Pamela Redmond Satran was most well known for her baby name books, written with Linda Rosenkrantz and are “acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming.” Which I think is true, but Satran also wrote several chick-lit books back in the day and I loved them, but somehow I missed this one.
I only read this because of the TV show, which I found because I love the Gilmore Girls and watched the re-boot on Netflix. One of the episodes, “Summer,” featured a musical play starring Sutton Foster, who was fabulous. This led me to watching “Bunheads”, a cult favorite from the same creative team as the Gilmore Girls that only lasted one season. I loved that, so when I heard that Sutton Foster was currently starring in “Younger,” I binge watched the first three seasons of that on Hulu, and I’m now caught up in the fourth. During that binge, I noticed it was based on a book and after this very long (probably too long, sorry!) explanation, here I am.
So if you are familiar with the TV show, here’s what you need to know. There have been many name changes, starting with Liza, who is Alice in the book, Kelsey was Lindsey, Diana was Teri, and well, you get the idea. Charles is a woman in the book so no romance there. Josh is still Josh, only he’s a video game designer instead of a tattoo artist. And the book ends way sooner and without half as much drama or fun as the TV series. All that said, it was still fun to read the inspiration behind the series.
If you are not familiar, here’s the plot. Alice has been a stay at home mom whose daughter has now left college for the Peace Corps and her husband, a dentist, has left her for his much younger dental hygienist. Trying to find a job in publishing, where she worked for a few months before a difficult pregnancy, proves much harder than expected. Alice’s best friend Maggie lives in New York City and offers some advice and a place to stay while she’s looking for a job in publishing. Her advice is to do a makeover on Alice, buy her new clothes and prove to her that she can pass for a twenty-something instead of a middle aged housewife. She does this by taking her to a bar on New Year’s Eve, where she meets and kisses Josh. He is much younger than her, but thinks she is only a few years older than he is, maybe 29? She’s really 44 but by leaving off the past decade or so from her resume, she lands a job with the same publisher she worked for before her pregnancy.
Living a lie causes all sorts of tension and working for a bitch isn’t any more fun for a pretend 29-year-old than it would be for a 44-year-old. Eventually, the truth comes out and Alice dumps Josh before he can dump her. But that wouldn’t make for a happily ever after so at the last possible second, they work it out.
I enjoyed the book and considering it was published twelve years ago, it holds up pretty well. But I have to admit I enjoy the TV show more. There are just so many more complications and plot twists over four seasons than is possible in a book of a few hundred pages.
If you love the TV show, you’ll probably enjoy the book. If you haven’t seen it, read the book then watch it. Either way you’ll have fun – I did.
9/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
YOUNGER by Pamela Redmond Satran. Gallery Books; First Edition edition (July 5, 2005). ISBN 978-1416505587. 284p.