cover image The Next Best Thing

The Next Best Thing

Jennifer Weiner, read by Olivia Thirlby. Simon & Schuster Audio, unabridged, 11 CDs, 12 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-48905

Weiner's novel follows the journey of Ruth Saunders, who sets off for Hollywood to become a television writer%E2%80%94with her 70-year-old grandmother along for the ride. Although ambitious and talented, Ruth is still disfigured from a car accident that killed her parents. In California, Ruth finds work for the networks, but her new life is far from perfect, especially when her grandmother announces her plans to get married and Ruth's pet project is edited beyond recognition. Narrator Olivia Thirlby's reading captures the heart and soul of Weiner's novel. The narrator's portrayal of the young, na%C3%AFve Ruth is convincing and nuanced. In turns, Thirlby embodies Ruth's varied emotions, sounding excited, exasperated, embarrassed, sensuous, petulant, funny, and sad. A Washington Square paperback. (July)