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If you’re on the lookout for a hilarious and intelligent audiobook that will keep you entertained from start to finish, look no further than “Today Will Be Different” by Maria Semple. This audiobook is packed with wit, humor, and engaging dialogue that will leave you feeling satisfied with the overall listening experience.

In our comprehensive audiobook review, we’ll be diving into the world created by Maria Semple and exploring the themes, characters, and overall storytelling that make “Today Will Be Different” a must-listen for any audiobook fan. So sit back, relax, and get ready to join Eleanor Flood on her wild and humorous journey through the ups and downs of daily life.

Key Takeaways

  • “Today Will Be Different” by Maria Semple offers a hilarious and intelligent listening experience that is perfect for audiobook enthusiasts.
  • The audiobook features witty dialogue, engaging characters, and a compelling narrative that will keep listeners entertained from start to finish.
  • Topics such as identity, motherhood, and daily life are explored in a thoughtful and humorous way throughout the novel.
  • The narration in the audiobook is also high-quality and effectively enhances the overall storytelling experience.
  • Overall, “Today Will Be Different” is a fantastic audiobook that is well worth the listen for any fans of Maria Semple or anyone looking for a humorous and engaging listening experience.

About the Author: Maria Semple

Maria Semple is an American author, born in Santa Monica, California, in 1964. She has worked as a television writer in Hollywood, contributing to shows like “Arrested Development,” “Mad About You,” and “Ellen.” Semple began her career as a novelist with her debut work, “This One Is Mine,” published in 2008. In 2012, she gained widespread recognition with “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” which spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list. Semple’s writing style is marked by clever humor, vivid characters, and incisive observations about modern society. She has a particular talent for exploring the darkly comic aspects of family relationships and the human condition.

Notable Works

Novel Publication Year
This One Is Mine 2008
Where’d You Go, Bernadette 2012
Today Will Be Different 2016
Afternoon of a Faun 2021

Semple’s most recent work, “Afternoon of a Faun,” was released in September 2021 and has already received critical acclaim. Her writing has been praised for its sharp wit, relatable characters, and poignant insights into the human experience. With her unique voice and masterful storytelling, Maria Semple has established herself as one of the most compelling and beloved authors of contemporary fiction.

Plot Overview

Written by Maria Semple, “Today Will Be Different” is a witty and poignant novel that captures a day in the life of Eleanor Flood, a cynical and eccentric artist who finds herself navigating a series of unexpected events that threaten to uproot her world. Set in Seattle, the story takes listeners on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, as Eleanor grapples with issues of identity, motherhood, and relationships.

The novel begins with Eleanor’s declaration that “today will be different,” setting the stage for a day full of promise and unpredictability. Over the course of the novel, Eleanor confronts her troubled past, tries to reignite the passion in her marriage, and navigates the complexities of parenthood. Along the way, she encounters a wide cast of supporting characters, each with their own quirks and motivations, from her ambitious assistant, to her estranged sister, to her disillusioned son.

Maria Semple’s expert storytelling weaves together a seamless narrative, seamlessly blending humor and heart, as she tackles weighty themes with depth and nuance. Through Eleanor’s journey, listeners are treated to a poignant exploration of what it means to be human, flawed, and ultimately capable of change.

Character Analysis: Meet Eleanor Flood

In “Today Will Be Different,” Maria Semple provides listeners with a complex and relatable protagonist in Eleanor Flood. From her witty inner commentary to her daily struggles as a mother and wife, Eleanor is a character that many listeners will find themselves empathizing with.

Throughout the audiobook, Eleanor exhibits a range of emotions that creates a multifaceted character analysis. Initially, we see her frustration with her mundane life and her longing for excitement and adventure. As the story progresses, we discover deeper aspects of her personality, including her guilt, grief, and vulnerability.

Eleanor’s motivations drive the plot of “Today Will Be Different,” as listeners follow her journey of self-discovery and growth. Her realistic depiction as a flawed and multifaceted character makes “Today Will Be Different” all the more engaging and relatable.

Eleanor’s Personality Traits:

Trait Description
Determined Despite setbacks, Eleanor is committed to improving her life
Anxious Eleanor often worries obsessively, leading to stress and tension
Sarcastic Eleanor’s biting sense of humor and witty commentary adds levity to the story
Caring Eleanor’s love for her family and friends drives her actions throughout the novel

Eleanor Flood’s character arc is a highlight of “Today Will Be Different.” Her development encourages listeners to reflect on their own lives and how they can make positive changes for themselves.

Supporting Characters in “Today Will Be Different”

In addition to Eleanor Flood, “Today Will Be Different” features several supporting characters who each play a unique role in the story. One of the most notable is Timby, Eleanor’s young son, whose unexpected call to her office sets off a chain reaction of events. Other characters include Eleanor’s former colleague and frenemy, Laurie, who reappears after years of estrangement, and her husband, Joe, a famous hand surgeon struggling with his own secret demons.

Perhaps one of the most memorable supporting characters, however, is Barb, the receptionist at Eleanor’s psychiatrist’s office. Despite only having a few brief interactions with Eleanor, Barb’s quirky personality and mysterious backstory leave a lasting impression on listeners.

“Today Will Be Different” uses its supporting characters to create a rich narrative tapestry, highlighting the complexities of life and relationships, and adding depth and nuance to Eleanor’s journey.

Eleanor’s Relationships:

Character Relationship to Eleanor
Timby Eleanor’s son
Joe Eleanor’s husband
Laurie Eleanor’s former colleague and frenemy
Barb Receptionist at Eleanor’s psychiatrist’s office

Writing Style and Tone

One of the most remarkable aspects of “Today Will Be Different” is Maria Semple’s impressive writing style, marked by a humorous and witty tone that keeps the listener engaged from start to finish. Through a blend of sharp dialogue, vivid descriptions, and insightful observations, Semple crafts a narrative that is both touching and humorous, poignant and entertaining. Her writing style is fresh and distinctive, drawing readers into her world and keeping them captivated throughout the audiobook.

Moreover, Semple’s tone is consistent and well-executed, evoking a sense of dry humor and clever satire that permeates the entire novel. She draws on various narrative techniques, including stream-of-consciousness and flashbacks, to create a rich and dynamic listening experience. The audiobook’s tone is well-suited to exploring the themes of motherhood, identity, and ownership, which drive the novel. As a result, readers are left with a keen understanding of the challenges and complexities of daily life, framed within the context of a hilarious and heartwarming story.

Overall, Maria Semple’s writing style and tone are exceptional, making “Today Will Be Different” a poignant and unforgettable narrative that listeners will treasure for years to come.

Themes Explored

“Today Will Be Different” by Maria Semple explores a range of complex, thought-provoking themes that resonate with listeners on a personal level. One of the central themes is the struggle for identity, as the protagonist Eleanor Flood navigates her own sense of self-worth and purpose amidst the chaos of daily life. Semple’s exploration of motherhood, and the challenges and joys it brings, is another highlight of the novel, offering a candid and honest portrayal of the realities of parenthood.

The novel also delves into the intricacies of relationships, including the dynamic between Eleanor and her husband, as well as her relationships with her colleagues and friends. Through her exploration of these themes, Semple draws attention to the often-overlooked complexities of everyday life, and generates a sense of empathy and understanding for her characters.

The following table summarizes the key themes explored in “Today Will Be Different”:



  • Identity
  • The struggle to define oneself amidst societal pressures and expectations
  • Motherhood
  • The challenges and rewards of parenthood, and the impact it has on personal identity
  • Relationships
  • The complex dynamics between individuals and how they shape our sense of self
  • Everyday life
  • The mundane and often-overlooked aspects of daily existence, and how they shape our identity

Overall, “Today Will Be Different” is a captivating novel that delves into several major themes, providing listeners with a rich and nuanced listening experience that will stay with them long after they finish the audiobook.

Audiobook Narration

One of the significant strengths of “Today Will Be Different” is the standout performance of the audiobook narrator, Kathleen Wilhoite. Her engaging and dynamic narration style brings the characters to life, imbuing each line with personality and nuance. Wilhoite’s ability to convey humor, drama, and emotion through her voice makes for a captivating listening experience.

Throughout the audiobook, Wilhoite flawlessly switches between voices, providing a distinct voice for each character that remains consistent throughout the narration. Her portrayal of Eleanor, in particular, captures the character’s quirks and nuances, making her even more relatable to listeners.

The pacing of the narration is spot-on, with Wilhoite emphasizing and elongating certain words or phrases to convey the intended emotion behind the text. This attention to detail enhances the author’s prose, making it even more impactful for the listener.


  • Engaging narration style
  • Distinct voice for each character
  • Spot-on pacing


  • No significant drawbacks

Listener Experience: Pros and Cons

Experiencing “Today Will Be Different” through the audiobook format offers a unique listening experience for readers. One of the biggest strengths of the audiobook is the engaging narration by the talented Kathleen Wilhoite, whose performance brings the characters and story to life. The audiobook format also allows listeners to immerse themselves in the story in a way that reading may not achieve, enriching the listener experience.

However, audiobooks may not be suitable for all readers. The pacing of the audiobook may feel slow for some listeners, causing them to lose interest or become disengaged. Additionally, the impact of certain scenes may be lost in the audiobook format, as readers miss out on the author’s intended use of visual imagery and details.


  • Engaging narration by Kathleen Wilhoite
  • Unique and immersive listening experience


  • Pacing may feel slow for some listeners
  • Impact of scenes may be lost in audiobook format

listener experience

Critical Reception

“Today Will Be Different” has received generally positive critical reception for its witty dialogue, engaging characters, and astute observations on modern life.

According to The New York Times Book Review, “Semple is a master of the comedic vignette, expert at exploring mother-daughter relationships, inner monologues, and middle-age disillusionment.” Publishers Weekly also praised the novel, calling it “a sharp, funny read for anyone who’s wanted to run away from it all.”

On Goodreads, “Today Will Be Different” has an average rating of 3.56 out of 5 stars, with many reviewers complimenting Semple’s distinctive writing style and relatable characters. However, some readers criticized the book’s meandering plot and unsatisfying ending.

Overall, “Today Will Be Different” has garnered a solid critical reception and remains a popular choice among fans of contemporary women’s fiction.

Comparisons to Semple’s Previous Works

Maria Semple’s “Today Will Be Different” is not the author’s first foray into the world of witty and introspective novels featuring complex female protagonists. Before this acclaimed audiobook, Semple penned This One is Mine and Where’d You Go, Bernadette, both of which share similarities with “Today Will Be Different”.

However, while her previous works also explored themes such as motherhood and identity, “Today Will Be Different” stands out for its focus on self-discovery and acceptance. Eleanor Flood’s journey is a departure from the more eccentric and offbeat characters featured in Semple’s previous works, but the novel’s sharp humor and satirical tone remain trademarks of the author’s style.

Comparative Analysis Table

This table provides a side-by-side comparison of “Today Will Be Different” and Maria Semple’s previous works, highlighting differences and similarities in narrative, characters, themes, and style.

The table above showcases the evolution of Maria Semple’s writing style and narrative choices, suggesting that “Today Will Be Different” marks a significant milestone in the author’s career. While her previous works were warmly received by critics and readers alike, this latest novel has proven to be a standout favorite among fans, cementing Semple’s reputation as a master of contemporary fiction.

Impact and Legacy

As a witty and thought-provoking piece of literature, “Today Will Be Different” has made a significant impact on readers and audiobook enthusiasts alike. Maria Semple’s unique voice and narrative style have earned her critical acclaim and a devoted following over the years, and this novel only adds to her already impressive body of work.

One aspect of “Today Will Be Different” that has particularly stood out to readers is its exploration of complex themes such as identity, motherhood, and the difficulties of modern life. Through her character-driven storytelling, Semple offers readers a fresh perspective on these issues, challenging them to engage with difficult questions and ideas.

Moreover, the audiobook format of “Today Will Be Different” has allowed many listeners to experience Semple’s novel in a new and exciting way. With skilled narration and engaging performances, the audiobook version of this novel has brought Semple’s characters and story to life in a way that is both immersive and entertaining.

Looking ahead, it’s clear that “Today Will Be Different” will continue to have a lasting impact on both readers and listeners for years to come. Whether it’s through its enduring popularity or its influence on future works of literature, Semple’s novel has already secured its place in the literary canon.

Related Recommendations: If You Enjoyed “Today Will Be Different”

As a fan of “Today Will Be Different” by Maria Semple, you may be looking for similar audiobooks or novels that will satisfy your literary cravings. Here are some recommendations:

Audible Audiobook: The Rosie Project: A Novel, by Graeme Simsion
Book: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel, by Gail Honeyman
Audible Audiobook: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep: A Novel, by H.G. Parry
Book: Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A Novel, by Maria Semple
Audible Audiobook: The Cactus, by Sarah Haywood

The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion is a delightful romantic comedy that shares similarities with “Today Will Be Different” in its quirky characters and witty dialogue. Another novel that may pique your interest is Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel by Gail Honeyman, which explores themes of loneliness, connection, and mental health, as well as offering a memorable protagonist with a unique voice.

For another audiobook option, try The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep: A Novel by H.G. Parry, which similarly employs a playful and imaginative narrative style. Of course, fans of Maria Semple’s writing can also check out her previous novel, Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A Novel, acclaimed for its sharp humor, dynamic characters, and inventive structure.

Finally, if you enjoyed the combination of humor and heart in “Today Will Be Different,” you may appreciate The Cactus by Sarah Haywood, a charming story about a woman who discovers her own strength and independence amidst unexpected challenges.

Related Recommendations

Audiobook Formats and Availability

If you’re interested in experiencing Maria Semple’s “Today Will Be Different” in audiobook format, you’ll be happy to know that it’s widely available across a range of platforms and services. Listeners can purchase the audiobook on popular websites such as Amazon Audible, Google Play Books, and iTunes, or through their local audiobook retailers.

“Today Will Be Different” is also available for listeners who prefer to rent their audiobooks instead of buying them. Services such as Scribd and Overdrive allow users to rent and borrow audiobooks for a limited time, which can be a more cost-effective and flexible option for avid audiobook enthusiasts.

Whether you prefer to own or rent your audiobooks, “Today Will Be Different” is a highly recommended title that is worth experiencing in this format.

Final Thoughts: Is “Today Will Be Different” Worth the Listen?

After a comprehensive analysis of Maria Semple’s “Today Will Be Different,” it’s safe to say that this audiobook is worth the listen for those seeking a witty, insightful, and entertaining narrative. Despite some minor pacing issues and a few underdeveloped supporting characters, Eleanor Flood’s journey is an engaging exploration of motherhood, self-discovery, and the complexities of daily life.

Maria Semple’s writing style is a standout feature of this audiobook, with her sharp wit and clever observations adding a layer of humor and depth to the storytelling. The audiobook narration is also of high quality, further enhancing the listener’s immersion in the story.

While “Today Will Be Different” may not be for everyone, those who appreciate character-driven narratives with a healthy dose of humor and heart will find plenty to enjoy in this audiobook. Overall, we recommend giving “Today Will Be Different” a listen and discovering the unique world and characters created by Maria Semple.


What is “Today Will Be Different” by Maria Semple?

“Today Will Be Different” is a novel written by Maria Semple. It is an audiobook that offers a witty and engaging narrative, delving into the complex daily life of the main character, Eleanor Flood.

Who is Maria Semple?

Maria Semple is the talented author behind “Today Will Be Different.” She is known for her unique writing style and has authored several other works, including “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” and “This One Is Mine.”

What is the plot of “Today Will Be Different”?

“Today Will Be Different” follows the story of Eleanor Flood, who has made a vow to have a perfect day. However, unexpected events disrupt her plans, leading to a journey of self-discovery, humor, and reflection.

Who is Eleanor Flood?

Eleanor Flood is the protagonist of “Today Will Be Different.” Through her character analysis, we explore her unique personality, motivations, and how her journey unfolds throughout the audiobook.

Who are the supporting characters in “Today Will Be Different”?

Maria Semple’s novel features a diverse cast of supporting characters who play vital roles in Eleanor Flood’s story. These characters add depth and contribute to the overall narrative of the audiobook.

What is Maria Semple’s writing style and tone in “Today Will Be Different”?

Maria Semple establishes a distinct writing style in “Today Will Be Different.” Through her use of humor, wit, and narrative techniques, she creates a unique tone that captivates readers and listeners alike.

What themes are explored in “Today Will Be Different”?

“Today Will Be Different” delves into thought-provoking themes such as identity, motherhood, and the complexities of daily life. Maria Semple addresses these themes with depth and nuance throughout the audiobook.

How is the audiobook narration in “Today Will Be Different”?

The audiobook narration in “Today Will Be Different” adds an extra dimension to the storytelling experience. Evaluating the quality and effectiveness of the narration provides insights into how it enhances the listener’s engagement.

What is the listener experience like for “Today Will Be Different”?

Experiencing “Today Will Be Different” through the audiobook format has its strengths and weaknesses. By considering factors such as pacing, engagement, and impact, listeners can gauge their overall experience with the audiobook.

How has “Today Will Be Different” been received critically?

The critical reception of Maria Semple’s “Today Will Be Different” includes reviews, ratings, and opinions from readers and literary critics. Exploring this reception offers insights into the overall reception of the audiobook.

How does “Today Will Be Different” compare to Maria Semple’s previous works?

Comparing “Today Will Be Different” to Maria Semple’s previous works reveals similarities, differences, and the evolution of her writing style. This comparison provides perspective on how the author’s storytelling has progressed over time.

What is the impact and potential legacy of “Today Will Be Different”?

“Today Will Be Different” has made a lasting impact on literature, contributing to Maria Semple’s body of work. Reflecting on its influence and potential legacy sheds light on its significance in the literary world.

Are there any related recommendations for fans of “Today Will Be Different”?

If you enjoyed “Today Will Be Different” by Maria Semple, we have some related audiobook and novel recommendations. These recommendations offer similar themes, narratives, and engaging listening experiences.

What audiobook formats are available for “Today Will Be Different”?

“Today Will Be Different” can be enjoyed in various audiobook formats. Exploring these formats and discussing the platforms or services where the audiobook is available allows listeners to choose their preferred listening option.

Is “Today Will Be Different” worth listening to?

In concluding our audiobook review of “Today Will Be Different,” we provide our final thoughts on its strengths, weaknesses, and ultimately determine whether it is a worthwhile listen for audiobook enthusiasts.

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