Why I Enjoyed “Today Will Be Different” by Maria Semple

Mental health, or lack thereof, has become a hot-button topic over the years. But it seems to be extremely prevalent as of late, when considering the PEOTUS seems to be seriously deficient in the mental anything scope.

Indeed, we are all seeing and feeling the rough waters of the next four years lapping at our feet. With the inauguration in exactly one week, thousands of people like myself are scrambling to find our “happy place”.

Ninety-five percent of the time, my happy place is in a book. The other 5% largely looms around coffee. Because priorities. (Don’t give me that look. If you were honest with yourself, you’d admit there’s nothing as wonderful as what’s in your mug.)

For the last week or two, reading Maria Semple’s junior effort, Today Will Be Different has kept me preoccupied on both my train rides to work in midtown Manhattan, and subsequently, my train rides home to Brooklyn. She brings her main character, Eleanor Flood, to the forefront of multiple relationships; wife, mother, sister, daughter, student. And by the end of this book, we as an audience all become students. You definitely learn a lot not just from Eleanor, but also her husband (Joe), her son (Timby — yes, really), her sister (Ivy) and the myriad of other people in her life. You learn how she’s had to adapt to transitions late in life. You get a sense of the complexities of being a sister, and the tasks of forgiveness that being a sister entails.

Set in Seattle, it’s a light read that guarantees a smile on practically every page, with the hardback edition being just over 250 pages. There have been multiple times where I have bark-laughed on the F train. Awkward? Yes. Silver lining? Pleeeeenty of personal space after the release. If you’ve never read her books before, let me suggest reading this as an intro. Her two previous books, Where’d You Go, Bernadette?(released August 14, 2012) and earlier than that, This One Is Mine (released December 4, 2008), are worth a read as well.

She has a great sense of humour, and often reminds me of Jenny Lawson in the brand/tone/delivery of humour she uses. She writes beautifully flawed characters, and the hook is in by the second or third page. I strongly recommend this book if for no other reason than it’s a nice escape from “the real world”.