I had abandoned this book and went back to try to give it another shot since I've loved a number of Jennifer Weiner's novels. Had to abandon it yet again. The book involves the television industry and she spends a good chunk of the book describing the process of writing and producing a television show in painstaking detail. If this is an area of great interest to you, by all means, pick it up. However, for me, the description of the biz significantly slowed down the action in the story enough to make me toss it.
I also had a difficult time with the incredibly whiny main character, Ruth. She is just so damned mopey and broken to a point beyond empathy. Also, she seems a little creepy and stalkerish as she creates relationships in her head with fellas who have shown no interest in her whatsoever.
The narrator only added velocity to my mental pitching of this book. She sounds like a fairly young person who hasn't quite got the hang of adding important inflections here and there. She mispronounces words. And you know? When certain young women? End statements with a high-pitched questioning voice? Drove me bonkers.
Did not like.
I loved the ending! I was a little disappointed when I found that it wasn't a typical Jennifer Weiner book. I always looked forward to her funny, crazy characters.
There were a couple. When Ruthie finally hooked up with Little Dave and, of course, the ending. I don't want to give the ending away, as I didn't see it coming. I thought the book was done and wrapping up, and bang a fabulous ending.
I found the narration to be a little flat and slow. After I became accustomed to it, I felt that it reflected Ruthie's pessimistic personality.
You really can do it your way and win.
This book is about love, loss, ethics, appreciating what you have, integrity and living by your own principles despite errors you may have made along the way.
Life is not about being beautiful, shallow, and trying to be what you think that everyone wants. Just be yourself. Be true to yourself and you will be a success.
The protagonist (Ruth) is too passive and has no confidence. Ok, you have scars on your face. That must be hard. But you're a successful TV writer. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and stop complaining that nobody will ever love you because of your scars. Try online dating or something. She continually gives in to everyone in her professional life and she's even passive in the final resolution of her love life (no spoilers). It's hard to root for someone who can barely root for herself.
One more thing, which has to be said... the book (unintentionally) has a moral of "It doesn't matter if you don't love yourself. Just find a man to love you and everything will be ok."
I have not.
The narration was too slow.
Depends how much time you have on your hands. There were a lot of things about this book that made me mad but, as someone interested in TV production, the subject matter was interesting. Ultimately, I did want to know what would happen next and I felt myself getting angry on Ruth's behalf as she got continually screwed in the pilot development process.
There were so many times that I wanted to yell, "I don't care what everyone in the room is wearing!" "I don't care about every item of food and drink that you served for dinner!" "Why, oh why, are you telling me everything that is contained in your grandmother's purse? Why??"
This is the problem with audiobooks. If I were reading, I would have just skimmed over these parts. This is why I recommend the abridged version.
Everytime I pick up or listen to a new Jennifer Weiner title, I think I look for Candy Shaprio. Ruthie was no Candy. As the key character of this novel, Ruthie is certainly likable as is her grandmother. It felt like there were autobiographical elements here, and maybe even a treatise on the TV show production business -- and while interesting to learn how TV shows are put together, I just never found myself able to fully embrace Ruthie or her story as I have other Jennifer Weiner titles. If you are a die hard Weiner fan, you have no choice but to read The Next Best Thing -- and you will likely find something to enjoy, but if you are a Weiner newbie ... I cannot completely recommend The Next Best Thing.
I really enjoyed the storyline, and it has changed the way I watch TV, thinking about all that went into the prodcution process. The narration- just ok.
Story is great and the narrator was perfect as Ruth Saunders. I wish she would narrate more books!! I have always loved Jennifer Weinner every since good in bed.
I will definately pick another one of hers next!! Funny engaging and well worth the time.
No I don't think she has any others.
Yes. Really liked and related to the characters. Loved the insider information on how tv shows are made.
Ruth. She makes the same mistakes all young women make when starting out = and learns from them. You root for her and in the end, she wins.
Never heard her before, but I will look for her again.
No. I liked the book immensely but wanted to take it in and process the story in pieces.
Real dialogue. Believable characters. Fun to hear the back story of life in Hollywood.
I expected more especially as I read the prequel Swim!
Moved along faster in some parts and slowed down in others!
The narrator was fine!
Don't know! The ending leaves you hangin a little but it is also a very realistic ending.
This book focuses on the relationship between a damaged but determined young woman, the grandmother who raised her, and the Hollywood types that she longs to become a part of. The story held my interest, but I wanted the "flashbacks" to move a little faster. The pitfalls of romantic coming-of-age rang true, mostly. I felt the ending dragged out a bit... but was glad to have the story come full circle. Olivia Thrilby sounded authentic as the narrator's voice.
It was very interesting to read from the prospective of a sitcom writer.
It is a very unique book, and that is one reason that I liked it. I really haven't read a book like it.
You could really see how the main character was feeling -
The grandmother...I loved the relationship between the two of them.