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Today Will be Different by Maria Semple

Today Will be Different

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A smart and sassy take on a 21st century mum making her way in the world, trying not to cause too much damage but also hoping that maybe, just maybe she may be able to find the contentment within herself that she so badly craves.

For one day we enter the life of Eleanor and she’s determined that today will be different and if nothing else she’s determined to leave the world a better place than she found it. Then her day takes an unexpected turn as the past creeps into her present. Suddenly there are questions demanding to be answered. Why is her husband on a ‘vacation’ she knows nothing about? Where is he disappearing to each day? How will she explain to Timby about the sister she never talks about? And what will happen to The Flood Girls? Long since consigned to the back of the closet.

Maria Semple’s fresh, unique voice is full of humour and yet also captures the same complexities we all experience trying to find our place in the world. Through this novel we have a snapshot of Eleanor’s life, her fears, her pain and the thing that makes it complete in so many ways. We also experience the crazy thoughts that often flit in and out of her head. Thoughts we can all relate to and the unexplained conclusions we leap to and in turn the consequences they have on our happiness. Semple expertly weaves past experiences into Eleanor’s day as we see her trying to track down her husband whilst also being confronted by a sister that she no longer acknowledges.

Today Will Be Different shares the hope that we can learn to be more accepting of who we are and allow ourselves to be happier. Semple’s writing style is sharp and one that you may either love or hate but it’s bold and distinctive and personally I loved it. ~ Shelley Fallows

October 2016 Book of the Month.

If you like Maria Semple you might also like to read books by Emma Jane Unsworth, Jennifer Egan and Maggie Shipstead.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. Click here to read the full reviews.

  • Edel Waugh - 'I especially enjoyed the graphic novel section of the book, it was beautiful, and added another dimension to these characters story.'
  • Reba Khatun - 'As I read more of the book I took a liking to Eleanor.  This book is a great read with an unexpected ending.'
  • Angie Rhodes - 'I laughed out loud, and yes empathised with Eleanor, as most women will, it is a little sad, very funny and oh so true to life.'
  • Emma Smith - 'The chatty, down to earth style worked most of the time with a few lough out loud moments.'
  • Julie Evans - 'Disappointing after reading such rave reviews.  I just could not grasp the storyline around Eleanor Flood, Timby and Joe.'
  • Gill Dally-Fitzsimons - 'The daily mantra of ever woman in the world..."Today Will Be Different" - a funny, insightful book, a great read!'


Today Will be Different by Maria Semple

Eleanor Flood knows she's a mess. But today will be different. Today she will shower and put on real clothes. She will attend her yoga class after dropping her son, Timby, off at school. She'll see an old friend for lunch. She won't swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action - life happens. For today is the day Timby has decided to pretend to be ill to weasel his way into his mother's company. It's also the day surgeon Joe has chosen to tell his receptionist - but not Eleanor - that he's on vacation. And just when it seems that things can't go more awry, a former colleague produces a relic from the past - a graphic memoir with pages telling of family secrets long buried and a sister to whom Eleanor never speaks. From the dazzling pen of Maria Semple, author of bestselling Where'd You Go, Bernadette, comes a hilarious and life-affirming story about a woman who wakes up determined to be her best self.


'Whipsmart, dazzling, darkly comic and deeply touching. I loved it!' -- Marian Keyes

'I adore it. Every bit as smart - and smart-arsed - as BERNADETTE ... this is wonderful' -- Sam Baker, author of THE WOMAN WHO RAN and co-founder of THE POOL

'So unique, so smart, so funny, so beautifully humane, so utterly of our times, it's astonishing' -- Gillian Flynn, author of GONE GIRL

'I had the uncanny feeling, while reading TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT, that Maria Semple had somehow snuck into my house when I was asleep, took an x-ray image of my heart, then painted it by hand in neon colors. This book is searingly honest and hilarious and dark and neurotic. It is dizzying. Best of all, it is delicious' -- Lauren Groff, author of FATES AND FURIES

'Today will be different, Eleanor Flood tells herself, and oh baby hang on for a wild ride that's like nothing Eleanor sees coming. In this brilliant depiction of a woman hanging on by her fingernails, Maria Semple delivers a perfect panic of a day on which the barely tolerable, muddle-through-it desperation that so many of us have known at one time or another suddenly erupts with life-shattering force. Can an existential crisis make us laugh? Such is Semple's talent that this one does, without losing any of the punch or gravity of the hardest kinds of lived experience' -- Ben Fountain, author of BRIEF ENCOUNTERS WITH CHE GUEVARA

About the Author

Maria Semple

Maria Semple worked as a television writer in Los Angeles for fifteen years, working on hit shows including Ellen, Saturday Night Live, Mad About You and Arrested Development. Her first novel, This One is Mine, was described as 'shocking, memorable, scathing, funny, delightful, hilarious and exquisite'. She lives in Seattle.

Author photo © Elke Van de Velde

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Book Info

Publication date

6th October 2016


Maria Semple

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Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co


272 pages


Relationship Stories
Books of the Month
Family Drama
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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