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Book Club Questions for Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

Book Club Questions for Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

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Book club questions for Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld takes a deep dive into this charming love story. There will be spoilers so for more context about the book, check out my spoiler-free review first.

Aww, I love this book! I really did. You can tell in my glowing review. Like I said, a little slow start with the focus on the SNL-like environment. Also, I wasn’t that entertained by Danny himself. However, once Sally and Noah officially meet and work together on the sketches, it was like a rocket ship went off.

Let me know your thoughts on this novel!

The Synopsis

Sally Milz is a sketch writer for The Night Owls, a late-night live comedy show that airs every SaturdayWith a couple of heartbreaks under her belt, she’s long abandoned the search for love, settling instead for the occasional hook-up, career success, and a close relationship with her stepfather to round out a satisfying life.

But when Sally’s friend and fellow writer Danny Horst begins dating Annabel, a glamorous actress who guest-hosted the show, he joins the not-so-exclusive group of talented but average-looking and even dorky men at the show—and in society at large—who’ve gotten romantically involved with incredibly beautiful and accomplished women. Sally channels her annoyance into a sketch called the Danny Horst Rule, poking fun at this phenomenon while underscoring how unlikely it is that the reverse would ever happen for a woman.

Enter Noah Brewster, a pop music sensation with a reputation for dating models, who signed on as both host and musical guest for this week’s show. Dazzled by his charms, Sally hits it off with Noah instantly, and as they collaborate on one sketch after another, she begins to wonder if there might actually be sparks flying. But this isn’t a romantic comedy—it’s real life. And in real life, someone like him would never date someone like her . . . right?

With her keen observations and trademark ability to bring complex women to life on the page, Curtis Sittenfeld explores the neurosis-inducing and heart-fluttering wonder of love, while slyly dissecting the social rituals of romance and gender relations in the modern age.

Book Club Questions for Romantic Comedy

  1. The novel features a SNL-like sketch show. Do you watch SNL? What did you think about the parts dedicated to making the show?
  2. What is your overall impression of Sally? Why was comedy writing the right path for her?
  3. What compelled her to write the Danny Horst Rule? What message was she trying to convey? Do you agree with her viewpoints?
  4. Appearances are covered quite a bit in the story. Why do you think there’s so much pressure on women to have the perfect appearance?
  5. Let’s talk about the first meeting between Sally and Noah. What were your main takeaways?
  6. After Noah’s episode, the cast and crew go out to celebrate. Sally and Noah talk and have an easy rapport, which panics Sally and she becomes a bit mean and pushes him away. This happens a couple times throughout the novel. Why do you think Sally acted this way to Noah? What was she afraid of?
  7. The story moves forward a couple years and it’s the beginning of the pandemic with everyone staying at home. Sally receives an email from Noah out of the blue and they restart their banter but also get to know each other more. Why was email the best way from them to connect? What did you learn about the two of them through their email exchanges?
  8. Would they have reconnected if not for the pandemic?
  9. Ignoring her fear of rejection, Sally decides to take Noah up on his offer and come visit him in LA. Let’s discuss their first in-person reunion since the show.
  10. Despite public perception and even their own initial hesitations, what is behind Sally and Noah’s strong connection? What do they bring out in each other?
  11. The two eventually get caught by photographers and both are distraught but for seemingly different reasons. However, looks do come up and Noah acknowledges that Sally isn’t the most beautiful person he’s ever seen but she offers so much more than just looks. Curious to hear your thoughts on this. Was he simply being honest? How would you have reacted if you were Sally?
  12. Eventually, Sally decides to leave the show behind and marry Noah. She also starts her screenwriting career. Let’s discuss their love story overall. Do you feel they are a good match? Did you like the ending?
  13. Who would you cast for the leads if they make a film or TV adaptation?

Additional Recommendations

Hope you enjoyed book club questions for Romantic Comedy! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

If you haven’t read Rodham also by Curtis Sittenfeld, you totally should! It’s such a unique idea—an alternative take on Hillary Clinton’s life. Very well done.

In 1971, Hillary Rodham is a young woman full of promise: Life magazine has covered her Wellesley commencement speech, she’s attending Yale Law School, and she’s on the forefront of student activism and the women’s rights movement. And then she meets Bill Clinton. A handsome, charismatic southerner and fellow law student, Bill is already planning his political career. In each other, the two find a profound intellectual, emotional, and physical connection that neither has previously experienced.

In the real world, Hillary followed Bill back to Arkansas, and he proposed several times; although she said no more than once, as we all know, she eventually accepted and became Hillary Clinton.

But in Curtis Sittenfeld’s powerfully imagined tour-de-force of fiction, Hillary takes a different road. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life.

Brilliantly weaving a riveting fictional tale into actual historical events, Curtis Sittenfeld delivers an uncannily astute and witty story for our times. In exploring the loneliness, moral ambivalence, and iron determination that characterize the quest for political power, as well as both the exhilaration and painful compromises demanded of female ambition in a world still run mostly by men, Rodham is a singular and unforgettable novel.

Check out my book club questions here.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

If you’re looking for another romance, you have to check out Emily Henry’s books. I haven’t read her latest yet but so far my favorite of hers is Book Lovers.

Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

Check out my book club questions here.

Happy reading!