My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Eleanor wakes up with the resolution that today will indeed be different. She will be a better person, a better mother, and a better wife. She will pay more focused attention to her son, Timby. She will have sex with her surgeon husband, Joe. She will go to her poetry and yoga classes. She will wear real clothes. She will pleasantly lunch with a friend she doesn't quite care for. But it doesn't take long for Eleanor's plans to quickly derail, as a series of mishaps rapidly start to add up: Timby is sick, it appears as if Joe is no longer going to work (and lying about it), and Eleanor's lunch date isn't what it seems, either.
I may be the only person left on the planet who hasn't read Where'd You Go, Bernadette (sometimes I'm stubborn about reading "it" books, ok), so I cannot compare this novel to that one. That may be for the best. This is the second novel--in a row--that I contemplated just not finishing, and again, that is so rarely my style. This book felt like a slapdash series of paragraphs thrown together about a crazy woman whose motivations and actions made entirely no sense.
The book veers back and forth in time: while the main action occurs all in one day (the one Eleanor vows will be better), she flashes back to her past, telling the story of her childhood, a long and confusing saga with her sister, Ivy, and Ivy's husband, and how she met her own husband. She also covers her time as working as an animator. It all happens sort of randomly and often in a stream of consciousness. This occurs among the crazy, insane happenings of Eleanor's day, where she sets off a series of bizarre actions that-to me-made no sense and came across as completely irrational. She was not endearing, she was not a little silly: she was just weird and somewhat unhinged, and I'm honestly not sure how she was still allowed to care for poor Timby.
There were a few glimmers about the frustrations of modern motherhood and marriage in this novel, but most were buried by the bizarre ramblings and incoherence of the plot. Some plot pieces were never resolved, some just popped up for no reason, and some dragged on and on endlessly. Maybe I'm just not familiar with Semple's style, but I have to pass on this one.
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