Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
Published by Ballantine Books
Publish Date: April 30, 2013
Find it here: Goodreads | Amazon
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. –(excerpt from Goodreads)
My Thoughts: Okay so I have a confession to make: I chose to read this book because of the cover. I know, big shock to most of you – I do that all the time. It’s a lovely cover with that perfect splash of red that I love. I have another confession to make that may get some wide-eyed glares from some of you: I’m not a Lauren Graham mega-fan. I don’t mean that negatively at all – I simply mean that I’ve never seen Gilmore Girls. And I’m not up-to-date on Parenthood (which is a great show, honest). I really don’t watch a lot of TV. So I understand that several of my reading friends went completely bananas (yes, y’all went bananas) to see that Lauren Graham wrote a book. I get it; I fangirl too. I do.
Since I’m not the mega-fan that some of you are, I have to admit to approaching this book in a different way: just like any other regular book with a stunningly pretty cover. Did this affect my reading experience? I don’t know. Maybe.
Frannie Banks came to NYC to make it big and she’s on a deadline.
Her time is just…about…up.
After a horribly embarrassing moment in a production, Frannie can barely believe she gets the chance to meet with two agencies – two potential chances for representation! After meeting with both and thinking about which to choose – she makes her choice. Suddenly she is getting auditions for commercials and soap operas and all sorts of things are happening – all while she is still maintaining her crummy regular low-paying job, living in her same apartment, and living her same life. She realizes that just because she is now ‘represented’ – things haven’t miraculously changed overnight. She just has to work even harder.
Is. That. Even. Possible?
See, even though all of these great new opportunities are jumping up, none of them are equal to a success – yet – and Frannie’s timeclock is still ticking! She’s a little bit stressed. What will she do if she hasn’t found real work when time’s up?
She has lots of men but no solid relationships.
1. Clark. He’s sort of her boyfriend, kind of. He doesn’t live in New York anymore. They made an agreement that if she hasn’t found work by that doggone date that is about to pop up, she’ll move out of the city to be with him.
2. James Franklin. He’s the really good-looking, actually-successful actor that Frannie sort-of knows and then begins to date. (Squeal, squeal, throw the confetti! She’s dating an actor!) Except are her dates real dates if they’re secret dates? Hmmm…
3. Dan, the roommate. He’s a writer. He’s her friend. He’s her really, really good friend. They get along really well together but they definitely aren’t attracted to one another. No way. Because they’re friends. And roommates. That wouldn’t happen in real life, right? Attraction, I mean? No, probably not.
It’s obvious that Frannie’s goal and most important thing is her career, and this is okay. But she has all of these dudes in her life, plus there are a few secondaries that aren’t really important. She has girls that are friends too, but these guys! – Frannie, Frannie, I shake my head. I’ll tell you why in a minute.
Frannie made me tired. She actually made me lose my breath sometimes because she was so flighty and neurotic and just, something. She had a nervous quality to her that I would most likely have too if I was living in New York City and trying to adjust to the pace of the city while juggling a job and social life and also constantly being all over the place for auditions and callbacks and photo shoots and stuff like that. I felt like I need to fan myself with a magazine or drink some lemonade just to cool off from all of her running around. (I’ve been to that city and it was HOT there – I know that Frannie, wearing black all the time, had to be sweaty. Just a guess, but a good one, I think. I digress.)
She was also so odd about her choice of men. Why carry around a sort-of boyfriend in another city and make an arrangment that IF YOU FAIL to meet your goal, you’ll leave the city you love and go be with him? To me, that doesn’t set yourself up with confidence from the beginning. This little deal is something that we learn about Frannie at the beginning of the book, and it described her perfectly. I think she lacked confidence for a large portion of the book…until a certain point when she finally began to get it together a little bit. So in my opinion, that one guy would be extra weight and would have to go. But that’s just me and obviously not our Frannie.
Then there’s James Franklin – now, reading this book and reading James Franklin was kind of fun IN PART because it reminded me of the actor James Franco WHO I LOVE for fairly obvious reasons that I won’t get into right now. So I kept imaging Frannie looking like Lauren Graham and James Franklin looking like James Franco – I’m sure this isn’t what Author Lauren Grahan had in mind, but just go with me here. So all of the scenes with the two of them were filled with this hot dude and I was like GO FRANNIE! until Frannie did some thinking and realized some things. And then I was like GO FRANNIE! all over again. I liked James Franklin in the book but the question is – as you’re reading – is he the guy for Frannie?
Then there is Dan the roommate. It’s no secret to anyone that reads anything that I write that I love the guy-girl friendships. Dan and Frannie have this wonderfully comfortable roommate thing that I just loved. I felt like when there were Dan and Frannie scenes, I could catch my breath and relax for a minute and just enjoy what I was reading. (If that doesn’t tell you anything about their relationship and who was my favorite guy, I don’t know what will.) Their scenes felt so very laid-back and chill, even when they weren’t. BUT…there was something there that I, as a reader, could see that Frannie obviously could not. And this is my favorite thing about these types of books sometimes – I found myself wanting something more for Dan with regard to Frannie. Is he the guy for Frannie? THIS, my friends, is the reason I kept reading the book – I held out hope for our Frannie and her roommate Dan who obviously had some sort of feeling for her that wasn’t verbalized but was palpable and leaping off of the pages and was so very comfortable.
As far as the other stuff about the book – the non-men stuff – the setting is New York City, and it is done SO WELL. Of course, I’d just recently been to New York so I was kind of able to follow along with Frannie at least in part as she went to the gazillion places she traveled during her days working, working, working and trying to find successful work as an actor. But even if I had not just visited New York City, I think the setting is so well done that I’d have gotten a great feel for what HUGE city life is like, with the taxis and pedestrians and blocks and avenues and walking everywhere when you can’t get a taxi and having to try to find buildings that you’ve never seen nor heard of before (that’s just something I don’t experience here in my smaller city – I’ve seen ALL the buildings and drive my own car eveywhere, and all buildings have parking lots – NOTHING like New York). I think it probably takes someone with some New York City experience to write it so well, and I enjoyed this aspect of the book even when I felt it dragged on a bit because I felt like I was right back in the city, and I so desperately want to BE back in the city again.
I also mentioned the secondaries, the secondary cast of characters. You guys, they are brilliant. I would expect this, too, coming from an author like Lauren Graham – she is familiar with the concept of a secondary cast from her work as an actor so even though she hasn’t really written before, I am not surprised that she gave us fantastic and fun and colorful secondary characters to fall in love with for a ton of reasons. There were times when I loved the secondaries as much or more than Frannie because they all seemed to have their lives together or at least they appeared to. And to be fair, Frannie did make some growth by the end of the book, so there’s that – she was just slow to get going, I think.
I think this is a fun book and a good book, but it isn’t a favorite book that I’ve read this year. It doesn’t have that certain something that makes it stick out in my memory when I’m giving recommendations. One reason for this is that I feel like the ending just sort of falls off – it’s a little too open-ended in my opinion. I was beginning to really gain momentum with the story in the latter part and by the end I was LOVING it and then BAM! it’s over. I don’t mind open-ended stories, but this is one case where I wouldn’t mind a sequel to this standalone so I can find out more because I feel like the story is a little bit incomplete – others may not feel the same way but I do. After trudging through the book, I really loved that ending and want to know more.
Ultimately, Someday, Someday, Maybe was cute. It isn’t my favorite book this year but I’m still glad that I read it – I’m glad that I pushed through and finished it. The cast is memorable and the setting is perfectly written. The pacing wasn’t the best for me, but I think I still would pick up another book by Lauren Graham in the future if she chooses to write another. I recommend Someday, Someday, Maybe for fans of Lauren Graham (because apparently there are a ton of you), fans of adult contemporary fiction with some romance, fans of theater/acting, books with a little humor infused throughout, and fans of a New York City setting.
(There is more than one romance, but still no triangle.)
Lauren Graham, the actor