The characters in This One is Mine by Maria Semple are an example of what Zoe Heller is talking about in the quote in the previous post. I have no interest in being a friend to any of them. But, that doesn't mean their shenanigans weren't interesting and at times, funny.
Semple, who is a former TV sitcom writer (Arrested Development and Mad About You), has offered a take on Los Angeles through the eyes of her characters that was a guilty pleasure for me. It was in some aspects, akin to slowing down for a good look at the accident that has kept you trapped in traffic for an hour. I'm both pulled in and repulsed.
The main character, Violet is simultaneously adrift, floating along in the LA haze of the rich and almost famous life while also laser-focused on a mission of self-destruction. Violet is intelligent and sensitive, but something is screwed up with her. She's a bit like the flower she's named for: pretty, sentimental, old fashioned (with a husband in the music biz, she likes Sondheim) but ultimately out of her element in the southern California desert environment.
This One is MINE reminded me of I'm Losing You by Bruce Wagner, another book where the characters are unlikeable, but interesting. Semple's book is more enjoyable though because it is funny in spots. It's worth reading just for Violet's husband's experience at the yoga retreat. Hilarious.
This book is for you if like Arrested Development and also enjoy books such as Heller's The Believers and Notes on a Scandal.
Check out this interview at Largehearted Boy where Maria Semple shares her soundtrack for This One is MINE.
Note: I received a paperback copy of This One is MINE from the publisher.
If you'd like my copy of This One is MINE, leave a comment below. For an extra entry, leave a second, separate comment if you become a follower of this blog or already follow. Be sure to give me your email address so I can contact you if you win. U.S. residents only this time.
Ends the evening of Sunday, May 16th. Winning comment selected by random.org.