Sheila DeChantal
Sep 21, 2012 Sheila DeChantal rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Violet Parry is bored. She is bored with what her life has become. Once vibrant and full of life (her rock and roll manager husband David used to call her "Ultra Violet") Violet is now a stay at home mom. Sure, life is good, she hand-picked the house they live in and money is certainly not an issue, but Violet has lost her zip. Their toddler Dot has become an anchor holding her back from living, and she still has not lost the baby weight around her middle... and possible her thighs... and for su ...more
Sep 24, 2008 eb rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Repellent. Ludicrous plot twists, dreadful writing, and despicable characters--each and every one of whom is so poisonously racist that I can't help but wonder if Semple, like her fictional creations, is less than loving to her own army of immigrant laborers. As I was reading this turd of a novel, I had an olfactory hallucination, and actually smelled rotting garbage for a few minutes. No kidding.
Dec 29, 2012 Nic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After enjoying Where'd You Go, Bernadette so much, I decided to try Semple's earlier novel. It may be even more vivid and memorable than Bernadette. It's a strange story of a successful Hollywood couple whose relationship goes off the tracks when Violet becomes a fulltime mom - a role clearly more mundane, isolating and un-creative than people like to admit. Violet starts a relationship with a down-and-out ex-junkie musician that is believable, exhilerating and somewhat outrageous.

The parallel s
Mar 19, 2010 Bookish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In This One is Mine, Maria Semple does something remarkable - she takes what would normally be unlikeable characters and makes me care about them.

Semple is a former writer of superb t.v. shows such as Mad About You and Arrested Development, so already you know you're in good hands in terms of realistic relationships, smart dialogue, and zany situations (two words: sweat lodge - could not stop laughing!). Done, done, and done.

David Parry, a music producer in Los Angeles, at first glance seems l
Nov 17, 2008 Miriam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A modern day Anna Karenina full of fabulous houses, people and celebrities. While it's a difficult task to create pity for people with fabulous lives, Maria Semple does a great job. Perfect airport reading for your holiday journeys.
Jun 03, 2010 Staci rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
My Thoughts:
I've decided to change things up a bit with this review. First, I want to say upfront that I thought the writing was wonderful. I think Maria has a real gift and her talent is immense. Please keep that in mind, as I'm sharing my thoughts with you of this one, that I'm not attacking Semple whatsoever! I would read another book written by her in a heartbeat. I just have MAJOR ISSUES with the characters and their behaviors throughout this story. So here it goes-

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Jun 12, 2009 Ariana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not sure what to say about this one--it is between a two and a three. Well-written. I read it quickly, and wanted to know what happened with the characters, but I wouldn't totally say it was good. The novelist used to write for TV and some of the scenarios are really funny, and there are many touches of current life that are humorously worked into the plot (for example, Asperger's syndrome, food allergies, tattoos, yoga all play parts in the story). The characters are deeply flawed folks trying ...more
Jim Loter
Mar 17, 2015 Jim Loter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since this book's been out a while I don't think the world needs another recap of the plot. I liked the book a lot. I am rather fascinated, though, by reading other reviews on this site and seeing how many of them contain a variation of "I know I don't need to 'identify' with or 'like' the characters in a book, but still..." and then go on to trash the book because of the unlikable characters.

I love unlikable characters - or, I should say I love "broken" characters, which this book is full of. T
Hmm, I'm a little surprised to see this rated a 3.14 as of today because I was feeling more of a 3.5 or so. I picked this up because I enjoyed the author's Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

Just like that witty book featured a bright, somewhat eccentric female protagonist, so do her earlier novel. Autobiographical touches, anyone?

Rather than a dissaffected architect moldering in Seattle, this one has a TV writer who gave up her job to stay home with a baby and is wife to a rock manager extraordinaire. She is unaccountably depr
Jul 01, 2009 Michaelsean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must admit this a departure from my normal literary genre. This One is Mine by Maria Semple is not at all the chick lit book I thought it would be. Ms.Semple has previously written for such prestigious television shows such as Arrested Development, Mad About You, and Ellen. Now, if I am being honest, that probably worked against her for me as I did not have a positive view of any of those shows. Nor has that changed. However, the quality of her written word in this novel is impeccable. I can f ...more
Cindy Bokma
Nov 30, 2008 Cindy Bokma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I began this last night and read until the wee hours of the morning. It was just the type of book I was in the mood for. Set in Los Angeles, the story is about Violet and David Parry. They live a charmed life- a big house high in the hills of Hollywood, millions of dollars in their bank account, a nanny and fancy cars. But naturally all is not what it seems as Violet becomes increasingly depressed and finds solace in a low life ex drug addict named Teddy.

Meanwhile, Sally- David's sister, wants t
Jan 18, 2009 mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Money, power, sex, love, friendship, addiction, music, desire, disease, family, children, status--it's all here in this story of a middle-aged woman married to a high achieving man in the music industry, 21st Century, Los Angeles. Semple's dialogue scenes are perfection. She captures emotion like none other, and manages to encapsulate the scope of American culture within that context. Perfect? No. The story was broken into alternating perspectives of two female characters, sisters-in-law. I skip ...more
Jan 20, 2009 Karyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am loving this book so much. It's like a magical teleportation device that takes me, totally engrossed, all the way from Clinton-Washington to 59th St. The last two times I've made the trip with this book, I glanced up just once to check my progress and was amazed to find myself already arrived at my station!
Kristy Feltenberger
Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette was a fabulous read so I had high hopes for This One is Mine but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much. I found it difficult to relate to or like any of the characters which includes Violet Parry, a wealthy yet self-pitying, former successful TV writer and husband David, a music industry mogul, who has an anger problem and mocks Violet at every turn. His pet name for her used to be “Ultra Violet” but she’s a watered down version of her former magnetic self. A ...more
Sep 30, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Oh Ms. Semple you little minx, I just took in some of the most guiltiest of pleasures as far as reading goes. And I didn't think I would. I adored Where'd you go Bernadette? and I was kind of looking for the same voice in her debut but was turned off by the beginning. I thought oh jeeze. This is kind of cheesy and racist and snotty but something in the writing- the unique snobbery that Semple nailed brilliantly in Bernadette was still there a little in Violet.

Basically it's a tale of the Boo Ho
Aug 14, 2009 Audrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Former television sitcom writer Maria Semple offers a witty and wise look at a few individuals struggling with the California dream gone awry.

Violet Parry isn’t adjusting well to her positions of stay-at-home Mom and go-to girl for her egocentric husband, a rock-and-roll manager. Having given up a successful career as a television writer, she seems to have lost her way when she meets a scrappy young bass player, Teddy. They have an instant rapport that leads her to pay for an expensive car repa
Aug 26, 2010 Barbara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read the description of this book and decided that it was intriguing and I looked forward to reading another new author. One of the reviews described it as "wickedly funny". I must say, having finished it, I can't agree with the comment. I didn't even find it mildly humorous. It is the story of a young woman, Violet, married to a very successful man (David), living the life of an induldged "at-home" mom. She learns what is important to her after getting involved with a recovering alcoholic/dru ...more
Nov 12, 2009 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-2009
I found the characters shallow and ridiculous, and the story was pretty one-dimensional. It was hard to put down though. It was compelling in the way that a traffic accident is compelling -- you don't really want to see, but you can't help but look. Will these people really keep running toward the huge crash they are headed for?
Jul 11, 2009 Shrinkme2 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spot on characterization of modern life in L.A. The scene of the husband in a sweat lodge is laugh-out-loud funny, something that rarely happens when you're reading a book. Fast read and worth your time
Amy Bourret
Jul 23, 2009 Amy Bourret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fun, raunchy romp through the LA scene. Finally an LA book that you don't have to be an Insider to "get." The characters are not always likeable or understandable but that rawness is what makes the bookloveable - that and great writing
Brianna (The Book Vixen)
Review copy provided by publisher

This One is Mine is about the never-ending journey to find complete happiness (even when it’s staring you right in the bloody eye) and the disastrous choices made in the pursuit of that happiness.

Violet is a 40-something bored housewife. (She gave up her career as a television writer to start a family.) She’s got it all: a successful husband, David, who’s a rock-n-roll manager, a beautiful daughter, financial security, a massive house with staff, and yet she’s mi
May 17, 2010 Laurel-Rain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Violet Parry and Sally Parry have little in common, except that Violet is married to David Parry and Sally is his sister. The two are at odds through most of the story, each misunderstanding the other and resenting aspects about each other.

Violet seemingly has it all. A gorgeous house in the hills above LA; a full-time nanny; and money enough to buy almost everything she desires. So why is she so unhappy, disgruntled, and vulnerable to Teddy Reyes, the somewhat seedy musician who gives her a bit
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

2.5 Stars

Violet Parry is going through a mid-life crisis. While she should be perfectly content living her life (house on Mulholland Drive, billionaire music-mogul husband, a beautiful baby girl), she’s not. A chance encounter with down-and-out Teddy Reyes reignites a spark in Violet that she thought was gone forever.

Sally is Violet’s sister-in-law. She would kill for the chance to live a life of luxury like her brother and his wife.
Dec 09, 2008 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Violet Parry lived the type of life we all would envy. She is married to a rich, famous rock - and – roll manager by the name of David, has a beautiful daughter named Dot and a large, offensive house up in the LA hills. Unfortunately, Violet would trade you places in a heartbeat. All David can do is complain about what Violet doesn’t do like… clean out the dead gopher in the swimming pool or make sure all his favorite foods are readily available to him. Violet is ready to leave her all of it beh ...more
Julia Nolan
Jan 14, 2013 Julia Nolan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This felt like an awful combination of chick lit and literature. Neither really works.

From a chick lit perspective, what I'm looking for is well...something light and funny. And while I get that the story was *trying* to be funny, it felt like it was trying too hard. The whole thing was written in a very affected way, with character so loathsome it was hard to find the least bit of sympathy for any of them.

(SPOILER: The plot revolves around Violet, a stay at home Mom who's farmed out all of her
Oct 26, 2015 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Reviewed at

This One Is Mine by Maria Semple is a strange but quite entertaining story of two sisters-in-law, Sally and Violet, and their contrasting but equally disastrous lives.

To be honest pretty much all the characters in this novel are very unlikeable. The majority are pretty racist, snobby and overall not at all nice people. I guess this was intentional and it’s quite impressive that Maria Semple actually manages to make me care about them even a tiny bit, considering ho
John Norman
I read Where'd You Go, Bernadette? and loved it. So I had to see what else Semple has written.

This One is Mine is pretty weak. The characters are shallow (I know, this is arguably the point of the novel) but it is a bad sign when characters have serious diseases (I don't think I'm spoiling it) but you can't really sympathize.

But I'll say this:

This book should be the poster child for presses not giving up on authors after a weak first novel. Having read this, I would never have expected the explo
After the wise and charming Where'd You Go Bernadette? I really wanted to delve into this author's back catalog and be as similarly enthralled. Alas, Maria Semple's debut novel This One Is Mine lacks the wit of WYGB, instead drawing on a cast of unlikeable characters who spend most of the book being mean or stupid or selfish, or some combination of the three. There are glimmers of the compassion that's such a large part of WYGB, but the way this novel is written strips the characters of pathos, ...more
Mary Scott
Jun 14, 2009 Mary Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves LA
Well-written and with an excellent sense of place, this novel is marred by utterly inexplicable actions of one of the two main protagonists. This is particularly disappointing because the author's other main characters are complex - although flawed - human beings. We get a sense of what makes Sally, David, and even Teddy tick, yet Violet's actions are without any real cause or consequence, making an otherwise enjoyable novel come across more like an exercise in wish fulfillment for the author in ...more
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Maria Semple's first novel, This One is Mine, was set in Los Angeles, where she also wrote for television shows including Arrested Development, Mad About You, and Ellen. She escaped from Los Angeles and lives with her family in Seattle, where her second novel takes place.
More about Maria Semple...

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“She didn’t trust people who didn’t like garlic, especially big fried pieces.” 2 likes
“But once Violet saw the inheret sadness in one thing, she couldn't stop.” 0 likes
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