Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
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 the first work of fiction penned by the actress of Gilmore Girls fame, Lauren Graham. Following the highs and lows of a struggling actress in New York in the 90's it's clear to see the parallels between the main protagonist, Franny, and Lauren herself.
Everything about this book is charming and quirky. Lauren's voice can be heard in every line, which can either make or break this novel if you aren't a fan of the highly strung, neurotic babblings of a semi-awkward actress in a time where The Rachel was still a thing and George Clooney was still schmoozing his was through E.R.
Franny, herself, is a lovely well rounded character. I think every optimistically creative person can see a little of themselves in her or maybe that was just me? She flounces from place to place awkwardly – from her interactions with her hermit room mate to her rushing around New York to either make it to work on time or to acting class on time. The whole pacing of the book follows the internal struggles Franny is working through; torn between the life she is desperately working for as an actor and the life she's trying to avoid [namely giving up on acting and moving back to her long distance beau].
As Lauren writes from experience the of a struggling actress seem authentic. It's fun to read and feel like you're seeing a true account of what it's like for someone who just wants to get a legitimate paying job but has to make do with a detergent commercial!
Throughout the story Franny comes across the usual characters in a personal-struggle story; the quirky, slightly more successful, stylish best friend. The helpful, relationship-secure, experienced friend. The good guy job offer. The bad guy job offer. The terribly emotionally unavailable love interest. His girlfriend who just happens to be SO FUN. The parent who lovingly supports throughout. Then, finally, the actual love interest who is perfect.
Going through these characters [and I'm sure I've missed some obvious ones] makes it seem like I'm calling this book out for being totally unoriginal but, with fiction, these established roles are often there to support and direct the main protagonist towards their ultimate destination. Done well there are no snags and no instances where you have to roll your eyes and sigh. Someday, Someday, Maybe was done well.
It's not a book which is going to challenge your expectations but due to the way Lauren follows the well set-out plot path it made it an easy, enjoyable read.
My one issue was, whilst read, I found it a little bit like Bridget Jones's Diary – which I didn't like when I read it FAR too many moons ago! The narrative does read like a diary which I felt was annoying. For a character so self aware Franny was so blind to obvious truths and bad decisions! The excerpts from her Filofax were a nice touch, however, so I can't complain too much!
All in all it was a pleasant read and a book I'd read again! After reading Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren I know she's working on a new fictional novel. After Someday, Someday, Maybe I have high hopes!