Book review: ‘Morning Glory’ by Diana Peterfreund

After losing her job as producer of a New Jersey morning show, Becky Fuller is having a bit of a crisis. Job applications have gone out in droves; connections and favors have all been called in. Having dedicated her entire professional life to Channel 9 in Jersey, Becky is now left with the floundering scraps of a career at which she thought she was excelling — and no empty promises of “landing on her feet” will make her feel better about getting laid off.

A total news junkie, Becky spends her days devouring world events, lamenting the shards of her tattered love life and wallowing in unemployment pity before she finally gets The Call from New York City. Making good on his offer to give her a stellar recommendation, her former boss has gotten her an interview with IBS, a major network, for an open executive producer position at “Daybreak,” their floundering morning talk show.

Becky gleefully accepts the job — but is quickly swallowed up in office politics and general disarray at the station. Between dealing with a primping former beauty queen of a co-anchor and a hardened newsman who wants to be anywhere but at their joke of a program, Becky must prove to everyone — and herself — that she can be successful in a Man’s World.

Diana Peterfreund’s Morning Glory is the novelization of the movie of the same name, written for the big screen by Aline Brosh McKenna. It’s obvious from the start that Peterfreund, a successful novelist, is working within someone else’s parameters — and that’s what makes this one so tough to review. As Erin at Lit Snit so articulately asked, “Where does one person’s creation end and another’s begin?” Basically, this wasn’t originally Peterfreund’s story or characters — so can we really evaluate her?

The premise of Morning Glory appealed to me on one serious level: my sister, a video journalist, worked as a production assistant for a major news network in Washington, D.C., this summer. For several glorious (and painful) months, Katie regaled my family with tales from behind the scenes — and we came to both laugh and shake our heads at the whole “production” of news. My dad is a longtime reporter and sportswriter; I’m an editor and columnist. The media is the family business, if you will. And since Kate and I have been dying to see the film since first getting a glimpse of the preview, I figured I should check out the book.

Summing up my feelings on this one as succinctly as possible, I’ll say this: it was entertaining and quick, but lacked any real depth — emotional or otherwise. As much as I knew I should be in Becky’s corner, rooting her on against the big wigs at IBS, I never connected with her enough to stand in her cheering section. She didn’t feel like a friend — or even  a coworker. She felt like a distant acquaintance of my sister’s at Channel 9, someone about whom I’ve heard funny anecdotes but never actually met.

It wasn’t hard to believe her only recent dates had ended in complete disaster — after all, the woman lives on her BlackBerry. As addicted as I am to checking my smartphone, who interrupts a man on their first date so she can take a series of phone calls? Answer: a very busy, addicted woman. I loved Becky’s dedication to her job and admired her tenacity, but it was pretty clear that girlfriend had some serious issues with just letting go and cutting loose now and then. Her work was literally her life. After getting up at 1:30 a.m. for a decade, she didn’t know any other way. And I wanted Adam, her love interest, to show her that way .  .  . but she didn’t want to let him. It was a hot mess.

Still, this wasn’t a terrible read — and the message was pretty clear: don’t let work become overwhelm you and become your everything. Because at the end of the day? You’re not going to be growing old with your boss, health insurance plan or vacation days. (And if you are? Well, that’s another issue entirely.) Is that something we’ve heard and read before? Sure. Was it told in a unique way here? Not really. But even with that being the case, I enjoyed Morning Glory and can’t wait to see the film. It’s in theatres Nov. 10 — check out the trailer! (Rachel McAdams is awesome!)

3 out of 5!

ISBN: 0345523938 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Personal copy purchased by Meg after reading Lit Snit’s review

9 thoughts on “Book review: ‘Morning Glory’ by Diana Peterfreund

  1. I’ve seen this movie advertised – I didn’t realize there is a book version out. I’m not sure if I’ll read this one or not, although I do think the movie looks cute.


  2. I definitely want to see the movie, but I think I’ll skip the book. Besides, a novel based on a movie that hasn’t come out yet just seems odd to me. Or does this happen often and I’m just out of the loop?


  3. gosh, makes me want to pull up stakes and move to jersey. lol. wait, i already live here.

    haven’t heard about the book or movie, but now i’ll have a chick-flick suggestion for my monthly movie outing with a friend. 🙂

    and IBS for the network’s name? a pun, perhaps? maybe a bit of irony? working in the news could give anyone irritable bowel syndrome…lol.


  4. I have read other books of Peterfreund and really enjoyed them, but I hadn’t heard of this one. I’d be curious to read it, although yes, it must be different in terms of style and story when the author is working from someone else’s work.


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