Anyone who has read a People magazine knows Hollywood is not what it seems, and Jennifer Weiner's newest novel gives readers a peek at what TV is all about. At the age of 23, Ruth Saunders takes off to Hollywood with her 70 year old grandma and a story to tell. No one is more surprised than Ruth when she lands the big one: a chance to be the showrunner for her own sitcom, The Next Best Thing. As the show takes off, she realizes that to get ahead in Hollywood, you have to leave part of yourself behind.
I have heard good things about Weiner's books for years, but this is the first one I have picked up to read. I must admit I wasn't hooked on chapter one or even two because the book jumped around from the present to the past and Ruth seemed like a wimp for the first few chapters.
After getting a feel for the rhythm of the book, I enjoyed Ruth's story...mainly because she is a flawed character, both physically and emotionally. As a young girl, she lost her parents and her physical "beauty" in a car accident. Multiple surgeries couldn't correct the disfigurement, and Ruth bears scars on her body and her heart. I loved seeing her take on the perfect/fake beauties in Hollywood. I love to root for the underdog, and Weiner created a character readers will love and want to succeed. Her sidekick grandma is hilarious and could have her own book. Her steadfast support and lively personality balanced out the often shy Ruth.
The second thing I loved was that the ending wasn't a Hollywood ending. There was no happily ever after ending with Ruth getting the top ratings for her show, the actors' adoration, and the accolades. Instead, the ending was realistic and showed great character growth.
Fans of character-driven fiction will love this next best book by Jennifer, and I know I will check out her other books.
I was given this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.