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A Novel

Written by Lauren GrahamAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Lauren Graham



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On Sale: April 30, 2013
Pages: 352 | ISBN: 978-0-345-53275-6
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From Lauren Graham, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, comes a witty, charming, and hilariously relatable debut novel about a struggling young actress trying to get ahead―and keep it together―in New York City.
 
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.
 
Someday, Someday, Maybe is a story about hopes and dreams, being young in a city, and wanting something deeply, madly, desperately. It’s about finding love, finding yourself, and perhaps most difficult of all in New York City, finding an acting job.

Praise for Someday, Someday, Maybe
 
“A winning, entertaining read . . . [Lauren Graham] has smartly mined just the right details from her own experience, infusing her work with crackling dialogue and observations about show business that ring funny and true.”The Washington Post
 
“A charmer of a first novel . . . [Graham] has an easy, unforced style and, when the situation calls for it, a keen sense of the ridiculous.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“With insight, care, and an abundance of humor . . . Graham demonstrates that her acting chops are not her only talent.”—Library Journal
 
“Thoroughly charming.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“Sweet, funny, and full of heart . . . a dazzling debut.”—Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed and Where We Belong
 
“Warm and funny, charming and smart.”—Diane Keaton, New York Times bestselling author of Then Again
 
“Graham deftly captures what it’s like to be young, ambitious, and hopeful in New York City.”—Candace Bushnell, New York Times bestselling author of Sex and the City and The Carrie Diaries
 
“Fresh and funny and full of zingers, Lauren Graham’s charming writing style instantly drew me in.”—Meg Cabot, bestselling author of the Princess Diaries and Heather Wells Mystery series

Excerpt

Chapter 1

“Begin whenever you’re ready,” comes the voice from the back of the house.

Oh, I’m ready.

After all, I’ve prepared for this day for years: The Day of the Most Important Audition of a Lifetime Day. Now that it’s finally here, I’m going to make a good impression, I’m sure of it. I might even book the job. The thought makes me smile, and I take a deep breath, head high, body alert, but relaxed. I’m ready, alright. I’m ready to speak my first line.

“Eeessssaaheeehaaa.” The sound that comes out of me is thin and high, a shrill wheezing whine, like a slowly draining balloon or a drowning cat with asthma.

Shake it off. Don’t get rattled. Try again.

I clear my throat.

“Haaaaaawwrrrblerp.” Now my tone is low and gravelly, the coarse horn of a barge coming into shore, with a weird burping sound at the end. “Hawrblerp?” That can’t be my line. I don’t think it’s even a word. Oh, God, I hope they don’t think I actually burped. It was really more of a gargle, I tell myself—although I don’t know which is worse. I can just picture the scene, post-audition: That actress? We brought her in and she positively belched all over the dialogue. Is she any good? Well, I suppose you could use her, if the part calls for lots of gargling. Sounds of cruel laughter, phones slamming into receivers, 8 × 10 glossies being folded into paper airplanes and aimed into waste paper baskets. Career over, the end.

“Franny?” I can’t see who’s speaking because the spotlight is so bright, but they’re getting impatient, I can tell. My heart is pounding and my palms are starting to sweat. I’ve got to find my voice, or they’ll ask me to leave. Or worse—they’ll drag me off stage with one of those giant hooks you see in old movies. In Elizabethan times the audience would throw rotten eggs at the actors if they didn’t like a performance. They don’t still do that, do they? This is Broadway, or at least, I think it is. They wouldn’t just throw—

The tomato bounces off my leg and onto the bare wood floor of the stage.

Splat.

“Franny? Franny?”

I open my eyes halfway. I can see from the window above my bed that it’s another gray and drizzly January day. I can see that because I took the curtains down right after Christmas in order to achieve one of my New ­Year’s resolutions, of becoming an earlier riser. Successful actresses are disciplined people who wake up early to focus on their craft, I told ­myself—­even ones who still make their living as ­waitresses—­like me. I started leaving the alarm clock on the landing between ­Jane’s room and mine so I’d have to actually get out of bed in order to turn it off, instead of hitting snooze over and over like I normally do. I also resolved to quit smoking again, to stop losing purses, wallets, and umbrellas, and to not eat any more cheese puffs, not even on special occasions. But I already had two cigarettes yesterday, and although the sun is obscured by the cloudy sky, I’m fairly certain it is far from my new ­self-­appointed rising time of eight a.m. My ­three-­day abstinence from cheese puffs and the umbrella still downstairs by the front door are my only accomplishments of the year so far.

“Franny?”

Only ­half-­awake, I roll over and squint down at the pitted wood floor by my bed, where I notice one black leather Reebok ­high-­top lying on its side. ­That’s strange. It’s ­mine—­one of my waitressing ­shoes—­but I thought I’d left them outside ­the—­thwack!—­a second Reebok whizzes by, hitting the dust ruffle and disappearing underneath.

“Franny? Sorry, you didn’t respond to my knocking?” Dan’s voice is muffled and anxious from behind my bedroom door. “I ­didn’t hit you with the shoe, did I?”

Ahhh, it was my shoe that hit me on the leg, not a tomato. What a relief.

“I dreamed it was a tomato!” I yell at the half-open door.

“You want me to come back later?” Dan calls back anxiously.

“Come in!” I should probably get out of bed and put Dan out of his misery, but it’s so cold. I just want one more minute in bed.

“What? Sorry, Franny, I can’t quite hear you. You asked me to make sure you were up, remember?”

I suppose I did, but I’m still too groggy to focus on the details. Normally I would’ve asked our other roommate, my best friend, Jane, but she’s been working nights as a P.A. on that new Russell Blakely movie. Since Dan moved into the bedroom downstairs a few months ago, I haven’t noticed much about him except how unnecessarily tall he is, how many hours he spends writing at the computer, and the intense fear he seems to have about coming upon either of us when we’re not decent.

“Dan! Come in!

“You’re decent?”

In fact, I went to sleep in an outfit that far exceeds decent, even by Dan’s prudish standards: heavy sweatpants and a down vest I grabbed last night after the radiator in my room sputtered and spat hot water on the floor, then completely died with a pathetic hiss. But that’s what you get in Park Slope Brooklyn for $500 a month each.

Jane and I had shared the top two floors of this crumbling brownstone with Bridget, our friend from college, until the day Bridget climbed on top of her desk at the investment banking firm where she worked and announced that she no longer cared about becoming a millionaire by the time she turned thirty. “Everyone here is dead inside!” she screamed. Then she fainted and they called an ambulance, and her mother flew in from Missoula to take her home.

“New York City,” Bridget’s mother clucked as she packed up the last of her daughter’s things. “It’s no place for young girls.”

Jane’s brother was friends with Dan at Princeton, and assured us that Dan was harmless: quiet and responsible and engaged to be married to his college girlfriend, Everett. “He was pre-med, but now he’s trying to be some sort of screenwriter,” Jane’s brother told us. And then, the ultimate roommate recommendation: “He comes from money.”

Neither Jane nor I had ever had a male roommate. “I think it would be very modern of us,” I told her.

“Modern?” she said, rolling her eyes. “Come one, it’s 1995. It’s retro of us. We’d be Three’s Company all over again.

“But with two Janets,” I pointed out. Jane and I are different in many ways, but we worked hard in school together, we’re both brunettes, and we’ve both read The House of Mirth more than once, just for fun.

“How true,” she sighed.

“Franny?” Dan calls out, his voice still muffled. “You didn’t go back to sleep did you? You told me you’d try if I let you. I promised I’d make sure—

I take a deep breath and I bellow, in my most diaphragmatically supported Shakespearean tone: “Daaaaaaan. Come iiiiiinnnnnnn.”

Miraculously, the left side of Dan’s face appears through a crack in the door, but it’s not until he’s confirmed my fully covered status and stepped all the way into the room, leaning his oversized frame awkwardly against the corner bookshelf, that I suddenly remember:

My hair.

I have no romantic feelings ­toward Dan, but I do have very strong feelings about my unruly, impossibly curly hair, which I piled into a green velvet scrunchie on top of my head last night while it was still wet from the shower, a technique that experience tells me has probably transformed it from regular hair into more of a scary, frizzy ­hair-­tower while I slept. In an attempt to assess just how bad it is, I pretend to yawn while simultaneously stretching one hand over my head, in the hopes of appearing nonchalant while also adjusting the matted pile of damage. For some reason this combination of moves causes me to choke on absolutely nothing.

“Is it . . . (cough, cough) . . . is it ­really late?” I sputter.

“Well, I went to the deli, so I don’t know exactly how long your alarm’s been going off,” Dan says. “But Frank’s been up for at least two hours already.”

Shit. I am late. Frank is the neighbor whose apartment we can see into from the windows in the back of our brownstone. Frank leads a mysterious, solitary life, but one you can set a clock by. He rises at eight, sits in front of a computer from nine to one, goes out and gets a sandwich, is back at the computer from two until six thirty, is gone from six thirty to eight, and then watches TV from eight until eleven p.m., after which he goes promptly to sleep. The schedule never changes. No one ever comes over. 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.
Lauren Graham

About Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham - Someday, Someday, Maybe

Photo © © Jeff Lipsky/CPi Syndication

Lauren Graham is an actress best known for her roles on the critically acclaimed series Gilmore Girls and Parenthood. She has performed on Broadway and appeared in such films as Bad Santa, Evan Almighty, and Because I Said So. She holds a BA in English from Barnard College and an MFA in acting from Southern Methodist University. She lives in New York and Los Angeles.
Praise

Praise

“A winning, entertaining read . . . [Lauren Graham] has smartly mined just the right details from her own experience, infusing her work with crackling dialogue and observations about show business that ring funny and true. . . . Just like the screenwriters of the best romantic comedies, she has taken elements of the familiar and spun them into a novel that’s heartfelt, hilarious and, hopefully, just the first example of what she can do with the written word.”The Washington Post
 
“A charmer of a first novel . . . [Graham] has an easy, unforced style and, when the situation calls for it, a keen sense of the ridiculous.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“With insight, care, and an abundance of humor . . . Graham demonstrates that her acting chops are not her only talent.”—Library Journal
 
“Thoroughly charming.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“Sweet, funny, and full of heart . . . a dazzling debut.”—Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed and Where We Belong
 
“Warm and funny, charming and smart.”—Diane Keaton, New York Times bestselling author of Then Again
 
“Graham deftly captures what it’s like to be young, ambitious, and hopeful in New York City.”—Candace Bushnell, New York Times bestselling author of Sex and the City and The Carrie Diaries
 
“Fresh and funny and full of zingers, Lauren Graham’s charming writing style instantly drew me in, but it was her relatable characters (complete with doodled date-book entries!), irresistible romantic twists, and delicious plot that kept me turning the pages until well past my bedtime.”—Meg Cabot, bestselling author of the Princess Diaries and Heather Wells Mystery series


From the Hardcover edition.
Reader's Guide|Discussion Questions

About the Book

A Conversation between Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman
 
MAE WHITMAN  is a child-turned-actor who hails from and currently resides in East Los Angeles with some dogs, a turtle, a cat, and a super cool roommate. You can find her acting on the shows Parenthood  and Arrested Development or hear her speaking as the voices of Tinker­ bell  and  April O'Neill. She enjoys reading comic books, eating kale, sitting  down outside and showing people her scars from when she fell down the stairs at the premiere of the movie Twilight
 
 
MAE WHITMAN: So, I was extremely happy to be one of  your earli­est readers ...
 
LAUREN GRAHAM: I was extremely nervous! I'd hardly showed it to anyone at that point, and while I hope it appeals to a broad audience, it was especially important to me that it appealed to someone your age, in the field, never mind you in particular as my friend. Plus, work would have become incredibly awkward if you hated it.
 
MW: But I loved it. I think I texted you on page three, asking if Dan was  based on a real person and when I could meet him.
 
LG: I love that Dan appeals to readers. I think there aren't enough nerd heroes out there.

MW: I also loved the Filofax so I just wanted to know how you got there.
 
LG:  Before people were really using computers and smart phones, you had pen and paper--a physical representation of what was going on  in your life. Back when you had to write things down, you got a real sense of the times that were busier and times where nothing was happening. So  much of  being an actor is  waiting for the phone to ring, and I can remember the worried feeling I'd get when I looked ahead to an empty week in my datebook. I thought it would be a fun aspect of  the book to show those pages, since time is such a  major issue--how much time should Franny give this before she has to ac­cept that it's not going to happen? How many empty weeks can she handle?
 
MW: As a reader I thought it was great because it's  another way you really get to feel like you know her. And it also makes her so relat­able. I know I get really stressed sometimes when I look at my plan­ner and think Oh, I have so much stuff coming up! Or worse, nothing at all.
 
LG: It used to be that everyone had a datebook. I'd keep them for years, lining them up in my closet when the year was over, and it was such a great way to look back and measure your accomplishments. I'd save notes people wrote me, I'd doodle, and then I'd have this diary of small moments that would jog a memory of place and time. Now­ adays, all  that communication and expression has been replaced by information you store in your phone and probably never print out. Back then, we had no computer, only a fax machine, and you'd have to go physically pick up scripts from your agent's office. So you'd spend entire days getting on trains and buses and walking from place to place.
 
MW: And that affects your whole day, your whole life, really. All that extra travel time...how does that change the way you think?

LG: Well, you have much more time for reflection. You might be listening to your Walkman or CD player, but you weren't playing a game, you weren't texting, googling things, etc. You were staring out the window or reading. When I first started writing the book, it was surprising to me to think of that way of  spending time as something I'd grown nostalgic for. It doesn't seem like that long ago,  but these changes have happened so quickly. I also liked the idea of setting the story in a time when you had to work a little harder to make a plan with somebody. You could arrange to meet, but no one really had a cell phone yet,  so if something went wrong, you'd be left standing on a street corner wondering what happened. You'd have to  find a pay phone and they didn't always work. I remember going block to block sometimes looking for a working pay phone.

And anyway, no one expected you to get back to them right away. Wow, I sound like an old  person: We used to walk to school barefoot in the snow ...
 
MW: Uphill both ways ...
 
LG: Exactly! But it was different.
 
MW: Another thing that comes up in the book is the idea of a dead­line. There's such a strange disconnect between having a dream and then trying to put a deadline to it ...
 
LG: In most careers there are signs that you're doing well, signs that you should continue. In acting, and in writing as well, you have to make those for yourself. No one is going to tell you "Your time's up, go home now." And no one is going to tell you, "We really need more actors, so please stay!"

When I started out, I didn't exactly give myself a deadline, but I did have an internal ticking clock. When I was  in college I knew I wanted to be an actor, but I also thought, Should I get a teaching cer­tificate,  just in case? At one point in the story, Franny runs into a friend whose accomplishments are a lot more measurable than hers, and it serves as a wake-up call. We set these goals in our careers and in life, and sometimes you get what you want and sometimes you don't, and only you can say when it makes sense to keep going or when it's time to throw in the towel.
 
MW: I'm relating to this so much more than you can understand. I related to the whole book, obviously, but this point specifically--it's such a difficult thing. For me, you know, I've been acting since I was young. But still, if  anything, it's only gotten more unclear how to gauge this sort of progress.
 
LG: Which is insane, since you've worked steadily since you were five years old! But I think that's good insight into the mind of an actor. I don't know who you have to be to have a sense of security. Does Meryl Streep still worry where her next job is coming from?
 
MW: Which leads me to my next question, which is about Clark, who is Franny's ex-boyfriend, and sort of her backup plan. What does he represent for her?
 
LG: One element of Franny's journey is going from being an uncertain person to having a little more confidence. And reflecting on that made me think of those agreements you make before you know better--the  kind of deals that no one over thirty ever seems to make--which is the joking yet semi-serious Hey, if we don't meet anybody else bythe time we're thirty ...
 
MW: The Thirty Pact.
 
LG: Starring Jason Segel and Kate Hudson.

MW: Brilliant. I gotta go make a call!
 
LG: It's that idea that if your dream scenario doesn't come through, you have a Plan B that extends not just to a career realm but also a personal one. So much of life just happens to you, but there are also times when you make these more overt decisions. You think: I could choose to be this person or that one. I could be an actress living in New York, or I could live in the suburbs and marry this guy and live another kind of life. Clark was this wonderful relationship she had, but their career paths sort of went in different directions and he got into school in another city and she wanted to pursue her dream. But there's a sense of  safety in Clark as her back-up plan. And to me, that seemed like part of coming of age, and of  oming into yourself is letting go of those security blankets and accepting that there are no guarantees.
 
MW: I was in a relationship all of my early twenties, and I remember it being full of so many possibilities, but also thinking, Yeah, but if I was out of this relationship, it might be you or you or you  ...
 
LG: You're still trying things on for size to see what fits--jobs, peo­ple. It's a process of getting to know yourself, like being in a dressing room and trying on jeans.
 
MW: This one doesn't fit!
 
LG: It's terrible! But even once you find a pair that fits, there are still problems ...
 
MW: And you'll grow out of them eventually and need a new pair. But that's the thing, it does get easier. You do sort of realize that wherever you are, that's where you are. For me it's happening a lot more, being able to let go. You realize that you know you won't fit in the same jeans that you've kept for years and that's okay.
 
LG: It's rare when you see those people--I'm just really loving this jeans metaphor, by the way--who buy a pair of jeans in high school, and they're still wearing them thirty years later. It can be a good or a bad thing.
 
MW: Or they have them in a drawer and they're thinking I'm aimin' to fit back into these bad boys someday. It's like, just acknowledge the nice new capris that you have!

LG: It's a funny thing too in terms of  being a young woman and hav­ing a real career drive. There's still no easy answer as to how to bal­ance that. There's no way that having immense ambition isn't going to impact your personal life. And this career in particular can be all­ consuming. It has these odd aspects to it, where you're endlessly meeting new people and having to connect and pretend they're your husband, for example. It can be treacherous personally because it invites new opportunity all the time, which can invite insecurity. Maybe you have to  go film in Toronto, maybe you have to  go do a play in Poughkeepsie. There's no predictable routine. Clark represents Franny's path not taken, someone who, if she weren't pursuing this acting career, she might have followed into a different kind of life.
 
MW: That unpredictability and variety is the reason why I'm an actor, and the reason that sometimes I wish I wasn't. I love every­thing so much; I wake up and go I don't know what I want to put on­--safari clothes? Do I want to dress like a hip-hop artist? I get  to go be a drug dealer without having to get arrested. I get to be all these things in one life. Then I come home and I'm like, what's my thing?
 
LG: I tried to show that in the book  too--the impact of all that time spent imagining what you would do if. And how,  even though you're
trying to bring your own light to everything, you also spend your day trying to please other people, hoping that you're their vision of what they wrote, or what they saw in a part, and it can take a toll on your own sense of-
 
MW: Your life!
 
LG: Yeah. It's a really odd profession in that way. Plus, in the nine­ties, there were maybe two tabloids--not ten, like there are today. There was no American Idol...
 
MW: Hardly any reality TV  at all.
 
LG: Right, so there wasn't this sense of what to emulate, the idea of Anyone can do this, which I think exists slightly more now. There were the performances you'd see in the movies and onstage but there wasn't as much exposure to actors' personal lives. There wasn't that celebrity thing that there is now. I went to grad school with a bunch of aspiring actors and I don't think anyone ever once said  "I want to be famous." That was not the point.The point was to work at a great regional theater somewhere. The point was just to be an actor at all.
 
MW: One other thing I was thinking about is Franny feeling like she has to squeeze into a character that is so not her. How does that affect whether she's true to herself?
 
LG: Right. So, Franny gets offered a part that requires her to be top­less. Another odd thing about this acting journey is that you're confronted with these sorts of questions along the way. You didn't write the material, but you're the one playing the part, and it affects and reflects on you personally. So this was just another way that I was try­ing to depict these Who am I? situations, which never end.
 
MW: You get confronted with that every day, with every choice, with every new project ....
 
LG: It's one of  the quirks of the job. You're probably not going to be asked to be topless in your law firm, unless things have taken a really unusual turn. But as an actor, it's different.

I remember a friend once saying that the only thing you have as an actor is "no." And that's on a good day, when things are coming to you, and you have the ability to pick and choose, since normally this is a career where there's not enough work going around. It's so interesting that it attracts as many people as it does given how draining it can be.
 
MW: It's interesting that you say that, because I was thinking about morals and such, and that scene with Barney Sparks, where she clicks with him at first, but then sort of gets suckered into this situation with another agent that's so not her....
 
LG: At one time or another, most people fall prey to trying to belong to  the club that wants them the least. For Franny, on the one hand there's this agency that feels very slick and fancy, and on the other hand there's a man who seems to really understand her. And that also goes  on with the two boys she's interested in: James Franklin and Dan. I think it's rare that difficult choices are all that clear. You're never choosing between the right job and the wrong job, the right guy and the wrong guy. So I liked the idea of a character like Barney Sparks, who isn't obviously the right choice, whose language is a lit­tle bit cliche, who's older and maybe past his prime. There's that ele­ment of  time again--it isn't a business that treasures aging. But the wisdom he has for Franny is really simple, but true. The acting pro­cess, as a business and a craft, is really about finding yourself. I just liked the idea of this older guy who's seen the journey a thousand times. It's sort of a Dorothy and Oz thing. It was always Kansas. She just has to realize it.
 
MW: That's something I understand so deeply, but it's also a constant battle. You do need people who want the best for you but ultimately it comes down to your own heart's song. What feels like the most hon­est, pure thing for you.
 
LG: Well, you're relying on yourself. And that's a theme too, and will be even more so in the next book. It's a calling, it's a craft, it's an art, but it's also a job. How much of your life do you  give to your job? And what does it cost you?  How do you cope with a job where you've spent the day crying because Amber was in a car accident or whatever?
 
MW: If I think of the number of scenes where I've gone back to my neighborhood and to a bar afterward, and stared blankly at a wall with a beer, just trying to come back again ...
 
LG: When I started out, it didn't get to me like that. It does now. But at first, I mainly did comedy and I was like, it's fine, nobody's going to need me to cry in anything; I'm a comedian. So it's been surprising to me  to do as much drama, because I never saw myself that way. Another example of how this business tells you where, or if, it wants you. There are so many things that aren't in your control. It's a slip­pery shifting thing.

It's never a job where you go home and think, "I've really licked this whole acting thing; boy, do I know what I'm doing!"
 
MW: Never! So, given that you're already in a baffling and challeng­ing field, what made you want to write a book?
 
LG: I was an avid reader as a kid--I came to acting through reading. As a young reader I always pretended I was all the characters, any­ way, so it was an easy transition to becoming an actor pretending that the lines I was  given were just coming to me off the top  of my head. So, while the process itself wasn't easy at all, the practice of  imagin­ing what these characters might say or do was familiar in a way, and very gratifying. And I could do it all myself, without waiting for the phone to ring.

Discussion Guides

1. Why do you think the author chose to tell parts of the story through pages of Franny's Filofax planner? What elements does it add to the novel?

2. Is setting a deadline on your dream a good idea? Or is it unrealis­tic? Do you think it ultimately helped or hindered Franny's career?

3. Although he only appears as a recorded voice on the answering machine, Clark plays an important role in the story. What does his and Franny's back-up plan represent? What does his engagement force Franny to do?

4. For parts of the novel, Franny adapts to a situation by playing a character she is not. When is she being true to herself? When is she most happy?

5. Why didn't Franny sign with Barney Sparks? What would you have done in her position?

6. Franny appreciates the bridge on the D train because it helps her put things in perspective. Do you have a D train bridge in your life? What is it?

7. Do you agree with Franny's interpretation of love triangles on page 281?

8. Penelope and Franny have an interesting relationship through­out the novel. In what ways does it change? What does Penelope help Franny understand?

9. On page 307, the taxi driver remarks, "How'd it get this far and not go pop?" Why does this resonate with Franny? What could it represent in her life?

10. What does everyone else see in Franny that she doesn't see for herself?

11. On page 335, Franny's father tells her, "Imagine the best for yourself now and then, won't you, hon?" Discuss the importance of having a positive attitude, and how this changes for Franny.

12. The characters throughout the novel have their own individual takes on authenticity. What does it mean to James? How is that different from what it means to Dan, Franny, or Penny? VVhich defini­tion do you agree with? Is it possible to be authentic in an industry that is in itself an artificial craft?

13. How has Franny changed by the end of the novel? What were her most transforming moments? Who most strongly influenced her?

14. Of all the themes in the novel--dreams, hope, friendship, believ­ing in yourself, etc.--which did you find the most compelling? What do you think is the takeaway lesson of the book?


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