“Susan T said: 4.5 stars
Lauren Graham: As funny on the page as she is on the stage
Life is often heavy. Literature is often heavy. Sometimes I just want a little light entertainment, and Lauren Graham’s debut novel, Someday, Someday Maybe sounded like just what the doctor ordered. Now there’s no reason to believe that a gifted comic actress would be a particularly gifted comic novelist. Actually, my expectations might lean slightly in the opposite direction. So let me be the first to proclaim what a fun, funny, clever, and refreshing debut this is. It was absolutely everything I wanted and more than I expected.
Someday, Someday Maybe is the story of aspiring actress Franny Banks. She’d given herself three years to make it in New York, and as the novel opens in 1995, her deadline is fast approaching. Currently, she’s waiting tables, not for Godot. The novel details Franny’s travails personally and professionally as her deadline looms. There’s no real need to describe the plot further.
It seems reasonable to assume that there’s at least a smidge of autobiography in the mix. It can’t be a coincidence that Lauren Graham’s first professional listings on IMDB showed up right around 1995. She’s writing about a time, a place, and a world that she knows. The details ring true. And she does an excellent job of articulating the work of an actor. It’s quite interesting being inside Franny’s head, hearing her thought process, as she taps into the emotions she needs to convey. It’s easy to empathize with the likeable Franny and to root for her to succeed.
One of the greatest pleasures of the novel is the humor. Both actors and the industry are satirized. Additionally, there is rich observational humor. In discussing a neighbor, Graham writes: “We worry about Frank in the way New Yorkers worry about strangers whose apartments they can see into. Which is to say, we made up a name for him and have theories about his life, and we’d call 911 if we saw something frightening happen while spying on him, but if I ran into him on the subway, I’d look the other way.”
Aside from her career, Franny is a twenty-something woman navigating the rocky shoals of romance. There’s a light chick-lit feel to the novel, and the romantic subplot was truly delightful. Graham has meta-fictional fun with romance tropes: “I mean, the whole ‘love triangle’ THING bothers me. Who even thought of that? I’ve never been in a love triangle. Especially one where the girl is torn between the obviously right guy played by the more famous actor and the obviously hideously wrong guy played by the slightly less famous actor. And also, why does the heroine always have a sassy best friend? And why is she always a brunette?”
This is not literary fiction. Graham is writing in the voice of her first-person narrator. Yes, there are a fair number of run on sentences and sentence fragments, but she brings Franny’s voice to life. I could hear her, and she didn’t actually sound very much like Lorelei Gilmore at all. Franny is a new creation. The novel’s prose is very readable, and occasionally it’s more than that. Also, Franny’s tale moves swiftly. It’s a story you’ll read in no time, and the odds are good you’ll be left wishing for a few chapters more.
Graham’s characters are appealing. You want these young people to find their happy ending—whatever that happens to be. The novel comes to a very satisfying conclusion, and I enjoyed my time in Franny’s company enough that I wouldn’t mind at all visiting with her in the future. Given her creator’s success, I’m going to gamble that things turn out alright for her. As for Lauren Graham, I can only hope those long hours on set translate to further forays into fiction. This was an auspicious and entertaining debut. I’m waiting for a sequel.
Ladyslott said: ★★★
I am a fan of Lauren Graham from both The Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, so I was looking forward to reading her first book. I wish I liked the book as much as I like the actress, unfortunately for me the book was just okay.
Someday, Someday, Maybe is a novel based on Lauren’s own journey to becoming a well known actress, so throughout the book I pictured Franny Banks as Lauren Graham. There was little in the characterization that made me think of anyone else, and in general the characters were one- dimensional and the plot was completely predictable. You know from the start what’s going to happen with Franny’s career because it’s Lauren’s story. You know what will end up happening with the two agents, you know what will happen with the two boyfriends as soon as they hit the page. The three characters I would have liked to know more about, Deena the older actress, Penny Franny’s rival/friend and Jane her roommate were very underwritten supporting characters, which was too bad because they had the most potential.
The other major flaw in the book is that I really got tired of Franny and her self-deprecating manner. Aside from criticizing herself all the time there was the constant second-guessing of her choices; after a while it was irritating. Lauren Graham is funny and charming; Franny Banks was often annoying.
Overall it wasn’t a terrible book, it is a good book to read on the beach; it just isn’t a noteworthy book or one I’ll ever think about again.”