Aged 23, Ruth Saunders leaves her childhood home in Massachusetts and heads to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood with her 70-year-old grandma in tow, hoping to make it as a screenwriter. Six years later, she has hit the jackpot when she gets The Call: the sitcom she wrote, The Next Best Thing, has been green-lit.
But Ruth’s dreams of Hollywood happiness are threatened by demanding actors, number-crunching executives, an unrequited crush on her boss, and her grandmother’s impending nuptials. Set against the fascinating backdrop of Los Angeles, this novel is a heartfelt story about what it’s like for a young woman to love, and lose, in the land where dreams come true.
What’s inside it?
The Next Best Thing is a great read for summer that will take you through an emotional rollercoaster to have you laughing, cringing and reaching for the tissues. The central character Ruth will never be Hollywood-pretty after a disfiguring accident when she was a child, however she knows she’s capable and destined to be a part of that world which makes for an interesting read. There are a few wee snippets of risque action – not 50 Shades of Grey-esque, but perhaps still enough to make you blush!
It feels like quintessential chick lit, which is rather unusual given Jennifer Weiner is a self-described feminist who has previously said she’s not crazy about the term as books in the genre have a tendency to not get taken seriously by critics. Definitely entertaining and the characters were likeable if a little stereotypical; however, some of the chapters lagged and were a bit of a struggle to get through.
Some noteworthy bits
The Next Best Thing is Number 1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner’s 10th book. Somewhat autobiographical of her own experiences in the book publishing world, The Next Best Thing provides an interesting insight into the world behind television – the not-so-glamorous bits behind the makeup, celebrities and the final cut.
Read it if…
You like somewhat predictable chick lit or chick flicks that give you warm fuzzies at the end.
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