Yup, I’m going there. I can’t help it. I was trying to pace myself, but I had it finished before the end of release day so it had to be my pick this week.
So as previously mentioned the plot of this is: Sally is a long time writer at a late night comedy sketch show called The Night Owls – known as TNO and definitely not SNL. She’s single but has watched the show’s actors fall in and out of love with guest stars on the show, but when her friend Danny starts dating a glamorous actress who was a guest host on the show she writes a sketch about average looking – or dorky – guys who get involved with beautiful women and how you never see the reverse and calls it the Danny Horst Rule. That week’s guest host is Noah Brewster – a music star whose romantic history (according to the gossip magazines) includes a lot of models. Noah and Sally hit it off as they work on sketches together but would someone like him ever date someone like her?
The first part of the book covers the production week of the show and then we jump ahead two years to Covid times when Sally is staying with her stepdad in Kansas City and Noah is in LA and they reconnect. It’s playing with the ideas of romantic comedy movies whilst also being a romantic comedy and following a lot of the rules that you would expect but in subtle (well sort of) ways. What I always enjoy about Curtis Sittenfeld’s books are the heroines – they’re always smart often a little (or a lot) neurotic and have interesting and not perfect lives and back stories. It’s fun just to spend time with them – but even more so when Sittenfeld is playing with something that you love – which I think is why I loved her Eligible (modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice) so much. And this is a good one. If you follow celeb gossip in anyway you can probably work out who inspired the Danny Horst rule, but actually that’s just a device to set up everything else. I’ve read a bunch of books recently where one half of the couple is famous and the other isn’t and while a lot of them give their celebrities similar issues not all the books are good at it. And yes I realise that I’ve now recommended three of them in a very short time – but I’ve read more of them than that and haven’t told you about the rest!
I guess the main difference with this is that because it’s Curtis Sittenfeld it gets a hardback release and a photo cover (in the UK at least) rather than coming out in paperback with a cartoon/drawn cover like Nora Goes Off Script or Funny You Should Ask. But it’s actually much more similar to those in style and tone than it is to a lot of the other stuff that gets hardback releases. And that’s a good thing not a criticism. And it’s also a Reese Witherspoon pick. So that’s fun too.
Anyway, I have a physical copy of Romantic Comedy that is still on its way to me (it was a special edition for indie booksellers which has got held up in the bank holiday weekend post) but I also requested it from NetGalley before the preorder – not expecting to be approved but I was! Hence how I’ve managed to read it before my actual copy has arrived. It’s out now and available in all the stores – I saw it in Waterstones and Foyles at the weekend and it’s also in ebook on Kindle and Kobo and I’m audiobook. I suspect it’s the sort of thing that will also get an airport edition if you’re heading off on holiday and it would make a great sun lounger read.
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