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.
So I listened to this book on audiobooks because when I listened to Lauren Graham's other novel I was impressed by her reading skills. In fact I quite enjoyed how well she did and wanted to listen to her some more. I was not disappointed. She reads this novel in her Lorelai fun voice and that was great.
This isn't normally my kind of book, so I was surprised when I found myself enjoying it, and not surprised when about half way through my enjoyment dipped down to annoyance.
The writing style of this book was pretty unique, it's all from Franny's POV and her mind's rambling thought process "monkey monkey underpants". Her views on how her life is going and how she sees those around her was pretty interesting. If not a little confusing and sometimes made me want to skip through giant paragraphs of inner monologues.
The book has a chapter written like the scene in a script, the voice messages on her answering machine are written out in almost every chapter and her Filo Fax date book is the first sentence in almost chapter as well, which helped the quippy fun (fast, this novel is very fast if that makes sense) feel of this novel.
However because of how it's written the secondary characters are a little flat and not flushed out enough to be anything other than place holders.
I enjoyed the plot and all the trials Franny goes through from wondering if she should do a topless movie to dealing with her dad's new girlfriend. I really liked the fact this took place in the 90's, I also think you should read Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between first to really appreciate everything Franny goes through trying to make it as an actress.
What I didn't enjoy (until the very end) was Franny herself. She is selfish, whiny and immature. She is also a Special Snowflake and a Mary Sue. She is a great actress, but just doesn't know it. She is VERY pretty but has low self esteem. The two main men in this novel are attracted to her (almost love triangle bad boy versus too good to be true) and she spends the whole novel deep in self pity and self doubt. Plus she's kind of mean. The blurb is misleading, Penelope is barely a character and not awful in any way.
I originally thought this was a New Adult novel because of how Franny sounded and how she was written, only to be surprised at the end when it's revealed she's 27. Now I may have missed it at the beginning when it talks about her age, but I honestly got the impression she was under 25. In fact if it hadn't been for the mention that she'd already graduated from college this character could have been 19.
Franny's saving grace is she does grow as a character and learns some pretty interesting lessons along the path of her story. Her mind also works the way my mind does where even if I'm focused on something like work, inside my thoughts could be jumping from what to make for dinner to whether or not the aquarium is a better deal than the zoo, price wise. I think most people probably are crazier inside than they are outside.
So this is a coming of age story, but the character is coming of age at almost 30.