Today Will Be Different

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, £14.99)

Today is the being of the rest of Eleanor's life. From now on she'll be the best person she is capable of being: the best mother, wife and friends. She will dress neatly and properly, she won't mess up appointments and she'll carry an air of ease and radiate calm. She will appreciate her life.

Except of course she won't, over the course of this chaotic day in Eleanor's life we ricochet from her son's school to a Seattle sculpture park, her husband's office to the Key Arena and as Eleanor's day unravels so does her life.

In the past there's the heartbreak of her childhood, the non-existent relationship with her sister and only living relative. In the present, the reliability of her husband and the dilemma of her make-up wearing son Timby, but there's also the battle between the woman she was before they settled for staid Seattle over vibrant New York.

Like the heroine of Semple's first novel the Women's Prize short-listed Where'd You Go Bernadette? this is the story of a woman in crisis, a lost woman trying to find herself in a world she doesn't fit. It is every bit as energetic and smart-ass funny as that previous book however I am slightly disappointed that it is so similar in trajectory and that the ending when it comes doesn't pack the same punch as in Bernadette.

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