Eleanor Flood -- wife, mother and cartoon artist -- feels exhausted and overwhelmed by her negative habits and thoughts about the world. This novel by Maria Semple starts when Eleanor decides to dedicate today to living better, being kinder to those she loves, accepting her flaws and being the woman she's always wanted to be.
Her manifesto goes a little something like this:
Today will be different. Today I will be present. Today, anyone I’m speaking to, I will look them in the eye and listen deeply... Today I will take pride in my appearance. I'll shower, get dressed in proper clothes and change into yoga clothes only for yoga, which today I will actually attend. Today I won't swear. I won't talk about money. Today there will be an ease about me. My face will be relaxed, its resting place a smile. Today I will radiate calm. Kindness and self-control will abound. Today I will buy local. Today I will be my best self, the person I’m capable of being. Today will be different.
That's easier said than done in this crazy thing we call life. Semple perfectly illustrates the internal struggle of becoming who we want to be in the pages of Today Will be Different, planting a seed of commonality between readers and Eleanor from page one.
Eleanor's character, who seems to be the embodiment of all the struggles a woman can face, is one readers can easily connect with. They get to experience her successes and shortcomings as if each one was their own; Eleanor's streams of thoughts sometimes fragmented, sometimes deep, allowing readers to tie moments in her day to moments in their own life. The spectrum of emotions explored in this novel is wide and vibrant, exploring themes such as struggling through parenthood, navigating a dulled relationship and taking time to achieve personal desires as well.
This novel is for anyone who has ever experienced the deep yearning to be better as a person, mother, lover, pet owner, acquaintance, professional or friend. In the pages of Semple's third book she gives solace to any woman who feels she may not be good enough and offers hope to those who want to make a change to be better.