Jennifer Weiner is a dynamo of a writer: witty and engaging with a series of best-selling novels.... But The Next Best Thing isn't on a par with Good in Bed or In Her Shoes.... Certainly, the TV business is overripe for ridicule, and Weiner leaves no Hollywood cliche unturned: the self-absorbed, empty-headed actress; the crass producer who makes casting decisions based on whether he would sleep with the actress...; the network executives who alter plots and themes on a whim. The book's nicest surprise is a lovely leading man for Ruth who is a handsome producer with a gentle wit, thinning hair and a house out of Architectural Digest—and who also happens to use a wheelchair.
Weiner is coming off a year in Hollywood, and she puts the experience to excellent use in this utterly engaging story of a showrunner who, after six years of slogging, finally gets a series on the air, only to discover that her troubles are only beginning—meddling studio execs, egomaniacal actors and one crushable but unobtainable boss.
Ruth [Saunders] gets the coveted green light for her show, but things go downhill from there.... Ruth's vision ends up getting a little watered down in the execution.... Weiner writes bitingly about the experience of women in Hollywood writers' rooms.
NPR Saturday Edition
Full of warm and interesting characters as well as a wealth of insider industry detail (Weiner was a cocreator of an ABC family sitcom), this is a must-read for Weiner’s many fans and anyone who enjoys smart, funny fiction.
A sitcom showrunner finds the road to her first series launch much rockier than expected. When Ruth Saunders gets "the call" from the network telling her that her original series, The Next Best Thing, is a go, at first she is incredulous....The plot, exposition and flashback, heavy at first, pick up speed as complications multiply. Spares no bon mot in exposing Hollywood's sexism, ageism and incurable penchant for extravagant silliness
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