Someday, Someday, Maybe
Author: Lauren Graham
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Number of Pages: 352
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A charming and laugh-out-loud novel by Lauren Graham, beloved star of Parenthood and Gilmore Girls, about an aspiring actress trying to make it in mid-nineties New York City.
Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three year deadline she gave herself to succeed. But so far, all she has to show for her efforts is a single line in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters and a degrading waitressing job. She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates-Jane, her best friend from college, and Dan, a sci-fi writer, who is very definitely not boyfriend material-and is struggling with her feelings for a suspiciously charming guy in her acting class, all while trying to find a hair-product cocktail that actually works. Meanwhile, she dreams of doing "important" work, but only ever seems to get auditions for dishwashing liquid and peanut butter commercials. It's hard to tell if she'll run out of time or money first, but either way, failure would mean facing the fact that she has absolutely no skills to make it in the real world. Her father wants her to come home and teach, her agent won't call her back, and her classmate Penelope, who seems supportive, might just turn out to be her toughest competition yet. Someday, Someday, Maybe is a funny and charming debut about finding yourself, finding love, and, most difficult of all, finding an acting job.
While I'm familiar with Lauren Graham, I'll be honest, I haven't seen her in all that much. I don't watch the show Parenthood, but I liked her in Bad Santa and just started watching the first season of The Gilmore Girls on DVD, which I know has a huge fan base. Even though I'm not a huge fan of Lauren Graham, I was very interested when I heard she had a novel coming out and jumped at the opportunity to read an ARC of Someday, Someday, Maybe. It's always interesting when an actor writes a novel. Because this book is about a pretty brunette trying to make her way as an actor in the mid-90s, it was especially easy to picture Ms. Graham as the protagonist and to wonder throughout how much of the novel is autobiographical.
The novel follows Franny Banks, a girl in her mid-twenties whose self-imposed deadline of showing-progress-or giving-up on acting is looming in six months. She has one commercial under her belt, but no agent, no manager, and no acting jobs to call her own. She takes an acting class with a well-respected coach and waitresses at a comedy club while schlepping from audition to audition hoping that something happens.
There were several things I really liked about Someday, Someday, Maybe. I really liked her friendship with Jane. The two were funny and realistic and you feel how special their bond was. Jane gives Franny's boyfriends hilarious nicknames like "Purpolo" to a guy who wore the same purple polo the two times he came to pick Franny up for a date. The two live together along with their third roommate, Dan, an unassuming man who is trying to write a sci-fi script and who has a long-term finance who, because she works in banking, is slightly baffled by this world populated by authors, actors, and other artists. I also liked Franny's relationship with her father and found it to be realistic, as well. Her dad is kind and supportive, but he is also slightly baffled by her world and wonders if she wouldn't be better off coming home and teaching English like he does.
I liked the way the romance(s) were handled and enjoyed how they never really took center stage of the story. This book is purely about Franny and her "coming-of-(later)-age" or at least about her character's arc in the last six months of her deadline. She has her college boyfriend, Clark, who is currently serving as her "back-up." The two aren't together, but she finds the idea of him comforting and sometimes dreams of moving to Chicago to be with him. There is the cute, established actor in her acting class who occasionally shows some interest. And there is roommate Dan, who Franny sometimes catches herself thinking about, even though he's engaged.
I liked the actualities of an actor trying to make it. The auditions, the awkwardness of trying to get an agent, the "this is it" breaks that may or may not lead somewhere. There are so many people who try to make it in both NYC and LA and the realities of that life are rarely pretty. Like the old joke of "Oh, you're an actor? Where do you wait tables?"
The things I struggled with a little are small, but they do still exist. I simply could not separate the story from the author. Again, even though I don't know a whole lot about Lauren Graham, I do know enough, and I could just not not picture her as Franny and I kept waiting for something familiar to happen (like landing a role about a mother and daughter, say, or a recognizable movie role). When an actor chooses to write about a struggling actor, you can't help but wonder how much/what parts of the story is true.
Also, when it comes down to it, this story wasn't really about anything. It's a perfectly pleasant read and Lauren Graham can certainly write, but at the end of the day, nothing really happens.
Overall, I did enjoy Someday, Someday, Maybe. It's a well-written slice-of-life story. I'm sure her fans will especially enjoy it. If she does write something new or writes a follow-up to Franny's story, I will definitely pick it up.
*I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review.*
Followers and comments are welcome and much appreciated. If you do leave a comment, please also leave a link to your blog, so I can come visit you.