Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Review: The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner
Ruth Saunders has been raised by her grandmother after a horrific accident killed her parents and left her horrible scarred. Her grandmother has been by her side ever since. Ruth has gone through many painful surgeries, she knows that people take a second look at her when they see her but she moves to Los Angeles, confident that she will make it in the world of television. Her grandmother decides she is ready for a change, and packs up all her things to move with Ruth. Six years later, Ruth gets the call that her script was liked by the network- the show was given the go ahead. Ruth learns that the world of television isn’t exactly what she expected. The script she wrote is now on the table for everyone to critique.
This was my first Jennifer Weiner book and I really enjoyed it. I thought the plot was original and the characters were likable. Ruth's story is sad and her disfigured body really plays with her moods. She has a hard time not thinking about what others think about her, and she’s really not confident in her appearance. Throughout all the hospital visits, and surgeries, television has been her constant. She’s escaped her world and go through her days by living vicariously through the characters on TV. Ruth wants to create a show that will offer someone else that escape. Her story is loosely based on her life, and she incorporates her grandmother into the plot line. The problem starts when the network wants to tweet her grandmother, and she knows her grandmother would be embarrassed by the changes. Ruth learns that television isn’t just about a story, it’s about ratings, advertisement slots and ultimately it’s a business that can be harsh.
The romantic element to the story was interesting; Ruth’s boyfriend dumps her as soon as he realizes that he doesn’t want to be a part of her new world. Ruth ends up secretly crushing on one of her bosses who has a beautiful girlfriend and she feels like she has no chance. Ruth decides to focus on her show and forget about men.
If you’re looking for a good story, fast-paced and original, I would recommend this one. I will try another book by Jennifer Weiner, I enjoyed her writing. I was rooting for Ruth and I really felt for her. She hasn’t had an easy life, and her relationship with her grandmother was admirable.