Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: "The Next Best Thing" by Jennifer Weiner

Ruth Saunders, forever physically scarred by a childhood accident that also left her an orphan, has dreams of making it big in Hollywood, although not as an actress. She left her childhood home in Massachusetts at the age of twenty-three, spunky grandmother in tow, and headed for Hollywood with the intention of becoming a screenwriter. Six years later she is about to make her dreams come true- a screenplay that she has written has gotten the green light and Ruth is about to become a showrunner, but will she be able to handle the network and their extensive list of demands? More importantly will she able to deal with the crush that she has on her boss and the fact that her beloved grandmother is getting married and will be leaving her in a few short months?

Jennifer Weiner is, hands down, one of my very favourite authors. Every time she releases a book I am anxious to get my hands on a copy, and this time was no exception. I liked The Next Best Thing a lot. There was a lot going on and I enjoyed the sneak peek into the world of being a showrunner in Hollywood. There is so much that goes into making a pilot, as well as so many different factors that determine if a show will be a success or not, and I thought that Weiner's insight was fantastic. When I reached the end of the book and the author's acknowledgements and found out that Weiner was a showrunner herself for a short-lived show called State of Georgia (I remember hearing about this a while back, but had forgotten), her choice of topic made all the more sense. I could tell that she poured her personal experiences as a showrunner into this book to make it the best that it could be and I loved that.

I really enjoyed the personal relationships that were present in The Next Best Thing, especially the relationship between Ruth and her grandmother. When Ruth's parents died in an accident when Ruth was only a baby, her grandmother didn't hesitate to jump into parenting her granddaughter, and the bond between her and Ruth is evident. Her grandma is elegant and vivacious and classy and fun and I adored the way that she was portrayed. Ruth's bosses, the Dave's, were also fantastic characters. Their larger-than-life personalities along with their generous spirits made them easy to love.

Although The Next Best Thing was not my favourite out of all of Jennifer Weiner's books (Good in Bed and Certain Girls take those honours), it was a well-written and thoroughly enjoyable book that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to fans of Weiner's previous books as well as to anyone who enjoys fantastic women's fiction or a fresh peek into Hollywood. My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book.

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