This One Is Mine by Maria Semple (Bookies Book Club Review)

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 possibly her thighs… and for sure her rump… and David?  Well David is busy being David.  Closing deals, running around the country….. 

So when Violet meets Teddy, small time rock and roller with a bad boy image who seems to take an interest in Violet, she suddenly recalls a bit of her old spark…

Then there is Sally, David’s sister who is determined to land the perfect husband on her schedule.  When her eyes land on Jeremy who she foresees hitting the big time soon, she sets her plan in motion.  FAST motion… as in she has given herself a few weeks to meet (yeah, did I mention they had not met yet?), fall in love and get the ring… er, I mean get married. 

Both women throw caution to the wind and disaster awaits around every corner.


Why did I want to read this book?  When it was nominated for book club I knew I had this one on the review shelf.  This was an opportunity to not only read it, but read it with a group which is always fun.  I was also in charge of dessert for this meeting and I wanted to try to make this cover so badly…


So… This One Is Mine.  It has been a long long time since I have disliked a book so fully.  From the very beginning I found Violet to be spoiled and selfish… yes, I agree her marriage needed work – but she never gave it the opportunity to work.  Poor poor Violet *laced with sarcasm. and peas, because I really do not like peas either*

And then there was Sally.  Almost more unlikable then Violet.  Almost.  Depends on the chapter.  Selfish and determined to have her way no matter who was in her path.  Sally’s actions time and again throughout the book were not funny to me, but despicable, horrifying, and just down right gross.  There was nothing – NOTHING redeeming about her…. each page made me groan a little more.

Now I don’t have to like characters to enjoy a book…. but this one left so little to even hope for I just turned page after page hoping there would be something… but in the end, I found nothing.  I was reading this at our cabin recently and another girl from our book club was with me… I was about 50 pages in front of her and she kept asking, “does it get better”…. it did not.

My only silver lining in the book was 3/4 of the way through when an event went terribly wrong and by this time my mind was so filled with the sick that was Violet and Sally that I evilly wanted to rejoice…. but then… even that poofed out before I was satisfied. 

Now I get that this is a harsh review, but it is an honest one.  I loathed this book.  Now, if you look at Amazon reviews… I am in the minority, others loved this and found it hilarious.  I do not get these people.  🙂  Perhaps they were thinking of a different book…


Bookies Book Club Thoughts…


This was our book club read for September.  Prior to the group meeting a few that could not join us that night sent in their thoughts by email.  The emails were scathing.  Words used to describe the book were … well, I am not going to say here.

The review itself was interesting as I thought it would be.  We are such a diverse group of readers and I was curious where we would land on this one.  In our eleven years of this book club, this book rated the lowest rating we have ever given as a whole (and there are 18 of us!)  On a scale of 1 – 5 the highest rating for this book was a 1.  Many of the ratings fell below zero, I myself gave it a goose egg because I could not rate such a book. 

We marveled at the Amazon reviews.  We wondered if our thoughts on the book had to do with that we were from the mid west and perhaps we were more conservative readers (but please note many in this book club have read books in all sorts of genres and situations and enjoyed them so that can’t be it…).  Plus, I added to the group, through our years we have read other books in that environment and did not come out the last page with this much…. this much…. BLAH.

We did of course have food to go with our book:  (HAZAH!)

I did make the cupcakes, with help from a friend with the flowers. They were delicious! They are called high top cupcakes, recipe is on the Martha Stewart site.

Crackers and hummus and a couple hot dishes…

It was our first skyped in member meeting…. “Hey Suzanne!”

Not pictured (my bad – I thought I did take this pic) was the Ultra Violet Vodka (UV) which was funny because that was Violet’s nickname. 

Now all that said… this author has a new book out called Where’s You Go Bernadette that I have been hearing good things about.  I have this one on my shelf and plan to read it soon.  A few in the book club have started this one on their own and have said it was good. 

Here are a few other opinions on this book from bloggers I trust:

S Krishna’s Books

Life In The Thumb

Beth Fish Reads

Presenting Lenore

Nomad Reader

Amazon Review

Goodreads Rating

About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on September 21, 2012, in Being Bookie, Book Review and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. The characters were pretty annoying, Sheila; I do agree about that. And while I enjoyed the Bernadette book a lot more, I thought Semple’s first book was an accurate (and tongue-in-cheek) portrayal of the superficial LA lifestyle.

    Your cupcakes are adorable!

  2. I don’t think Midwest women are more conservative. I think we’re more centered and self-sufficient and that our default position is toward kindness unless there is some very good justification adopting another mode.

    I ❤ those cupcakes and love that making those was a primary reason for choosing the book. It does have a great cover.

  3. Sounds like Violet has a lot of first world problems. 😉 The character sounds really self-absorbed, and her sister crazy.

    Sometimes I am the one lone negative review of a book too – that recently happened to me with The White Forest. It seems everyone loved it, and then I really didn’t care for it much. I thought what am I missing that everyone else got from this book? But, I think some books just click for people, and some just don’t. Obviously this one didn’t for you (and it doesn’t sound good to me either!)

  4. Susanne M Hinrichs

    Sheila – great review and one I very much agree with. Thank you for speaking out for those who’ve read the book and truly disliked its undeveloped thought lines, rough characters, and choppiness. You rock!

    • Thanks Susanne, it isn’t always easy to say but I want to write reviews like I would if I was sharing my thoughts with a friend – and this is what I would have said to a friend about this book. 🙂

  5. Sheila I tried this one when it came out and it was a DNF, I just couldn’t get into it and decided not to try and review as I hadn’t read enough but I remember DNF.

  6. Sometimes bad books are great for book discussion because people have strong opinions and plenty to say 🙂

    I think I will be skipping this book though. It is pretty bad if the main characters are so unlikable. That is always a deal-breaker for me. I am currently reading The Age of Innocence for my book discussion on Tuesday evening and so far I hate the characters. I’m going to try watching the movie and see if that helps me get through it!

  7. By the way, I think it is really cool that your book club tries to match the food with the book.

  8. Oh rats! I just finished Bernadette and had thought about starting this one.

  9. Well at least you had the cupcakes as some consolation! They look very yummy!

  10. I felt the exact same way about this one too!! Food helps make up for it!!

  11. Oh my… I’m from the Midwest … maybe I should give this one a try! Knowing so many others hated it would make it easier to abandon if I didn’t like it.

    And about those Amazon reviews… I would guess that half of them are fake. Yup. Fake. When reading them I discount any review that has only one or two lines that anyone could have known from the blurb. And then there are the five star mini-reviews by folks that have a total of one or two reviews to their credit and are probably the author’s friends and family. Just my opinion. 😉

    • I would normally think that too about the reviews Leslie but the book came out in 2008 and usually after time the friends and family votes die away. Also, after looking at other bloggers reviews, they mostly liked it more than me too. 😀 I would be curious as to what you think 😀

  12. I think I’ll just stick to reading your review … again, thanks for being honest and making me laugh. Love your very cute cupcakes and looks like the bookie meeting was the one and only bonus to come of reading this one 😉

%d bloggers like this: