Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner caught me with Good in Bed. Her infectious humor and witty non-conventional heroines kept me riveted. I’ve enjoyed her books and have enjoyed introducing her to new readers in my book clubs and amongst my friends. I’ve also loved reading her blog over the years. But something has been happening the last couple of years. I no longer find myself entranced with her novels. The Next Best Thing was a good example of this phenomenon.

Ruth Saunders has a dream of writing her own television series. Scarred after a childhood car accident that claimed the lives of her parents, she grew up raised by her loving Grandma. She moves her Grandma and herself to California and starts working towards her dream of creating her own television series. After years of hard work, her TV series has been picked up, but nothing is working the way she dreamed it would. With the network taking charge and the miscasting of characters, the once perfect script becomes a rather lackluster show.

Weiner had her own such experience in creating the ABC Family series State of Georgia. I wanted to like that show, but couldn’t. Her experiences shine through in the plot and made it interesting. My problem with the book though was that I didn’t really ever like Ruth and her love interests were also very lackluster. I want to feel and identify with the character as I have in other Weiner’s books, but I wasn’t feeling it this time around. There was little snappy dialogue or humorous situations. Overall, the plot was interesting, but the lack of depth to the characters really brings this book down. Has anyone else had this experience?

Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library


  1. hi there!

    is "the next best thing" a sequel to another jennifer weiner book? i just picked it up and for some reason i could swear that it is a follow up to one of her other books, but when i looked through my collection i couldn't find anything...

  2. Funny but i had the same exact reaction. This book looks to me like a sequel to a former one she wrote. I could swear that I've already read about Ruth or some other character writing essays for college applications and falling in love with a collegue who ends up eloping and marrying a bimbo actress.
    For the life of me though I'm unable to remember what book it is.