C Letter Book Club: Stephanie Danler's "Sweetbitter" Coming to Starz
If you spent any part of last summer at the Jersey Shore you probably spotted millennial pink book covers all over the place. The New York Times bestseller “Sweetbitter” has spent time on coffee tables and beach towels all over the country and now it’s coming to television and tablet screens. Twenty-something women (and if sales are any indicator a fair share of men too) from Franklin Lakes to Carteret clung to Stephanie Danler’s powerful novel as a generational symbol of applied ambiguity.
Now the book is reportedly being developed into a TV series by Starz with the help of Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B entertainment. The network who turned “Power” from a Saturday night slot cast-off into a social media sensation is well equipped to handle the tale of Tess, Jake, Simone and their ridiculously attractive if consistently self-medicated co-workers.
Recently released with an equally impactful cover “Sweetbitter” joins “Big Little Lies”, “Orange is the New Black”, “Gossip Girl” and other books who have been tapped by executives to expand their legacy off of the page. It was so sought after it sparked a bidding war.
While many books written by young women are dismissed by literary critics as “chick lit “Sweetbitter” was widely well-received. The book explores the world of fine dining through the lens of a back waiter at one of Manhattan's most respected eateries. It’s voluptuous prose, which somehow manages to be perfectly hazy and hauntingly precise at the same, addresses the uncertainty with which millennials are perceived to approach life in the less than gilded age of the overeducated and underemployed.
Relationships, job responsibilities, and substance abuse problems all fail to be clearly defined in its universe.
The palate described on page one however leaves nothing to be discovered. The descriptions of flavor and texture ground the novel and connect the reader to the protagonist's point of view in an impressive way.
Since "The Carmichael Show" is leaving NBC there’s plenty of room in pop culture for a little sweet and salty cynicism. Hopefully Starz and Plan B don’t alter the recipe.