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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Someday, Someday, Maybe I'll Be an Actress

Book Review: Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Book Type: fiction, actors, NYC, 90s, "I really need this job.  Oh God, I need this job. I've got to get this job!"

Stereotype Alert: A few things about the 'craft' that seem a bit stereotypical but it's all part of Franny's journey.

Cover Art:  Meh.  This book could be about anything, but it is clear that it takes place in New York City.

Bed/Bride/Bludgeon: Stavros/Dan/James

Character Score: 7 out of 10 Mr. Micawbers

What's the Story?:  Franny Banks is a struggling actress.  She's struggling to find an agent, struggling to pay her bills, struggling to get a real acting gig... but she's promised herself that she's not one of those people who is going to keep hanging on in New York long after it becomes obvious that she wasn't meant to be an actor.  So she has six more months left until the end of the three year deal she made with herself.  If something doesn't happen soon, it's time to find another career...

X-Factor: 90s nostalgia, Lorelai Gilmore flashbacks, Broadway!



Stereotype Alert: OK.  I will just say off the bat that when I saw this book in the box of new ARCs that came to the library, I was super skeptical.  I mean, I LOVED Gilmore Girls.  Lorelai Gilmore is probably one of my all-time favorite TV characters.  But Lauren Graham wrote a book?  Seriously?  What on earth does she know about books???? I mean, I'm sure she reads books but what qualifies her to write one?  This wasn't going to be one of those Tyra Banks/Hillary Duff things, was it?  Oh God!  But then I did a bit of research.  Turns out, Ms. Graham has a Bachelor's degree in English from Barnard College.    And this book is about acting.  So I put my concerns aside and started to read.  There are a few stereotypical things about acting and actors, but it was all part of Franny learning to be her own person and a better actor.  So for that (and the stereotypical movie plot mirror bit) I officially forgive you, Ms. Graham.

Cover Art: Well first of all, my ARC from Random House doesn't have the girl in a red coat on a bike on it.  But even after seeing this final cover, I'm still scratching my head.  I would have preferred some Broadway or cityscape lights.  I dunno.  The girl on the bike has NOTHING to do with this book.  Trust me, Franny would SOOOO not be biking across a bridge.  Like, ever.  Whatever. 

Bed/Bride/Bludgeon: Guess I should explain these choices.  Um.  Well. See, Franny is always talking about her acting teacher, John Stavros.  Apparently he is some super awesome actor and instructor.  I'm just going to take a leap and also assume that is is 1. Super famous. And 2. Super hot.  So there's pick number one.  Who wouldn't want to marry Dan?  Oh Dan.  You make me smile.  And James?  Ugh.  Franny should have kicked him to the curb as soon as they did that scene together for class.  You are the reason why people think that all actors are shitty human beings. Bleck.

Character Score: Loved them.  Love Dan.  Love Jane.  Lovelovelove Franny.  Loved Franny's Dad.  Seriously, a few of my favorite parts were his phone messages to Franny and this bit: "Also, one of my students says there's a show called Friends?  Apparently it's a popular one.  Maybe you should try to apply for that."  LOL.  "Apply for that."  That is classic.  Good character choices overall.

What's the Story?:  Franny Banks has always wanted to be an actor.  After college, she packed up her things and moved to New York; giving herself three years to make significant strides in her acting career.  Now it's 1995 and the three year mark is looming. But it's taken Franny practically that long to get a decent waitressing gig at a comedy club and to get into a top-notch acting class. All she has to show for her hard work is a terrible commercial for Christmas sweaters and a contact at an agency who only sends her to auditions for commercials.  Franny's best hope is the showcase that her acting class is putting together.  There will be real agents in attendance and Franny hopes that if she does really well, this will be the big break she has been hoping for.  But then she falls in the middle of a monologue and, worse yet, maybe flashes the audience.  However, when Franny goes to Stavros afterwards for notes, he tells her that two different people were interested in her.  Two!  Franny immediately calls the prospective agents and sets up meetings.  

Barney Sparks of the Sparks Agency is a nice, if not older, agent running a one man talent agency.  He and Franny hit it off right away but Franny decides that she should at least meet the other agent before signing any official paperwork.  Then Franny arrives at Absolute Agency- one of the best groups in town.  She is immediately impressed by the big, shiny offices and the rather official Joe Melville. When Melville casually suggests that Franny go around the corner to a casting session, all thoughts of poor Barney immediately vanish.  

Franny learns a lot about acting during the course of the book.  Graham really pits her against a lot of different types of actors and you can see that though Franny is very talented, she is constantly floundering because she feels that she is missing something that everyone else has.  She has to work herself through many no's before she gets any yes's.  She has to decide what is most important about acting and what the craft means to her.  For example: will she appear topless for a few mere seconds in order to land a movie role?  Will she read each script as she thinks the casting directors want to hear it or will she take chances to let her own abilities shine through?  

Someday, Someday, Maybe was a delightful book.  That is not to say that it was fluffy and light, but the book itself made me feel warm and satisfied after reading it.  Lauren Graham has created a fun romp through the life of an actress during the mid-90s and it is obvious that she had a lot of fun doing it.

X-Factor: I Love the 90s!  The scrunchies!  The Macarena!  The rollerblades!  While these things didn't overwhelm the book, they were certainly fun.

Also,

Is that you, Lorelai Gilmore?  Ok.  At first I had a REALLY hard time not projecting Lorelai into every single thing that Franny did.  Sure, she's klutzy and unorganized like Lorelai, but the similarities stop there.  I promise, Ms Graham, that I will reread the final copy of this book and put all thoughts of Lorelai out of my head.

And:

Broadway, baby!  Oh how I sort of still wish I'd gone to New York so I could be on Broadway.  It's funny, but I could totally see myself in a lot of the things that Franny said and did.  Minus the smoking.  Obviously that wouldn't have helped my career in musicals :)  

Someday, Someday, Maybe is available from Ballantine Books at all fine bookstores as of April 30th, 2013.  


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