Staff Review – Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

Looking for something positive, fun and easy to read, I decided to check out a recent Reese's Book Club choice - "Romantic Comedy" by Curtis Sittenfeld. I'd heard about this book from RBC and thought it sounded like just what I was looking for. The story follows Sally in 2018 as she works for The Night Owl - which is essentially Saturday Night Live. Instead of SNL, it's TNO, and Sally is one of the top sketch writers. As the novel opens, Sally is writing a sketch about how gorgeous famous women tend to date funny, less gorgeous men, but never the other way around - enter this week's celebrity guest host/musical guest, Noah Brewster. Noah is gorgeous, charming and he and Sally have some impactful conversations. After a bad conversation however, the two part ways and the story picks up again in April 2020 as the two reconnect.

I really enjoyed this book! The first section follows Sally in 2018 as she works at TNO, and I've heard from celebrities that have read the book that Sittenfeld really captured the energy and hijinks of what it feels like to be backstage at SNL. Sally and her friends/coworkers Viv and Henrietta were absolutely hilarious as they came up with their sketches and improv moments for the show. During this section, Noah and Sally interact while he is at TNO for the week before (and day/night of) his hosting gig. I truly enjoyed reading their conversations, and knew that part of the reason I was already enjoying their relationship was because in this section, both characters are 36. Many characters in romance novels tend to skew younger, usually moreso in their early 20s, so it was really refreshing to read a book with characters who were "older" and had some really insightful and honest conversations.

The second section of the book takes place in July 2020, which means COVID-19 was still relatively fresh and new. Two years later from the first section, Noah and Sally reconnect over email. Reading about the pandemic is not my favourite topic, as it was such a difficult and depressing time that to be reminded of it is not something I seek out. However, I didn't mind reading about it in this case, as I continued to enjoy Sally and Noah's relationship blossom. The pair exchanged many lengthy emails, and in them was that refreshing conversation I loved from the first section of the book.

As anticipated, this book was both a romance and a comedy. I really enjoyed all of the TNO sketch ideas and reading about the culture in that work environment. This book was hilarious, heartfelt and dove into some serious topics while always keeping up its humour and joy. Be sure to check out Curtis Sittenfeld's Romantic Comedy today!