Today Will Be Different is the new novel from Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette? which was on many people’s reading lists last year. I read it myself for the satire category of the annual Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, and while it was a bit outlandish at times, I ended up loving it.
Today Will Be Different has some similarities to Bernadette – a talented artist married to a wealthy and successful man, a precocious only child with an unusual name who attends Galer Street School, a dog with an equally unusual name, and a setting of Seattle. But those are where the similarities end, for the most part. The novel is also witty, quick, and full of wry observations of the ridiculousness of today’s parents and reliance on technology.
Eleanor wakes up one day, vowing that today things will be different. But when she has to pick Timby up from school due to yet another possibly fake stomach ache, the day is different in ways she never expects. When she stops at her husband’s office she’s surprised to find him not there, apparently on vacation, even though she saw him leave for work that morning. Lunch with a former colleague leads her down some crazy roads, including an entire section devoted to her history with her sister. And she keeps running into her poetry tutor, dragging him on her adventures trying to find out what Joe is up to.
Eleanor has quite the imagination and comes up with several scenarios for Joe’s absence from work, and unsurprisingly the real reason is not at all what she, or the reader, expects. Eleanor has good intentions but she’s not always a good person, as she isn’t always aware of how her actions affect others.
Today Will Be Different is fun and quirky, and well, different.
Notes on the audiobook: Today Will Be Different is narrated by Kathleen Wilhoite, known to Gilmore Girls fans as Luke’s crazy sister Liz, and she’s an excellent choice to voice the character of Eleanor. Her voice is unique and she throws herself into the novel with gusto.