I can’t remember where I first saw that Lauren Graham of “Gilmore Girls” and “Parenthood” fame had written a novel. It doesn’t really matter but I am glad that I discovered this tidbit – otherwise I might have completely missed it. Graham’s first novel Someday, Someday, Maybe is the story of Franny Banks, a young twenty-something wannabe actress living in New York City in 1995, struggling to make it as an actress. She’s fast approaching her self-imposed deadline: if it hasn’t ‘happened’ for her or if there isn’t significant evidence she’s making definite headway into becoming the actress she’s always wanted to be by the end of three years in the city, she’s going to call it quits and head back to a life of teaching English and marrying her college sweetheart. As the novel begins, the deadline is six months away and Franny has started to panic.
I watched all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls, and have a fondness for Lauren Graham because of that. I don’t know if having any familiarity with her beforehand altered my impressions of this novel, but I think it’s likely they did. I kept comparing Franny’s quick-witted, self-deprecating one-liners to Lorelai Gilmore’s (her character on Gilmore Girls for those of you unfamiliar with the show), and wondering if Graham drew inspiration from years of playing a similar woman. That isn’t to say that I disliked Franny. Her inner turmoil and struggle with finding the confidence in herself to get up every day, trying for a career that leads to success for just 5% of the people that try it is admirable and endearing. She’s a classic plucky heroine, so it’s hard not to like her while reading.
Franny lives in a crumbling Brooklyn apartment with two roommates: her best friend Jane, a wannabe producer working long days and nights as a PA on an upcoming film, and Dan, a former medical student who decided he’d rather write sci-fi screenplays than heal people. I liked the Jane character but we’re not really given that much to go on with her. She’s stylish, tells it like it is, and a devoted friend to Franny. For most of the novel we get glimpses of her over drinks every few chapters, and she mainly assumes the role of Franny’s conscience. Dan is initially engaged to Everett, a type-A Wall Street type who implies over late-night tea that she sees Dan’s dreams of screenwriting are a phase he’ll pass through before getting a ‘real’ job. He’s tall and goofy and sweet. He’s quiet but when he speaks, Franny is often comforted by his advice or reaction.
After what she thinks is a disastrous performance at her acting class’ showcase, she gets meetings with two agents in town. From here things move quickly. She starts a relationship with the hottest actor in her class, James Franklin. Franny struggles to juggle life with friends and family with her dreams and naturally moral and personal dilemmas ensue. I found that Franny handled most of these realistically, if not surprisingly. In fact, I’d say that if there’s anything negative to say about Graham’s first novel is that it’s not necessarily that surprising. Often the storylines follow what seems to be a standard ‘chick-lit’ (for lack of a better term – I’m not sure I love that phrase) formula: girl has dream, girl has saucy best friend, girl makes mistakes, girl loves boy, girl has love triangle, etc. Reading Someday you aren’t necessarily startled by how things turn out, but it is an entertaining and light-hearted journey getting there.