Monday, 13 August 2012

The Next Best Thing

Finished August 10
The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner, read by Olivia Thirlby

This novel has been on beach read lists this summer, and I would say that would be appropriate. It's a novel with twists and turns and a feel-good ending. It has romance, career development, and emotional development. The main character, Ruth Saunders, was injured in a car accident as a young child, an accident in which her parents were killed. The accident left her with damage on her face and neck and she underwent several surgeries as a child. Since the accident, she has been cared for by her grandmother Rachel, a feisty woman with a great sense of fashion.
Ruth has always dreamed of writing for television and a couple years back decided to move to LA to give it a shot. Her grandmother, naturally, moved as well, and the two of them have been making a life for themselves. Ruth has had some TV writing jobs, and is now writing her first series. When her series gets picked up by a network, she becomes a show-runner. We see Ruth struggle with confidence, assertion, and control as she works on the series. We see the complexity of this type of work and learn some of the jargon. We see her love life develop along with her personal confidence and feel for her missteps.
To me the emphasis on her overcoming her physical disfigurement was interesting, but I am not sure that I liked how physical beauty and strength were portrayed here. Maybe I am reading too much into things though. As a light entertaining romance, it is great.

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