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Reviews of Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

Romantic Comedy

A Novel

by Curtis Sittenfeld

Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld X
Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2023, 320 pages

    Mar 2024, 352 pages


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About this Book

Book Summary

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.

New York Times bestseller • Reese's Book Club Pick • A comedy writer thinks she's sworn off love, until a dreamy pop star flips the script on all her assumptions—a "smart, sophisticated, and fun" (Oprah Daily) novel from the author of Eligible, Rodham, and Prep.

A Best Book of the Year: The Washington Post, NPR, USA Today, BuzzFeed, PopSugar, Harper's Bazaar, Real Simple, She Reads, New York Post

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.

Chapter 1

April 2018

Weekly Schedule for The Night Owls

Monday 1 p.m. pitch meeting with guest host

Tuesday 5 p.m. start of all-night writing session

Wednesday 12 p.m. deadline for submitted sketches

Wednesday 3 p.m. table read of submitted sketches

Wednesday 9 p.m. preliminary show lineup posted internally

Wednesday night–Saturday morning rehearsals; scripts revised; sets built; special effects designed; hair, makeup, and costumes chosen and created; pre-tapes shot

Saturday 1 p.m. run-through of show

Saturday 8 p.m. dress rehearsal before a live audience

Saturday 11:30 p.m. live show before a new audience

Sunday 1:30 a.m. first after-party

Monday, 1:10 p.m.

For the meeting that marked the official start of that week's show, I planned to pitch two sketches. But I had three ideas—you could write and submit more but pitch only two—so I'd play by ear which ones I ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!
Dear Reader,

There's a writing axiom similar to that famous line about being the change you wish to see in the world: Write the book you want to read.

This time around, I wanted to write a novel that was, above all, fun. The last few years have been rough ones in big and small ways for just about all of us. That's why I longed to escape to a fizzy, delicious, romance-filled parallel universe—one that I could exist in while I was writing and share with you after I finished.

My husband, kids, and I really embraced watching Saturday Night Live during the pandemic, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noticed the real-life pattern of talented but somewhat ordinary (dare I say mortal?) male writers ...
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

Here are some of the comments posted about Romantic Comedy.
You can see the full discussion here.

Danny tells Sally that the Danny Horst Rule matters only if it matters to Sally and Noah themselves. Did you agree? How does this realization help Sally?
I agree with this sentiment - ultimately, the individuals in the relationship get to choose what is important to them. - HannahT

Discuss the different romantic relationships in the book, from Sally and Noah to Annabel and Danny to Viv and Dr. Theo. How would you describe each couple?
Sally and Noah was a slow burn given their relationship was professional at first and they became friends through that experience and from there they had a gap in which they weren't in touch. This is very different than Annabel and Danny given ... - HannahT

How do you believe Sally is able to avoid buying into the culture she's helped create around celebrities?
I agree with Erin and Michelle. She only sees Noah as a real person when he is there for her when her stepdad becomes seriously ill. She is seriously thinking of breaking off her relationship with Noah before he shows how kind and thoughtful he is ... - dorothyl

How do you feel about authors using social media, email, texts in place of traditional dialogue between characters? Is this an effective strategy or just a trend?
It’s 2024. We communicate differently than we did even 20 years ago. It works for this novel. As much fun as it is, this novel is not the Great American Novel and it will certainly be dated by the use of emails and texts, but so what? - audreyg

How does the political and cultural discussion inserted in the middle of the novel affect the overall narrative? Do you think it was necessary to the story?
The political and cultural aspect in this novel was crucial for the story. TNO modeled after SNL is all about political and cultural trends…especially in the early airings. I can still recall the sitcom scenes in my mind. Really who hasn&... - arlenei

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Media Reviews

The Guardian
Zingy ... electrically compelling, with steady warmth as well as drama ... [Romantic Comedy's] command of structure, pace and dialogue is faultless... . affable, intelligently crafted tale of work and love.

The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)
A love letter to the prototypical rom-com ... Sittenfeld's work exists in the dissection and comprehension of female desire: what we want, what we absolutely don't and, maybe paramount, what we're even allowed to have... . A fizzy ride.

Booklist(starred review)
Sittenfeld's meta-romance is an utterly perfect version of itself, a self-aware and pandemic-informed love story that's no less romantic for being either... . Fans will flock to this pure-fun, feminist romp.

Kirkus Reviews
Romance artfully and entertainingly deconstructed.

Oprah Daily
If you're in need of [a] smart, sophisticated, and fun diversion right now (and who isn't), this is your book. Like her literary foremother Jane Austen, Sittenfeld brings together exquisitely sharp dialogue that fizzes, excruciating sexual tension, and incisive social observation.

The Washington Post
From the heart to the funny bone ... What makes all this particularly delightful is that the woman narrating Romantic Comedy is hyper-aware of the conventions of romantic comedy, and she knows full well that real life is no fairy tale. But could it be this time?

Author Blurb Elle
[Sittenfeld] has a keen eye for relationships, particularly romantic ones, which is what makes her upcoming book, Romantic Comedy, so enticing... . [The novel] takes a shot of SNL and makes sparks fly.

Reader Reviews


Funny Girl
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about how at show that is based on SNL comes together. I found the characters believable and lovable. I was rooting for Noah and Sally! The novel is current and refreshing. There are some laugh out loud moments and ...   Read More
Anne Vohl

Not up to this author’s standard.
This was my fave author, I read everything by her. This book would only hold interest for someone with a keen curiosity as to how SNL Is produced. I am not that person. Book is cutesy. I could not get past page 11. Chick Lit.

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