MEET THE NEWMANS de Jennifer Niven

Set in sun-drenched 1964 Los Angeles, MEET THE NEWMANS chronicles America’s favorite TV family whose perfect façade starts to unravel when their iconic show (titled of course, Meet the Newmans) is up for renewal and one of them suffers a tragic accident. You can think of this as a mix of Lessons in Chemistry and The Nest with a dash of Daisy Jones and the Six as well as an affectionate nod to Ozzie and Harriet.

by Jennifer Niven
Flatiron Books, Spring 2025
(via Levine Greenberg Rostan)

For two decades, Del (45) and Dinah Newman (43) and their sons, Guy (22) and Shep (18), have ruled the airwaves as America’s Favorite Family. Thirty million viewers tune in every week to watch them play airbrushed, flawless versions of themselves. But behind the smiling black-and-white exterior, the Newmans are a mess.

Patriarch Del is the propulsive motor and visionary behind the Newmans machine— producing, directing, writing, and starring in every single one of the 400 plus episodes. But at forty-five, he suddenly feels like a relic. Ratings have plummeted, the studio is threatening cancellation, his own fame has been eclipsed by his youngest son’s, and their money (that he was managing) is suddenly gone. Meanwhile, Dinah struggles to figure out what is making her body literally go numb, and to break out of her traditional roles as wife and mother. Roles that—off camera— she is terrible at. Lately she finds herself wondering is this all there is and daydreaming about having an affair with the neighbor. Guy and Shep aren’t faring much better. Guy has lived life by the book, doing everything right—at least as far as anyone can see— in a futile effort to win his dad’s approval. Behind closed doors, though, his personal life is in chaos. Younger brother Shep, on the other hand, is a dreamy rock n’ roll idol who seems to be on top of the world—until an ill-timed romance and a surprise baby change the course of his life.

When Del gets into a car accident in a mysterious location across town, the Newmans’ world is turned upside down. Dinah, Guy, and Shep scramble to keep his hospitalization and comatose state from the press and the studio and at the same time figure out how to keep the show afloat without Del at the helm. Being everyone’s fantasy family is a lot to carry!

Enter LA Times Reporter Juliet Dunne (26), here to cover the life and times of America’s beloved Newmans. Trouble is, Juliet loathes them. She grew up watching the show and blames Dinah in particular for setting an unrealistic and antiquated version of what it means to be a woman. Juliet fully expects to get her fluff interview and go back to her actual journalism pursuits.

But Dinah has a different plan…

Meet the Newmans is as relevant today as it will be tomorrow as it was yesterday. A novel about love, money, fame, purpose, friendship, creativity, loss, and most of all the evolution of a family. This funny, warm, affecting read is also about the dual lives we all lead— the version we present to the world and the version that exists off stage. Because it turns out, even when our lives aren’t televised weekly, we all have a behind-the-scenes.

Jennifer Niven is the #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of fiction and nonfiction, including the massive breakout All the Bright Places which she also adapted for the Netflix film directed by Brett Haley and starring Elle Fanning, Justice Smith, Luke Wilson, and Keegan-Michael Key. Her books have been translated into over 75 languages and have won literary awards around the world. When she isn’t working on multiple book and screen projects, Jennifer oversees Germ, an online literary journal for high school age and beyond.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email