Book Review: Today Will Be Different

When I picked up Today Will Be Different, by Maria Semple, I was hoping that it would be a lighthearted novel about the struggles of being an overworked career woman raising a family and trying to maintain her sanity while struggling with anxiety and depression.  That would have been a good book.

Today Will Be Different

That is not what this book is.

This is a novel about Eleanor Flood, a career woman turned stay-at-home-mom, who is so self-absorbed and flaky that she becomes instantly overwhelmed by the slightest demands on her time and energy.  She is paranoid that her world is falling apart, to the point that she creates a self-fulfilling prophecy which vomits her problems all over everyone around her.

This woman is a dumpster fire.  She can’t keep it together long enough to drop her kid off at school and meet a friend for lunch.  She can’t even give her son a normal name…

Unfortunately, she is such a mess that she makes women look bad – seriously, do people buy into this as a good way to manage your life?  It evokes images of the Victorian era and the early- to mid-1900s, when women were institutionalized and subjected to treatments like electro-shock therapy and lobotomy, because they had “hysteria.”  This character is a caricature of the way doctors described women back in the day…

It would be one thing if the novel seemed like it was intended to be an over the top farce, but I didn’t get the impression that it was.  Sadly then, I can only assume that the author intended this to be only a mild exaggeration of a woman trying to manage a life while struggling with anxiety and depression.  What a disservice to women everywhere…

I have read good reviews of Semple’s other novel, but I would skip this one.

1 star.

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