Wednesday, July 10, 2013

TB&TB Book Club Conversation about Someday, Someday, Maybe

A few of us B&Bers decided to read Lauren Graham's recent debut novel Someday, Someday, Maybe and then have a discussion.  We chose this as our June book club read and I apologize for the delay in getting this post up.  The easiest way for us to do this was via email, so please forgive the longer posts...Also, be careful of spoilers! If you want to see general thoughts, scroll to the very bottom to see the "In Short" paragraph.

Lori--General impressions, like/dislikes, did the novel "speak" to where you are in life as we suspected when we first started?

Tahleen--I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I thought Graham does an excellent job with her dialogue and Franny's inner monologue; it's very snappy and funny. I wasn't sure if it would be any good just because it's not often when actors/actresses are able to become novel writers with such success. I've also never seen Gilmore Girls or Parenthood, so I didn't go in with an image of her besides what most Americans know about her.
I was also really pleased at how much crossover appeal this book has for teens; as a teen services librarian, I would feel completely comfortable recommending this one to middle and high schoolers.

Lori--I'm with you.  I was really surprised as well at how good it was.  I love Lauren Graham, so I was going to attempt to muddle through no matter what (kind of like with The Casual Vacancy), but I was really glad to not have to muddle.  I am curious to see what her next book is like.
I think that she touched on something important--we're taught to take any opportunity that we receive because, in this climate, we're supposed to count our lucky stars when we received any job.  But she considers what's right for her.  That was really nice to see.  Sometimes we get an opportunity that just isn't appealing to us and what we ultimately want to be doing.  It's a tough decision to make.
I also agree with you that there is a lot of crossover appeal.  I think a lot of females would really enjoy this.  I don't see males enjoying it.  
How did you feel about the pages from her planner interspersed?  Good?  Bad?  Fun?  Distracting?  I thought they were a little hard to decipher at times...

Bridget--I was and wasn't a fan of the planner. I thought it was cute but also sometimes distracting and occasionally indecipherable--I always worried that I was missing something if I skimmed it too quickly.
I can't say I LOVED the book, but it wasn't really my type of book, so I didn't expect to love it. I thought Franny was pretty adorable and I loved both her roommates (obviously for very different reasons!). I don't know much about the acting community/process/etc. so I can't necessarily say how "true to life" it was, but it felt real to me. What did you guys think about that? Did it seem "realistic"?
Lori, I agree with your point about how we're taught to take every opportunity we're offered because we're lucky to get any offers at all, but I was glad that Franny was able to "follow her heart" (for lack of a less cliche term) and refuse the parts that weren't right for her. I found myself feeling oddly proud of her. I will say that by the end, I was definitely invested in how things turned out for Franny, and that, in my opinion, is the hallmark of a good story: making the readers invested in your characters! Do you guys agree?
Something random that I was kind of glad to see, even though it made things less cathartic, was that Penny actually seemed to be a nice person, not just fake nice, you know? 
In the end, it's definitely a quick, enjoyable, summery read. If I hadn't already read it, I would definitely be taking this one to the beach. 

Tahleen--I thought they were cute. I liked looking at the doodles, and it was a different way to see what happened in her life instead of just telling us as it happened.
One thing I noticed was how different the world in 1995 was for recent graduates. In today's world, I doubt many people would be able to just move to NYC without a job, then get one that will only barely cover your rent and food. Too many have student loans now; a job would have to cover that stuff as well. I'm guessing most would have to get at least two jobs if they are part time.

Lori--I agree with both of you.  I did my best to decipher them, without spending too much time on it (thus disrupting my flow).  
What did you guys think about her relationship with her dad?  It reminded me a lot of my relationship with my dad.  I know he loves me, but we don't talk a whole, whole lot and when we do he usually winds up saying something about baseball because we have that in common (whereas, Franny and her dad had books).
What did you guys think about her being named Franny from the Salinger novel?  It's been a while since I read the novel, but a quick review of the SparkNotes showed that Franny was a good match, but not overly matchy.  Dan's analysis of it was fantastic.  I loved the bit about how repeating the same thing makes it true.
I go back and forth on the issue of Clark (the guy in Chicago; her back-up plan that failed).  I thought that Graham could have done more with that thread, but at the same time, what else could she have done?  We get the point at the end of the novel that Franny will end up just fine and that thing will probably work out with Dan.
Did you guys hear about them developing a TV show based on the characters?  I am really excited about that!  I think it has some good potential.

Bridget--I thought her dad was adorable. My dad and I can be like that as well. I really liked the voicemails he would leave her. 
I haven't read the Salinger novel, so I can't really comment on that part, unfortunately.
Definitely think she could have delved into the Clark thing more. I was expecting him to take on more of a role than a voice on the answering machine. But in the end, it was a good little twist that she kept avoiding calling him back because she thought he wanted to get back together (or whatever) and then it turned out that he was engaged. Awwwwwwkward.
Oh also--what did you guys think about it being set in 1995? I guess I just expect books to either be set in present time or further back than that...although I guess that's almost 20 years now...

Lori--I thought 1995 was an interesting choice.  I think that, like many first novels, this one is highly autobiographical, so she was writing about what she knew.  Without knowing that, I think that it is interesting because it's not so far off as to be totally new to the readers, but it's not recent enough that it feels hard to relate to.  Basically, we as a society can kind of agree what 1995 was like, if that makes any sense.
What did you think of James?  I was suspicious of him from the start.  Then Penny dumped him (over the boob job thing, but at the time I totally thought it was because she was a snot) and he hooked up with Franny and said some sweet things.  But then he acted weird and in a way that would/should throw up all of these red flags.  I was so proud when she ditched him at the premiere.  What he did was so not cool.

Bridget--I was so proud when she ditched James at the premiere too!! He was definitely suspicious from the beginning. What a douche. (Sorry, but still.) The boob job thing was so weird!!

Tahleen--I liked the 1995 setting, and it allowed for miscommunications that probably wouldn't happen today in the same way. I actually didn't mind Clark not being in the novel that much; I feel like if he were, it would muddy the waters a bit and would distract from the main plot.

Lori--Good point, Tahleen!  The miscommunication and the actual communication methods (answering machine and fax, especially) play a huge part in the story.  Any earlier and the technology wouldn't be there, any later and there wouldn't be so many problems.
Clark having more of a presence would have definitely clogged the story.  But at times, it kind of seemed like a throwaway.  In the end, though, I see the purpose of him--he's there to show that part of growing up is letting go and changing plans.  If Franny hadn't distanced herself from the relationship, even by avoiding his calls because she thought he wanted to get back together, it would have impeded her ability to make the progress she made.  Obviously, they couldn't get back together because of the other romantic interests, but also it would mean throwing away her dream.  Ultimately, I think Graham used him well, but it took until the end to see that.

Bridget--Lori, I definitely agree with your second paragraph. Based on the summary from the book jacket, I was expecting a lot more about Clark, but didn't get it. But like you said, in the end it really was a good use of a character.

Kimberly--Yay! I finally get to join in!
So! Clark. I like that he was put off until the end. Because I felt like he was just there, hovering. Waiting to possibly save the day or cause problems if things didn't work out for Franny. Which was how she viewed him. So I felt like I experienced it with her.
My favorite part of this book was the descriptions of theatre life. At some points I was stressing out, reading about everything because it is SO TRUE. Especially Franny's audition nightmares, I have those all the time. Usually I'm about to go on stage and I realized that I have no idea what role I'm playing, or any of my lines. It's always the stage at my high school too... I had to put the book down every once in a while and remember that it wasn't me that was auditioning/rehearsing/performing and that I had no reason to feel so nervous.
I loved the descriptions of New York too. Makes me miss it!
Franny's reaction to the movie that basically reflected her life made me laugh out loud.
Um... what else? I was surprised at how much I ended up liking Penelope. She turned out to be so much nicer than I thought she'd be.

In short:

Basically…we all enjoyed the novel.  It definitely works for a variety of ages, from high schoolers through the twenties, and probably even is a nice look back for the thirties.  Franny is a girl that we can all relate to—she’s facing problems with work, finances, men, and dreams.  Graham’s character reacts to these challenges in a very realistic and hopeful way.  A really good read.

Feel free to link up your own review or thoughts on the novel with the Mr. Linky below!


  1. I've never seen a post like this, but I think it's really great. I've never read the book, so I can't comment on that, but I think these book club conversations are a great idea :)

  2. Like most of you, I liked Someday, Someday, Maybe, but I didn't love it. I'm glad to see a book about a 20s something struggling to get her life together post-graduation, but Franny's internal monologue started to annoy me mid-way through the book. Like Bridget, I was surprised by Penny at the end of the novel, and I really came to like her. I also agree with Lori that Clark's purpose was best served as a throwaway character, which was how Franny viewed her relationship with him anyway. Enjoyed your conversation!

  3. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this one, too ... it was really good! I liked the planner bits scattered throughout, BUT I read it on my eReader and it was kind of hard to make out certain things because it was so small. :( Still ... I hope Lauren writes more in the future!

  4. I listened to this book on audio and I think it added something to the book! I liked that Lauren Graham read it herself, and it made it sound like she was just telling her own story!

    The only real issue I had with the book was that it didn't seem to be moving along very quickly. There was a lot of just thinking about how things weren't going well and staying with things because they were comfortable. I like how it ended though!

  5. I'm so glad the feedback on this novel is so positive! I was pretty excited to see that Graham had written a novel and am looking forward to enjoying it myself.

  6. I'm a ginormous Lauren Graham fan so I was excited to read this one. Long review short (review is up there in the linkys), I was a tad disappointed but only because I had crazy high expectations. It was enjoyable but very much a debut novel. I liked the 1995 setting. I'm hoping she writes a sequel! I know she's writing another one but I don't know if it's a sequel or not.


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