ROMANTIC COMEDY by CURTIS SITTENFELD
If the library ebook had the other cover (a woman in a yellow dress sitting in what looks like an old convertible), I probably wouldn’t have borrowed it. Did I regret reading this book? No, but I didn’t exactly love it either.
Sally is a writer on a SNL-like show and Noah is the week’s host and musical guest. He’s a successful singer in his 30s. The first half of the book is a fun look into the whole live sketch comedy tv show scene. It made me think of the TV series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which I loved at the time (although I wonder if I can rewatch because I now find Matthew Perry rather annoying).
Unfortunately, this book also wants to be a romance novel …of sorts. And that just didn’t work for me. I do love a good romance novel, preferably if it’s by a BIPOC writer. And this felt like Curtis Sittenfeld’s attempt to “improve” on the romance novel, like make it more literary or something. It probably didn’t help that I saw an article about an interview with her, something about how to make a “non-cheesy romance novel”. (The partial transcript I read didn’t actually have Sittenfeld saying she’s writing a non-cheesy romance novel, so I put that on the writer/editor for having that prejudice against romance novels in the first place).
And you know what, there are plenty of non-cheesy romance novels out there already. There are plenty of smart, funny, delightfully charming romance novels, like those by Helen Hoang, Jasmine Guillory, Talia Hibbert, Julie Tieu and many more. So I hesitate to recommend this one.