Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

I was very happy to pick up The Next Best Thing as part of my summer reading pile.  I do enjoy reading Jennifer Weiner's books.  She is one author whose books I will purchase for my shelves rather than just finding them at the library.
As I started into this book I had the disconcerting feeling I had read it before. Just a couple of plot points triggered something in me.  But I know Jennifer Weiner is too good an author to plagerize, and it was driving me nuts.  I knew I hadn't read this book, but I had read it too, so I started to flip through.  Thank goodness Jennifer Weiner had the foresight to help me along here.  At the very back of the book was a short story she had published in 2006 called Swim.  Yes indeed I had read this before, a couple of times.  Ms. Weiner took her character, Ruth from that story and expanded it into this novel.  Breathing a sigh of relief, I could now continue enjoying this novel.  And enjoy it I did.
This is the story of Ruth, raised by her grandmother since the age of 3 when we her parents had been killed in a car accident that also disfigured her.  Ruth learned to write to express all that she felt and observed in life.  She and her grandma took a leap of faith to move to LA where Ruth could pursue her dream of writing for television.  Her grandma finds new life getting work as an extra and meeting her own special man.  The book does flip back and forth quite a bit to different times in Ruth's life, but mainly focuses on where she is right now on the brink of working on her own television program.  I really enjoyed the behind the scenes look at what goes into starting a new TV series.  Weiner took from her own experiences here working on her State of Georgia which aired for one season on ABC Family.  Overall I enjoyed this one and could relate to the main character's own insecurities.  This is one of the things I enjoy about Weiner's writing, she writes relatable characters well.

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