October 05, 2016 at 02:30 PM EDT

Today Will Be Different

Current Status
In Season
Maria Semple
We gave it a B+

Eleanor Flood, a former New York art-world wunderkind turned half-desperate Seattle housewife, is tired of “grinding it out.” And so she wakes up resolved to love her supportive surgeon husband and possibly gay son a little more; to learn a poem and walk the dog and keep a lunch date with a friend she hates.

But she is still herself, of course, and like the loopy antiheroine of Semple’s beloved last novel, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, that self is exactly as messy and eccentric and unfiltered as the Eleanor of yesterday. Though change comes for her anyway, in a series of calamities and revelations that spin both her day and her life sideways.

Today‘s tone veers wildly from satire to tragedy, but Semple is such a deft observer of human foibles that she glues it all together with wit and glitter — a master fabulist, just like Eleanor. B+

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