Title: Someday, Someday, Maybe
Author: Lauren Graham
Narrator: Lauren Graham
Audiobook Length: 8 hours, 27 minutes
Origins: Mine. All mine.
Release Date: 30 April 2013
Bottom Line: Superficial but fun
“It’s January 1995, and Franny Banks has just six months left of the three-year deadline she set for herself when she came to New York, dreaming of Broadway and doing ‘important’ work. But all she has to show for her efforts so far is a part in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters, and a gig waiting tables at a comedy club. Her roommates―her best friend Jane, and Dan, an aspiring sci-fi writer―are supportive, yet Franny knows a two-person fan club doesn’t exactly count as success. Everyone tells her she needs a backup plan, and though she can almost picture moving back home and settling down with her perfectly nice ex-boyfriend, she’s not ready to give up on her goal of having a career like her idols Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep. Not just yet. But while she dreams of filling their shoes, in the meantime, she’d happily settle for a speaking part in almost anything—and finding a hair product combination that works.
Everything is riding on the upcoming showcase for her acting class, where she’ll finally have a chance to perform for people who could actually hire her. And she can’t let herself be distracted by James Franklin, a notorious flirt and the most successful actor in her class, even though he’s suddenly started paying attention. Meanwhile, her bank account is rapidly dwindling, her father wants her to come home, and her agent doesn’t return her calls. But for some reason, she keeps believing that she just might get what she came for.”
Thoughts: While Someday, Someday, Maybe is most definitely a work of fiction, the fact that the actress Lauren Graham wrote it about the very same industry in which she became famous blurs the line between fact and fiction – if not demolishes it completely. For, it is all too easy to envision Ms. Graham as Franny. Her insights into the industry, the lessons to be learned about negotiating the red carpet, agents, auditions, and other such elements of acting are too specific to be anything but from an insider’s perspective. One definitively knows that Ms. Graham experienced some of the same humiliations, triumphs, poverty and bounty that Franny discovers. Therefore, it becomes almost impossible to avoid connecting Ms. Graham with Franny, if not outright substituting one for the other.
One of the more pleasant surprises of the novel, especially appealing to bibliophiles, are the frequent book references. Franny’s father is an English teacher, and Franny has definitely inherited her father’s love of books. There are book references throughout the story. Some are mere mentions of beloved classics. Others mention plots, characters, or even settings. Bibliophiles are going to enjoy the many allusions and will even find themselves actively seeking them. It makes for a nice change of pace given how much of the story focuses on acting.
The emotional turmoil Franny experiences as she questions her reasons for moving to New York, doubts her talents, distrusts compliments, and scoffs any breaks she gets can be a bit much for readers. Franny is not necessarily a negative character at heart, but she is definitely negative when it comes to her own self-perception, which can be wearing on a reader’s patience. Ms. Graham balances her gloomier tendencies with a series of amusing scenes that force Franny to pull herself up by her big-girl panties and refocus her attention on the prize at hand. While the incidents are often silly and always quite funny, they are not as effective as they are meant to be when easing Franny’s tendency towards Eeyore-ish behavior.
Lauren Graham has a great voice, so it comes as no surprise that she makes for a decent narrator. She is not the best audiobook narrator ever, but she has a lightness to her voice that is perfect for the self-deprecation that drives Franny. Her pacing is perfect, as would befit a trained actress, while her natural sarcasm helps blur the line between fact and fiction. It is a thoroughly enjoyable audio experience and one that improves the story tremendously, if only because it is way too easy to envision Someday, Someday, Maybe as Ms. Graham’s own story of breaking into the business.
Someday, Someday, Maybe is an enjoyable, albeit fairly superficial, story about one woman’s attempt to break into the entertainment industry. Ms. Graham pulls elements from some beloved classic novels to flesh out the story, and while she does mock herself for doing so, there is nothing surprising or new about the plot. Franny is sufficiently sympathetic and fun, but the ease with which a reader can replace Franny with Ms. Graham herself makes one question whether this story is more auto-biographical than fictional. As a result, the story loses some of the levity that it needs, especially when it comes to Franny and her self-doubts. Still, Someday, Someday, Maybe remains entertaining at the surface level, while the insights it provides on the entertainment industry is priceless.