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  • Writer's pictureJulie Mackin

Live from New York...

Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

Rating: 4 / 5

Will you like this book? You might if you like:

  • Behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live

  • Comedy writing

  • Epistolary novels

  • Are ok reliving early Covid lockdowns

You know how Pete Davidson, a funny guy but a bit strange looking, has managed to date a string of stunning women? Do you think to yourself, wait, all these average looking dudes are dating these beautiful women, why is that? Well Sittenfeld decided to take that phenomenon and turn it on its head and write about when an average looking female comedy writer attracts the attention of a hot musician. The comedy writer works at an SNL-like show and the musician is the host and musical guest.

The book is divided into three parts, which I wasn’t expecting and the way it is broken out is actually one of the things I most liked about the book. At one point, we get back and forth emails from the MCs, Sally and Noah. I LOVE an epistolary novel; one of my favorite books as a teen was Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster (this book might have inspired all my favorite romance novel tropes). The style allows us to get an insight into the characters that might not happen organically if they were talking in person.

The other part of this book I wasn’t expecting was how Sittenfeld places part of it during the height of Covid lock down. I wasn’t sure I was ready for it, but it was such a fundamental part of our history that I think addressing it, and how people dealt with it, was important. I liked how she didn’t just gloss over two years of intensity.

As far as the storyline itself, I enjoyed it. I thought that Sally was a pretty realistic character and how Sittenfeld described her insecurities when it came to dealing with dating a “hot” musician were very believable. What I wasn’t expecting, and what surprised me, was how Sittenfeld created such vulnerability for Noah. Since the book is mainly from Sally’s viewpoint, it would be easy to have Noah just act as the foil for Sally to realize her self-worth and her ability to be loved. He did that, but Sittenfeld also showed that men are not immune to the pressures of looking a certain way and that maybe sometimes we forget that men also suffer from projected ideals.

Overall, a really great book, such a good read. It gave me a lot to think about. It also made me want to go and reread Bossypants before I see Tina Fey and Amy Poehler next month!

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