New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Weiner returns with an irresistible story about a young woman trying to make it in Hollywood....
At 23, Ruth Saunders headed west with her 70-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 Big 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.
©2012 Jennifer Weiner, Inc. (P)2012 Simon & Schuster, Inc.
"A writer of innate brilliance." (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
"Jennifer Weiner's best-selling novels twist humor and topical issues into can't-put-down stories." (Houston Chronicle)
"Hilarious, heartbreaking, and insightful, Weiner shows she can write with exquisite tenderness as well as humor." (The Miami Herald)
Jennifer Weiner has a great sense of humor and it's as good as ever in The Next Best Thing. One reviewer mentioned that there was a lot of whining. Maybe so, but it's funny whining. Although it's a lighthearted story, it puts the Hollywood culture of shallow beauty into perspective, while emphasizing the importance of inner resources and heart. Some of the obstacles Ruthie (the main character) had to surmount became a bit tedious in places, but I found myself rooting for her and had a hard time putting the book down.
Olivia Thirbly was a great voice for the main character, Ruthie. She didn't overact or ham it up, like many tend to do. She kind of gave it to us straight, in a good way. Her voice made me sympathize with the character without feeling sorry for her or pitying her.
This is definitely a summer, chick-lit book, but with substance. The usual non-sense, reality suspending scenarios that you usually find in a chick-lit book are missing here and thank goodness!
We get an insiders look into making it in Hollywood, getting a tv show produced and being a writer. The characters were well written and had believable relationships. The dialogue felt real--this is how real people talk and express themselves.
Would definitely recommend.
Love to Read
That is was different and unique story, interesting subject the TV industry
Her voice was was irritating to me. I think this makes a better read than an audible book
If you've never read Jennifer Weiner before, then start with Good In Bed. For Weiner fans The Next Best Thing is an informative saunter through the glitz, glam and gross extravagance of the television industry.
The author does so well with the daily injustices thrust on over-weight women, but her portrayal of one with a disfigured face, with a hot body (of which Weiner is excessively enamored) was off and even grating.
Still, Jennifer Weiner delivers her normal humorous and evocative fare, even with the trite, predictable, pat ending that you generally only see in, well, television sit-coms.
Except for the surprise ending (which in hindsight was fully in line with the deus ex machina approach of this author), I couldn't find much to like about this book. I'm all for an author rooting for her main character, but when the narrative is so clearly partial to the heroine, the readers find it hard to sympathize with that character (why even bother when the author goes out of her way to accommodate her), and even more so when the heroine is so whiny, mean-spirited (all the while rationalizing her own bigotry), and a borderline stalker.
As for the narration, I found it tolerable but not very credible: the narrator often lapses into the very same question intonation for statements that the heroine criticizes in others.
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.
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