Book Review 21: The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe

13 Mar

Another selection from the Girls’ writer’s room reading list. As much as The Group made me think a lot about how little the way women interact with each other, and the world, has changed, I straight up enjoyed The Best of Everything much more.  Valley of the Dolls is one of my all time favorite books, definitely top 5, and I’ve easily read it 20 times.

This book had the same premise as Valley of the Dolls: a few young women all living in New York with the promise of something more – a show business career, finding love, becoming a career woman. And it takes place in around the same era. But The Best of Everything is the story of what happens to those girls if they never make it out of New York.

The stories of each character ended in a way that feels depressingly realistic. Some of the girls got their happy endings: the wedding, the baby, the man they wanted divorcing his wife. But some of the characters don’t – they’re abandoned by their lovers, screwed over by their jobs, or settling for a marriage that will surely be unsatisfactory. And most of that is by chance, or by circumstance.

Most people like to imagine that if we work hard enough, we will get the things we want most out of life, whether it be love, family, career, or all three. But sometimes circumstances change unexpectedly, your plans are nullified, and your hard work has been put into something that turns out to be a dead end. It can feel like luck. If you’re the one who’s life isn’t working out as planned, it’s grueling to sit back and support your friends as they achieve their dreams. And if you’re the one who’s life is working, there can be an overwhelming sense of guilt.

Anyway, if you like books about groups of young women moving to New York and the triumphs and tragedies that befall them, this is one of the best.

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One Response to “Book Review 21: The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe”

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  1. HelloKatieO’S #CBR5 Review #21: The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe | Cannonball Read V - March 13, 2013

    […] The stories of each character ended in a way that feels depressingly realistic. Some of the girls got their happy endings: the wedding, the baby, the man they wanted divorcing his wife. But some of the characters don’t – they’re abandoned by their lovers, screwed over by their jobs, or settling for a marriage that will surely be unsatisfactory. And most of that is by chance, or by circumstance. […]

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