The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner
Ah, a new Jennifer Weiner book. Who wouldn’t be excited to get that in the mail? This is the tenth book from the best-selling author, and one of my many favorites from her. The title is The Next Best Thing, which is also the title of a television series that Ruth Saunders wrote and is about to see on the air. Ruth moved from Massachusetts to LA at age twenty-three with her grandmother, a spit-fire lady with a killer fashion sense and who only wants to see Ruth happy. After six years of mundane jobs and pouring her heart and soul into her vision, she gets The Call. Her sitcom has been green-lighted; her dream is coming true.
Ruth quickly learns that her idyllic vision of a down-to-earth show about a young woman and her grandmother is not what TV execs want. Where Ruth wants a “normal” looking girl (not a twig, not a flawless beauty) the big-wigs want “TV-pretty” (rail thing and flawless beauty). The clashes don’t stop there, and Ruth wonders if she can survive in the cutthroat world of Hollywood and TV sitcoms.
I really enjoyed this book, and had it read in just over a day. What I thought was so interesting was that Weiner recently had her own stint with a TV sitcom; she was the co-creator and co-executive producer on the ABC sitcom State of Georgia, which aired in 2011 (and was later cancelled). So it was great for me as the reader to understand that I was truly getting a behind-the-scenes glance at how a sitcom is made. And wow – I’ve never had an urge to write a TV show, but now I really don’t! All kidding aside, the work, sweat, tears, frustrations, etc, that go into it is just mind-boggling. I found myself being mad as hell alongside Ruth, wanting to cry when she was sad, and tapping my fingers anxiously while awaiting to hear whether the show was going to continue or be axed. Beyond all that, there was also a fabulous love story both with Ruth and her grandmother, and the happy endings were well-deserved. And then there was the story of Ruth’s disfigurement from a car accident when she was a toddler. The tears dripped down my face when Ruth wrote the words I’ll never be beautiful after enduring multiple facial surgeries. There is a lot happening in this book, but the sub-plots click into place with an ease readers have come to expect from Weiner, and this book is on my Favorites List with a 5 star review!
- Jen’s ”Cupcakes Across America” book tour: What’s the next best thing to a perfect summer read? A summer reading with cupcakes! To celebrate the launch of THE NEXT BEST THING (July 3rd 2012), Jen will be embarking on a “Cupcakes Across America” tour to bookstores across the country — as thanks to all of her fans for their enormous support, she will be bringing delicious cupcakes for the audience catered by local bakeries! The following is a link to her book tour schedule: http://www.jenniferweiner.com/events.htm