Sunday, April 2, 2023

REVIEW: Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld



This is the first Curtis Sittenfeld novel I've read in a very long time and I'm now asking myself why it's been so long? There was so much to enjoy in Romantic Comedy. As you can see in the synopsis, it's about a writer for a sketch comedy show (think SNL), Sally, and a famous musician, Noah, who guest hosts and how they fall for each other. The novel spans about 5 years and is broken up into three sections. Section one begins in 2018 and is what I'd consider a perfect sneak peek of what it might be like to work as a writer on a show like SNL. It's fast paced sleep deprivation with a staff and cast that function like a dysfunctional and lovable family. I really enjoyed this section and getting that behind the scenes feeling. I also enjoyed Sally work through her crush for Noah. Section two picks up two years later during the initial stages of the Corona Virus and they enter into a pen pal email situation, instigated by Noah. It's in this section that you get a feel for what he's feeling for her and what kind of person he is, as well as more of sense of Sally and her backstory. And section three is where they reunite weeks after the beginning of their email and all of their feelings and insecurities come out to play. I can't decide which section I like best because they all offer a different feel and look at these characters and the novel wouldn't be the same if any piece or part had been eliminated. 

As much as I enjoyed this novel, I'll admit that there were times I had some frustration, mostly with Sally's character (and I think that we're supposed to feel that). She's outwardly confident and snarky and so sure of herself and yet when confronted with something that I think she really wanted, her first instinct was always to self-destruct. I know it's not fair to expect her to be as inwardly confident and sure of herself as she projected, nor would this be as interesting if she didn't have the flaws that she did, but I really really wanted her to be. She was so self aware about many things and could mock society and herself but sometimes I just wanted her to see herself the way Noah did and not doubt it. Luckily my wish was granted and I got the HEA I wanted for these two and now, of course, I'm deciding which Curtis Sittenfeld I'll be reading next. 


A comedy writer thinks she’s sworn off love, until a dreamy pop star flips the script on all her assumptions—a hilarious, observant, and deeply tender novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Eligible, Rodham, and Prep.

Sally Milz is a sketch writer for 
The Night Owls, a late-night live comedy show that airs every SaturdayWith a couple of heartbreaks under her belt, she’s long abandoned the search for love, settling instead for the occasional hook-up, career success, and a close relationship with her stepfather to round out a satisfying life.

But when Sally’s friend and fellow writer Danny Horst begins dating Annabel, a glamorous actress who guest-hosted the show, he joins the not-so-exclusive group of talented but average-looking and even dorky men at the show—and in society at large—who’ve gotten romantically involved with incredibly beautiful and accomplished women. Sally channels her annoyance into a sketch called the Danny Horst Rule, poking fun at this phenomenon while underscoring how unlikely it is that the reverse would ever happen for a woman.

Enter Noah Brewster, a pop music sensation with a reputation for dating models, who signed on as both host and musical guest for this week’s show. Dazzled by his charms, Sally hits it off with Noah instantly, and as they collaborate on one sketch after another, she begins to wonder if there might actually be sparks flying. But this isn’t a romantic comedy—it’s real life. And in real life, someone like him would never date someone like her . . . right?

With her keen observations and trademark ability to bring complex women to life on the page, Curtis Sittenfeld explores the neurosis-inducing and heart-fluttering wonder of love, while slyly dissecting the social rituals of romance and gender relations in the modern age.

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