Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

Published: April 4, 2023

Random House

Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction

Pages: 300

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Curtis Sittenfeld is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, including Rodham, Eligible, Prep, American Wife, and Sisterland, as well as the collection You Think It, I’ll Say It. Her books have been translated into thirty languages. In addition, her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post Magazine, Esquire, and The Best American Short Stories, for which she has also been the guest editor. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Time, and Vanity Fair, and on public radio’s This American Life.

Sally Milz is a sketch writer for The Night Owls, a late-night live comedy show that airs every Saturday. With 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.

“Is it sourdough bread?”

Sally is one of several writers on a popular sketch comedy show. And while she loves it, she knows it is just a stepping stone for her to do something bigger. Noah is a superstar singer who hosts and performs on the show, not realizing he is about to change his life. Life is not a series of linear steps, and sometimes taking chances and pushing boundaries is necessary.

This was an interesting insight into being a television writer and a human. I liked the first chapter a lot. Getting to experience television set life was cool.

Sally is a complicated character. She has a lot of opinions, several of which are spot on, but at times she is her own worst enemy. Noah was a perfect balance to Sally’s anxieties. Where she was afraid, he was brave. Where she was lost, he was steady. Their dynamic was solid.

I liked the friendships in this book. I liked how they evolved, blossomed, and were represented. I also liked how certain things were said truthfully and without regret.

Chapters two and three brought back the most challenging parts of Covid, and that wasn’t easy to read with enjoyment. The isolation, the fear, it was all described with brutal accuracy.

This unconventional love story has a realistic twist and a happy ending.

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