Hey, it’s summer, and that means taking a good book to the dock/deck/beach/basement (in my case; I have to hide from my kids).
My latest read is The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner, and it’s a fun one. It’s got the usual quirky, less-than-perfect characters and warm-hearted relationships you expect from a Weiner read. (I think this book gets my award for best poolside sex scene with a man who uses a wheelchair.) This story’s also got an inside look at Hollywood – a really inside look, since Weiner’s short-lived TV series, State of Georgia provided her with direct experience to inform the details she picked for the book.
There’s always some debate about whether Weiner’s books fit in the oft-dissed chick-lit category, and Weiner herself has said that’s just a way of describing “commercial women’s fiction.” I’d say if so, this novel surpasses the constraints of the genre (and hey, I do read chick lit, as well as the Weiner-dissed Jonathan Franzen!) Ruth’s “madcap adventures” involve juggling priorities many of us will recognize (even if not quite in this form) from the mid-career ranks: Do you stay true to your vision, or keep your staff employed?
My biggest complaint about the book is that the ending takes a turn for the best that seems just a little bit like wish fulfillment for the author. (And that’s all the detail you’ll get from me about it.) But that’s what makes this book a great summer read: It ends with a smile.
Don’t miss our Jennifer Weiner contest: Share your pick for summer reading and win a library of her work!
(You’re also more than welcome to share your picks in the comments, but to enter the contest you’ve got to fill out the form I’m afraid!)