A while back, I teased you all with a post about Someday, Someday, Maybe, a book featuring Filofax. Obviously, there is more to the book than that, but that is what caught my eye and made me read it. I bought the book figuring I would want to own such a treasure—it’s s good thing I did since it has taken me almost three months to read it and finally get a review up. I did finish it a while ago, but I’m only getting around to reviewing it now. On the whole, it was an okay book—it’s your typical chick lit read.
Franny Banks is an aspiring actress in New York City. She works as a waitress when she’s not acting. She has a quasi-boyfriend, finds a real one, and of course questions whether or not he’s right for her. She has given herself a deadline of six months to get her life in order, which is where the Filofax comes in to play. Can she do it? Does she end up with the boyfriend? After many dead-end leads, does her acting career fall apart? These are the questions that are answered by the end of the novel.
But let’s get on to the good stuff, the reason why we’re excited about this book—the Filofax. Since the story takes place during the mind-90s, the Filofax fits well into the scene. The planner itself is never described in detail, only that it is a “brown leather Filofax.” It was given to her by her father when she moved to New York, “to keep a record of [her] appointments.”
Franny does keep a record of her appointments in the Filo, though more often than not, we see random scribbles of random things. Most days are blank. (There are examples of her week-on-two-pages inserts throughout the book.) At one point, she tears out a piece of scrap paper from the Filo in order to write down her phone number for a guy.
When she meets with a potential agent, the agent tells her that she might want to keep organized with “a fax,” that it helps to keep track of auditions, who you met with, and any other notes regarding the meeting. At one point, Franny tried to recall a job she booked but couldn’t remember the details. She states that she could look it up in her Filofax but that she’d prefer to remember it on her own. Doesn’t she know that that’s the whole reason of owning a Filofax, so that one doesn’t have to clutter the mind with such things???
In one scene, when heading out for a movie premier (not her own), she realizes that she has grabbed her Filofax from the table rather than her purse which had all of her essentials for keeping herself looking beautiful for the event. (If it were me, I’d rather have the Filo with me and leave the bag at home.) She then has to explain to a semi-rival of hers why she isn’t well prepared for the evening. She accidentally leaves the Filofax behind, and it is the rival who returns it to her, safe and sound (whew!).
It’s at this point in the novel that I start to wonder why the Filofax is even mentioned in this novel. It doesn’t hold value, really. It’s just randomly mentioned without much point at all it seems. But of course, immediately after that thought, the answer is revealed.
Towards the end of the novel, Franny looks through her Filofax in disbelief, as there are only eight days remaining of her six-month deadline for getting her life in order, and at this point, she is further from that than she was when she started. As she thinks about this, she runs her hands over the worn leather, the stitching that has started to come undone (I wonder if she has ring problems). She is dismayed because “all I have to show is a calendar full of doodles and lists of what I ate that day, movies I saw,” etc. She might well be appalled at the things I keep track of in my Filofax.
The last mention of the Filofax the reader comes across is a scene where Franny is chatting with her roommate Dan, telling him how frustrated she is with her life. He tells her about a book he’s read where a mystic states that the act of repetition is enlightenment, that “quantity becomes quality.” He tells Franny that she has a book like that and looks at her Filofax lying on the table. She doesn’t quite believe him, saying that the only thing the Filofax tells her is that she hasn’t accomplished anything yet. He says that she hasn’t accomplished anything yet, but to just keep at it, keep filling up the pages, and something good is bound to happen.
This of course got me thinking… Is that what we’re all after in a way? If I keep writing down what I eat and what my weekly weight is, will that get me to my ultimate goal? If I use my Filofax to be organized, does that mean eventually I will be? If I stuff my Filofax with washi tape and cute stickers, does that mean that eventually my life will be creative and full of fun colorful things? Who knows? I tend to think that my Filofax merely tells me what must be accomplished in any given day, as well as a record of the things that have happened. But maybe that’s enough. Maybe by just keeping track of those mundane things, I will indeed accomplish something bigger and better, more than just the laundry.
I’m not trying to turn using a Filofax into a philosophical debate, but maybe, on some level, there is some truth to all of that. I’ll let you decide for yourself, based on how you use your own Filofax and what you see in your own life.
Overall, the story didn’t really thrill me. I thought it lagged a little. In the beginning I didn’t enjoy it all that much. But by the end, I felt like it at least entertained me. The Filofax angle is what kept me reading it. It was an okay read and worth it just for the Filofax mentions if that’s what you’re after.