The Parker Grey ShowThe problem with the so-called chick literature is that most of it is about a ninny who wants to get married. Or wants to buy clothes. There's no texture, nothing to keep our minds engaged beyond the inky pages. That's why Gothamist found The Parker Grey Show by Kristen Buckley a welcome change of pace. Of course, the premise was made for us: An uncertain, imperfect young woman drifting through life, trying to find her place not only the world but in her own life, while distancing herself from everyone around her by many white lies with a "screw you" attitude. And all in New York.

The ostensible plot is set in motion when Parker Grey's roommate is kidnapped, but the actual kidnapping is less interesting than Parker herself. Parker, while wise-cracking and cool, is actually rather wretched, suffering from TMJ, a music conservatory drop-out, obsessed with La Femme Nikita the tv show, even more obsessed with a soap opera actor M, waitressing to avoid facing her passion in music. She's sleepwalking through life, like many young people. And in little ways, Parker tries to break free, like (beautifully) defacing the walls of her roommate Lil's TriBeCa loft with graffiti and origami.

What Lil's kidnapping's and a number of other events do is make Parker take a break from her half-life and up the ante with everything: Obsessed with La Femme Nikita? Now she's become La Femme Nikita, trying to rescue her friend while acting as the go between for the kidnappers and her friend's wealthy, married, much older boyfriend. Obsessed with M? He's in New York, eating at the restaurant she works at. Trying to remain remote with white lies? Now she's totally stranded in lies to keep the kidnapping hush-hush. Parker meets the challenge by recasting her life as "The Parker Grey Show," where she is the lead character, as well writer, producer, costume designer, set decorator, teamster... Suffice to say, Parker's essentially picked up for renewal, but the stunts along the way are sweeps-month worthy.

The Parker Grey Show is not only a timely and enjoyable summer read, it's refreshing break from the mindless canned excuses for heroines most chick-lit authors try to pass of as being compelling. Buckley makes Parker's pathos work well against her regular life pressures, and it's easy to imagine Parker's no-nonsense approach coming from any smart chick's mouth. We do, however, wish we could see what Parker's graffiti and Bonnie Cashin inspired walls look like. Do we smell a movie? (Buckley is a screenwriter as well, most recently of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.)

Author Kristen Buckley was also a PA for the official drama of Gothamist, Law & Order, which means she rubbed shoulders with Jerry, Sam, S. Epatha, Jill, Chris, and Steven. Damn, girl.

Buy The Parker Grey Show at Amazon.

The official The Parker Grey Show website.

Three books of different varietals that Gothamist recommends about imperfect women (our favorite kind) trying to find themselves:
What I'm Reading Now- Pattern Recognition by William Gibson - By the science fiction guru, a surprisingly touching and human story about a trendhunter who is driven to sickness when seeing the trends.
- Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty - A light look at the high school girl Jen wishes she could have been - witty Jessica Darling tries to navigate the high school hierarchy and pressures she hates.
- Emma by Jane Austen - The confidently confused meddler to end them all.