Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

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.

My Review:

I’ve long been a raving fan of Curtis Sittenfeld’s work. She has unique wry take on retelling the fictionalized stories of women we’ve observed from afar including Laura Bush, Hilary Clinton, and on assumed cliches in our culture. Romantic Comedy tells the story of a writer on The Night Owls, that’s basically the fiction version of Saturday Night Live.

Sally, a veteran writer at the show, likes to poke fun at gross female topics that may otherwise ignored. She’s basically given up on love and that’s okay with her. She’s developed a deeply cynical view of love following several mishaps, and watching her schlubby male coworkers land dates (and even relationships) with gorgeous female stars hasn’t helped things.

When Noah Brewster, a hot mega-star singer comes to host the show, there’s an immediate connection between Sally and Noah, but she brushes it (and him) off, thinking it couldn’t be real. And that’s that. Until the pandemic hits.

If you’re a fan of Jane Green or Sophie Kinsella books, or any book where a female underdog surprises herself with her own potential, pick up a copy of Romantic Comedy.

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