Author: Lauren Graham
Reading Level: Adult
Plot Summary: Franny Banks gave herself three years to succeed as an actress when she moved to New York City. Now it's 1995 and she's got six months left to make it or give it up. Besides her acting worries, Franny's steady job is shaky, her bank account is lower by the day and she REALLY needs to call her Dad back.
Red Flags: Some language, some subtle sexual content, foot holding
My Rating: B+
This was better than I thought it would be, but I didn't love it. Here are some good things about it: Lauren Graham is a decent writer. Franny is a pretty endearing, well-rounded character. It's not as stupid as most chick lit. It has genuinely funny moments. The Filofax pages were a great addition. The story is engaging, and it's easy to relate to Franny's dream of making it in her dream career.
Here are some things I liked less about it: It dragged a bit for me in the middle. I also felt like Franny's character and charm got a little obscured in the middle too--she didn't sound quite the same. Some of the side characters blurred together (I did really like Jane) and some were just sort of bland. The story is predictable (not painfully so but still), and the romance is pretty cliche. At one point Franny herself even points out the cliches of the romance, which perplexed me. If you KNOW it's cliche, why not make it less so?
Overall, I did enjoy it. It didn't blow my mind, and the end seemed to fall into the trap of deep, personal understandings conveniently coming all at once with descriptions like "Suddenly I realized..." and "It was all clear now that..." Still, it was a fun read and it was fun to read about things like TV shows and acting when the author obviously knows what they're talking about.
The book did leave me with some questions though:
--I'm curious about how much of this is based on Lauren Graham's own experiences in the acting world. I don't know much about her or her career, but it would make sense for her to draw on her own life. Write what you know, right?
--What was the purpose of setting this in 1995? Are the 90s the new 80s for nostalgia? Or was the story easier to tell without cell phones? There was just no obvious reason for it to be set in 1995. Unless you count being able to have little wink wink moments, like "[Phantom of the Opera has] been running for six or seven years already. Who knows how much longer we'll have the chance to see it?"
--Does Lauren Graham know any musicals not by Andrew Lloyd Webber? She mentioned no less than four of his but no others that I recall.
--Was she making a statement about certain actors who do cookbooks and sell perfumes? Maybe she's not a fan of GOOP...