If you're anything like me, I am a sucker for "the dreamer" story: how the most humble person from a small town wants to make it big in their talent/dream career... and by this, I totally mean being a singer or actress. It's the cliché that has been around since moving pictures came to the big screen and has even graced almost every story arc of a Disney Channel original show or movie's main character. But alas, I tend to be one of those dreamers, so of course I find stories such as these appealing.
So when I came across a novel within the fiction section of Barnes and Nobles that was titled "Someday, Someday, Maybe," it was no surprise that I had to pick it up and read the summary on its backside. I found out that the main character is a twenty-something aspiring actress living in mid-90s New York City (the city in which I live right next door to), she has an actual deadline to make her dreams happen (a plan that I've been determined to follow recently) and she winds up having an iteration of my own name ("Franny" rather than "Francesca"). With all of these factors to take into consideration, as well as the fact that I would be taking my first acting class outside of school in the upcoming weeks, I decided that it was the perfect time to buy this book to read sooner rather than later.
I soon realized that actress Lauren Graham (known for her roles in "Gilmore Girls" and "Parenthood") was the woman to actually write this novel, and this made me all the more intrigued in reading it. I loved the fact that a real-life actress was writing about the authentic experience of trying to "make it" in the huge world of acting, and she sheds some serious light on this one seemingly larger-than-life fact. Franny Banks has dreamed of being an actress her whole life, and even studied the craft for her college degree, but Graham still makes a point to show how she hasn't quite perfected the game yet in the slightest. Franny is still trying to grab any audition she can and an agency to represent her all while still taking an acting class in the city. Graham focuses on the realistic struggle of a young woman trying to make a living off acting in the beginning, and I absolutely love how she writes it in such a realistic fashion.
Another thing that I love about this particular situation of Franny's is the fact that it takes place in the 1990s. There are no smartphones, or cell phones, really, for that matter, and not everyone has access to the internet. It's hard to think of a world where we can't see our favorite actors and musicians live their lives on social media or TMZ, but in Franny's world, the only outlet like this is Page Six. It even opens the question of whether aspiring actors had it easier back then rather than now, and honestly, it's 50/50. While email and casting websites make it way easier for actors to send and receive headshots and sides today, there can definitely be less anxiety about chasing the dream without social media. There's something vintage (should I be using that word for a decade that's twenty years old?) about Franny writing everything down in her Filofax and chasing her dreams in the 90s, and it's refreshing to read about working hard to achieve this dream in this time.
While the journey of Franny trying to reach her three-year deadline in its final six months is nothing short of entertaining and interesting (she is caught in a love triangle, tries to find an agency she genuinely likes and struggles to pay her crappy Brooklyn apartment rent with her waitressing job at a club, to name just a few things), the ending is not so clear. (Here's where I'll be getting into brief spoiler territory, so proceed with caution.) I'm one to dislike unclear endings to books or movies, but I seemed to really like how Graham wrote this one in particular. Not only does Franny extend her deadline to achieve her dreams, but she lands a callback for a pilot episode of a new TV show that she has to fly out to Los Angeles for it by herself. This shows just how far Franny has come from the timid girl who used to rely on her "backup plan" to marry and settle with her lawyer college sweetheart to the proud actress that summoned the courage to turn her life around to what she wanted it to be. The ending never explicitly states whether Franny did get the role or not, but I think it symbolizes the hope and possibility of dreams coming true.
For Graham's first novel, it's a read that does its job of keeping you hooked through every chapter and keeps you wondering what's going to happen to Franny, and even makes you root for her throughout. For someone who's watched various episodes of "Gilmore Girls" (solely because of my sister and now voluntarily), you can totally hear the kind of humor she's advocated before and that's what makes this "dreamer" book different from the rest. It contains wit in almost every line of dialogue, and I even found myself wondering if Franny is an iteration of Graham herself in some way when she was first starting out.
So why should this book be a necessary read for aspiring actors, musicians, creators and dreamers in general?
Franny's journey is not some fluffy story that gets a "happy ever after" kind of ending- it's a realistic depiction of how all people after college or trade school struggle to find work as well as their true selves. It's determination, the support of family and friends and teachers and hard work (and maybe even a little bit of luck) that makes the happy ending come true; and this is something I, and every other current college student, will have to go through once we all graduate into the dubbed "real world."
As for the deadline aspect of Franny's plan, I'm still liking the idea for myself, but I see it more as a guideline or measuring tape to see how far I'll go in making my artistic dream come true. But I'll let you know how it actually works out for me when that time does come around.