Romantic Comedy

Random. Apr. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9780399590948. $28. F
Sittenfield, known for creating complicated women (Eligible; Rodham), does the same with Sally, a quirky, whip-smart writer at a fictionalized Saturday Night Live–esque show called The Night Owls. Working closely with celebrities has made her cynical about fake romance in pop culture. When pop star Noah Brewster guest-hosts, Sally writes a few of his sketches, and sparks seem to fly. Fast-forward to 2020, in the depths of the COVID lockdown; Noah and Sally reconnect, and the sparks start a bonfire. The desire in both of them to connect is so strong it bursts off the page. Sittenfield’s writing is crisp and current, and her cultural references make this tender story sizzle. Reminiscent of 1999’s Notting Hill, in which Hugh Grant as an everyman British bookstore owner falls in love with Julia Roberts’s Hollywood actress, the novel also contains Sittenfield’s trademark themes of gender politics and social class.
VERDICT Buy multiple copies and get ready for the movie that’s sure to follow Sittenfeld’s latest novel. She consistently proves herself as one of the most readable contemporary novelists. Her books are impossible to put down, and the characters will continue to swim around in readers’ minds long after the final chapters.
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