The Smart Romantic Comedy We Can’t Resist



The thing you need to know before picking up this book is that you’re going to look like an idiot while you read it. That’s because, like all of Curtis Sittenfeld’s books, there’s going to be a smile that stretches from one ear to the other whenever you’re reading it.  It’s going to feel like a guilty pleasure, but you will remind yourself often how it’s also an intellectual novel, how Sittenfeld has that charming ability to blend astute observations on relationships with the most delectable storytelling.

Those who read Rodham, Sittenfeld’s previous novel, will remember that scene with Bill Clinton playing the saxophone and know what I’m talking about. You’re smiling now, aren’t you? Rest assured, Sittenfeld demands no such imagining of American politicians playing music in the nude in this, her seventh novel. Indeed, there are no politicians in Romantic Comedy at all. Our heroine is Sally Milz, a 36-year-old divorced comedy writer and self-described “mild-mannered woman of average intelligence and attractiveness”. But don’t let her fool you, Sally’s tenacity for self-deprecation is equal to her brilliance and wit.

When it comes to love, apart from occasionally having sex with Gene – who she met on a dating app and who “if, on the plus side, wasn’t homicidal, wasn’t particularly cute, either” – you could say Sally had sworn it off altogether.

Instead, it’s her job at a Saturday Night Live-esque show that she is truly committed to. Sally writes “willfully raging sketches about sexism and bodily functions” and her most recent one pokes fun at a phenomenon she has witnessed in her workplace whereby extremely average-looking men find themselves in relationships with extremely famous and extremely non-average-looking women. The opposite scenario (ordinary looking women with very hot and famous men) doesn’t seem to exist. Or does it?

What follows is a fun and funny, tender and wise exploration of romance, cheesiness, love, vulnerability and intimacy.

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Read the full review of Romantic Comedy at PRIMER.


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