Thursday, April 20, 2023

Book Review: Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

Pages: 320
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: April 4, 2023
Publisher: Random House
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Eligible
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Sally Milz is a sketch writer for "The Night Owls," the late-night live comedy show that airs each 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 actor 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 whether 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, 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."
Sally Milz is a thirty-six year old comedy writer at The Night Owls, which is in the same vein as Saturday Night Live. Sally once had her romantic hopes set on fellow writer, Elliot, but that blew up in her face. Since then, she has kept a low romantic profile and sticks to casual hookups. Sally notices all the sexism, double standards, and more that are involved not only at The Night Owls, but in life, too. Her observations are spot on and sometimes she ties this into her comedy sketches. Her latest observation is how average men keep landing extremely attractive women that should be out of their league--think Pete Davidson. However, you never see it the other way around---with average women landing a hot man. That is until Noah Brewster. Noah is an extremely good looking singer/songwriter and a guest host on The Night Owls. Surprisingly, sparks fly between Noah and Sally. Slowly their relationship forms, especially during the COVID shutdown. Curtis Sittenfeld's Romantic Comedy is a delightful novel that will surely entertain her legions of fans.

I really liked Sally from the start of Romantic Comedy. Sittenfeld's descriptions of what it's like to work at a comedy show were absolutely captivating. I felt like it was a behind the scenes tour of Saturday Night Live and I kept imagining Sally as Tina Fey. The descriptions of what it's like to work the endless hours, the late nights, and the pressure to write funny material in a short amount of time were really interesting. I have to say this was my favorite aspect of the novel. Then when Noah enters the story, it gets even better. He asks Sally for help with his jokes and their chemistry is through the roof. However, in the back of Sally's mind is the question of how could someone like him like someone like her? I really enjoyed their budding romance and Sittenfeld's commentary as well as observations on society, love, aging, and even social class.

Another aspect of this novel that I thought was great was Sittenfeld's character work. It is really good and probably one of the best contemporary authors out there at creating nuanced and memorable characters. She is at the top of her game here. However, I did feel the pacing of Romantic Comedy was off at times, such as the lengthy emails and once she left The Night Owls, I found myself a bit bummed as that setting was utterly captivating. Other than that, I thought it was a smart contemporary romance that fans of Sittenfeld will most definitely enjoy. While I liked Sittenfeld's Eligible a bit more, it was still a solid novel that I'd recommend. 

Have you read Romantic Comedy? Are you a fan of Curtis Sittenfeld? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 




  1. I haven't read Sittenfeld in awhile, but I thought this premise sounded so brilliant! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it!

    1. It was so much fun, especially the SNL type of setting! I hope you enjoy it, Angela. Thanks for visiting!


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