New book: The Next Big Thing, by Jennifer Weiner ’91 (Atria)
The author: Best-selling author Jennifer Weiner has written Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, which was made into a film, and Then Came You, among other novels. For her latest story, she drew on her experience as co-creator and co-executive producer of the ABC Family sitcom State of Georgia, which aired last summer.
The book: The main character, Ruth Saunders, is a single woman who heads to Los Angeles with her grandmother to realize her dream of becoming a screenwriter in Hollywood. The story follows Saunders, whose parents died in a car accident when she was 3, as she aims to see her sitcom, “The Next Big Thing,” become reality.
Opening lines: “The telephone rang.
“If it’s good news, there’s going to be a lot of people on the call, Dave had told me. Bad news, it’ll just be one person from the studio, the executive in charge of the project. I lifted the phone to my ear, feeling like the air had gained weight and my arm was moving through something with the consistency of tar. … Please, God, I thought — me, the girl who hadn’t been in a synagogue since my grandma and I had left Massachusetts, who’d barely remembered to fast last Yom Kippur. But still. I was a woman who’d lost her parents, who’d survived a dozen surgeries and emerged with metal implants in my jaw, the right side of my face sunken and scarred, and an eye that drooped. In my twenty-eight years, I hadn’t gotten much. I deserved this. “
Reviews: Library Journal wrote, “Full of warm and interesting characters as well as a wealth of insider industry detail, … this is a must-read for Weiner’s many fans and anyone who enjoys smart, funny fiction.” Time called the book an “utterly engaging story of a show runner 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."