Published by Atria Books on 3 July 2012
Genres: Adult, Chick-lit, Contemporary
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In The Next Best Thing, all of Ruthie's wildest dreams are about to come true! She has finally gotten The Call - a sitcom she wrote has been selected for a pilot, and she has the best days of her life before things happen to make her think that having her very own sitcom on the air might not be such a good thing after all. Ruthie would have liked to choose the actors herself, but she quickly realizes that the network has their very own ideas about who should play which role in order to make the sitcom the hit they all want it to be.
Add in a little romance, and Ruthie's insecurities make her do some stupid things and she thinks all is lost when she realizes how wrong she was.
*I received a free ARC of The Next Best Thing from Atria Books via netgalley in exchange of an honest review.*
The Next Best Thing is simply delightful! It’s the only word I can use to describe it accurately. It tickled my funny bones, tugged at my heartstrings and made me root for Ruthie from the first sentence. All of the main characters seem so real to me that I wish they existed in real life. Ruthie needs a girlfriend, and I want to be that for her.
Ruthie has gone through a lot more hard times than most people, but she never lets herself give up. When bad things happen, she will cry and mope, and then get herself together and make sure she will continue to be the best she can be. Grandma is the best ever, always supportive and wanting only the best for her granddaughter. Always present, but never hovering or too intrusive.
The flashbacks to Ruthie’s childhood are so well done, the pace never gets too slow, and the narrative is never boring. I just feel happy that I was able to read this book, and share a slice of fictional life that was well written, and filled with characters that are very easy to relate to, even if none of them are like me at all. Ruthie’s inner thoughts is what makes her the most likeable, with all her insecurities, she still knows her worth, she knows she can write and share something important, and she is never giving up on her dream. That is a life-lesson that is important to all of us, never to give up is what helps us always improve and move forward.
The two Daves are both adorable in their own way, and their sense of humor had me laugh out loud several times during the story. Little Dave has his own demons to battle with, and he is also the kind of character that is easy to love and to root for. Even the fact that he is hiding himself behind his lovely girlfriend is understandable. Using a wheelchair is not the easiest thing a person has to live with, I’m sure, however he does make it look easy. He is still trying to reach his dreams, both professionally and personally.
When Ruthie runs away from Dave, she lets her insecurities get the best of her, not seeing that he has his own insecurities to deal with. Of course, since she thinks that he has a beautiful girlfriend, it is easy to see why she runs away and tries not to look back. Their romance is slow building, but so hot the embers will stay churning for a long time.
The Next Best Thing is not only a quick summer read or easy entertainment, it speaks to me on a deeper level as well, about acceptance, love and fighting for what I believe in. Also, the fact that it is about women with an average body trying to feel good about themselves is something that I think is very important, not everybody in the world is ‘Hollywood-thin’ and it is true that women need to understand that being happy is not the same as being skinny. Being successful is not all about looks, and having fun is all about being able to laugh!
I recommend The Next Best Thing to all my fellow readers, I enjoyed it immensely, and will certainly read some other books by Jennifer Weiner very soon – I had almost forgotten how good it feels to read a book about strong women who can still afford to break down and cry every now and then, women who are real, and who dare to stand up for what they believe is right.