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This One is Mine

3.01  ·  Rating details ·  8,006 Ratings  ·  1,028 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
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published December 4th 2008 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2008)
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Piker I came to this page specifically to give a negative review because of the racism. I was so excited to read this book, the write up made it seem like a…moreI came to this page specifically to give a negative review because of the racism. I was so excited to read this book, the write up made it seem like a hilarious read. 19 pages in, gratuitous "nigger" bomb. Next page, there it is again. So unnecessary to the story and so insulting to me, a black woman who paid my money to be insulted by this author. Dear Maria Semple: black people read, and would probably finish one of your shitty novels if you didn't insult us almost immediately. So, before I throw this piece of crap in the trash, I had to come online and warn others to move on from this crappy book. Don't waste your time.
Natalie Yes, the last chapter of the book is Teddy's poem to her - the one he'd always promised he'd write. I agree, it wasn't very well-written, with the…moreYes, the last chapter of the book is Teddy's poem to her - the one he'd always promised he'd write. I agree, it wasn't very well-written, with the exception of a few lines here or there. I think it's inclusion was the final perspective we needed to round out the story. We saw everyone's perspective in the book more than we saw Teddy's: Violet, David, Sally, even Jeremy, though he was much more on the periphery. But Teddy was a central character, and the catalyst to pretty much every change the other characters experienced in their lives.

So, the inclusion of the poem, I think, says that Violet, for as much as Teddy acted like she didn't, flat-out told her that she didn't had affected him, too. Had changed his life, just like he'd changed hers. And even with that, he recognized that her madness for him was gone, but maybe his madness for her wasn't--it would always be with him, literally tattooed on him for the rest of his life. "Love the lucky well," is his last word to her - he won't see her again, and he knows why.

Just my thoughts on it, anyway.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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Lisa Wolf
Nov 12, 2012 rated it did not like it

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.

May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paidkindle, women
It has been a shitty week.

My husband's brother's wife has been diagnosed with cancer, they kept it under the radar until now when it seems she is not gonna make it after suffering severe side effects from the treatment but also due to multiple metastasis. There is two pre-teens about to be motherless. Luckily my friend's mother is doing good with her cancer and with its straining treatment.

My mother had a spinal surgery, and as an result she eventually developed a pulmonary embolism, which I ma
Sep 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
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.
Sheila DeChantal
Sep 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 19, 2010 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
Jim Loter
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
May 29, 2010 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 rated it it was ok
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
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.
May 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
Easily one if, if not THE, worst book I've ever read. Was looking for a chick-lit beach read, got what is essentially smut about the 4 most annoying people ever imagined.
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Sep 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
It's hard to believe this was written by the same author who wrote Where Did You Go, Bernadette. Thoroughly unlikeable characters; I'm a fan of flawed characters, but these people were despicable, and I didn't get the sense that Semple thought so. Plot lines were absurd & thoroughly unrealistic. Glad it only took me a couple days to get through--honestly I only kept reading because I hoped to see these characters get what was coming to them.
May 21, 2013 rated it liked it
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
May 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
John Norman
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
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!
Nov 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
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?
Apr 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
25% of my way through this book and don't plan on reading any further. The sex lives of unpleasant people just isn't entertaining to me. I have read other reviews that talk about the humor - maybe the funny parts in the back half of the book?
Kristy Gillespie
Dec 07, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies

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
Julia Nolan
Jan 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Aug 26, 2010 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
Amy Bourret
Jul 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 02, 2010 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
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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.
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“She didn’t trust people who didn’t like garlic, especially big fried pieces.” 2 likes
“I have a high tolerance for pain, but a low tolerance for discomfort.” 1 likes
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