BREAKING NEWS: Plucky young TV producer is fired from her gig at a local morning show in New Jersey-but vows to land on her feet.
With an unfinished college education and suddenly out of a job, Becky Fuller finds herself at Daybreak, a floundering network morning news program in New York City that’s sinking faster than the Titanic. Abysmal ratings are only the tip of the iceberg: The outdated cameras belong in the Smithsonian, and executive producers never stay beyond the next commercial break. To reverse the downward spiral, Becky hires legendary newscaster Mike Pomeroy as co-anchor-or rather, she makes him an offer he can’t contractually refuse. Mike abhors Daybreak’s fluff pieces (pet psychics?) and takes an instant dislike to Colleen, his equally vain co-anchor. The only bright side of Becky’s career is Adam Bennett, the gorgeous producer of an actual hard news show, but Daybreak’s dysfunction spells trouble for their blossoming relationship. As Mike and Colleen’s on-air chemistry proves explosive, Becky must scramble to save her love life, her reputation, and Daybreak itself before the network pulls the plug.
Review: Reviewing movie novelizations is tough (though probably not as tough as writing them). If there are weaknesses in plot or characters, lack of motivation, or inconsistencies, do you blame the author or the screenwriter? Where does one person’s creation end and another’s begin?
Morning Glory isn’t perfect, but it’s full of fun characters created by Aline Brosh McKenna and fleshed out by Peterfreund. The plot really does play as the perfect chick flick. Girl unlucky in love and life starts over in New York City where she overcomes preconceptions and antagonists to prove she’s got what it takes.
Okay, I’m making it sound more cheesy than it is, but you get the point. I hesitate to criticize the book for being a little thin because you can tell Peterfreund is following rules set up by someone else, but the book does lack that certain spark that’s made me love all of her other work. Becky, however, is a likable protagonist and I found myself rooting for her even if her social awkwardness was a little cliché. Peterfreund made it work. Becky’s dating troubles were a slightly eye-roll inducing until I got to the line “I don’t know a guy is into me until he’s naked” and it was frighteningly familiar to something I would have thought/said. While you don’t really forget that it’s a movie in book form (there's a certain lack of well-roundedness to the world that you would find in a straight-up chick lit book), Peterfreund makes you care about Becky.
One thing that I don’t think I would have gotten out of the movie that struck me while reading the book was that the dismissal of morning shows by “real” journalists is similar to the dismissal of the chick lit genre. Just because something is fun or “fluffy” doesn’t mean it doesn’t have merit or doesn’t have something to say. There are real messages hidden beneath the fluff. Just because it isn’t “hard-hitting” or literary doesn’t make it have any less value. I think Peterfreund really used this vehicle to make a statement about dismissing “women’s” media as something less important than “serious” (read: male) media.
Oh, and I do have to mention one thing that’s always kind of driven me nuts about Peterfreund’s books: her vocabulary. Now, I know I probably don’t have the greatest vocabulary, but I’d like to think it’s pretty decent. So when I come across lines like “I tried to adjust my circadian rhythms to a more diurnal schedule” it just makes me want to scream “just say you were trying to get your sleep patterns back to normal!” I think what’s most jarring is that it’s out of character. Becky doesn’t really talk like this or even think like this for most of the book so it just threw me. Same for Rampant. Maybe I wasn’t a precocious enough as a teen but I didn’t use SAT words in everyday life.
Anyway, the important thing is that Morning Glory is that it made me super excited to see the movie. As you read you can't help but envision Harrison Ford as Mike and that’s some perfect casting there. I hate to call him a grumpy old man, but…he kind of is…and is awesome at it (though Han Solo Ford will always be swoon-worthy). I can’t wait to see Diane Keaton as the cheery, veteran morning show host with bite, Colleen. Add in my girlcrush Rachel McAdams and I’m in chick flick heaven.
Lit Snit Verdict: C+
So until the movie hits we have a copy of Diana Peterfreund’s Morning Glory up for grabs to tide you over! Contest is open to US/Canada and will close 10/21.