Jennifer Weiner is one of those authors that I initially dismiss when at the library or browsing the book store and I don't really know why. I loved "In Her Shoes" - both the book and the movie. But when I saw "The Next Best Thing" at the library, I hesitated and picked it up and put it back a few times. Obviously, I finally decided to check it out.
Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
"At twenty-three, Ruth Saunders headed west with her seventy-year-old grandma in tow, hoping to be hired as a television writer. Four years later, she’s hit the jackpot when she gets The Call: the sitcom she wrote, The Next Best Thing, has gotten the green light, and Ruthie’s going to be the show-runner. But her dreams of Hollywood happiness are threatened by demanding actors, number-crunching executives, an unrequited crush on a boss, and her grandmother’s impending nuptials.
Set against the fascinating backdrop of Los Angeles show business culture, with an insider’s ear and eye for writer’s rooms, bad behavior backstage and set politics, Jennifer Weiner’s new novel is a rollicking ride on the Hollywood rollercoaster and a heartfelt story about what it’s like for a young woman to love, and lose, in the land where dreams come true."
BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): 4 out of 5 stars.
I really liked it. The main character, Ruth, was likable. Her grandma is a hoot. It is slightly predictable, but I don't think that took away from the story.
What I liked:
Ruth is a complicated woman. She is independent in the fact that she moved across the country to pursue her dreams and doesn't really care what people think. But she is also insecure because of her appearance (it's explained in the book) and also because Hollywood would make anybody a nervous wreck, I'm sure. And she lives with, and has depended on, her grandmother since she was a little girl. I like this dual nature. People are complex, and I find that some writers only focus on one aspect of a person's nature/personality.
I also liked the struggle that Ruth experienced when finally becoming successful and realizing her dream, but also having to compromise with Hollywood execs and watching her dream evolve into something else that she's not quite happy with. I can totally imagine authors/screenwriters feeling this way when seeing their work portrayed on the screen and entire characters/storylines being changed or omitted. That would be hard for me to deal with and I appreciated reading how Ruth handles it.
What I didn't like:
There really wasn't much that I didn't like. I thought it was a good read. The only complaint that I have is that it's slightly predictable. But again, I enjoyed it.
“You don't get perfect-but I was going to grab this happiness and hold it as tightly as I could. I was going to enjoy it for as long as it lasted.”
Share your thoughts if you've read this book. Or tell me what you've been reading lately!
P.S. The Write or Die Wednesdays writer's link up is tomorrow! I really hope you'll join us. The writing prompt is this photo below. Happy writing!