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Book Club Questions for Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

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Book club discussion questions for Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld delves into the nuances of modern romance and gender relations, Sally Milz navigates the world of love and dating as a sketch writer for a late-night comedy show.

When Sally’s friend Danny starts dating a beautiful actress, Sally creates a sketch about the “Danny Horst Rule” that pokes fun at the double standard for men and women in relationships.

However, when she meets pop star Noah Brewster, who has a reputation for dating models, she starts to wonder if there could be something between them. With her signature wit and insight into complex female characters, Sittenfeld explores the ups and downs of love in the real world.

This book offers a fresh and realistic take on romance and features interesting and multi-dimensional characters. Readers will appreciate the author’s ability to seamlessly integrate the pandemic into the story and capture the complicated emotions that come with falling in love.

Although the book hits a strange note in the middle, it ultimately recovers in the third section, delivering an enjoyable and thought-provoking read.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most thought-provoking discussion questions for Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld. From dissecting the social rituals of romance to exploring the neurosis-inducing and heart-fluttering wonder of love, there’s plenty to unpack in this captivating novel.

We’ll delve into the central themes of the book, analyze the characters’ choices and actions, and examine the modern age’s gender relations. Whether you’re a seasoned book club member or just starting out, these questions will stimulate conversation and spark new ideas.

As someone who typically leans towards contemporary fiction, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel.

So, if you haven’t already, grab a copy of Romantic Comedy, gather your book club, and get ready to dive deep into this story. With these discussion questions as your guide, I hope you’ll have a fascinating and rewarding conversation about Sally Milz’s life, love, and career.

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.

Scottoline brings her decades of thriller writing to historical fiction, creating in Loyalty a singular novel that no reader will be able to put down.

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Book Club Questions for Romantic Comedy

I hope you and your book club will enjoy my discussion reading guide for Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld ✨

  1. In the book, Sally channels her annoyance into a sketch called the Danny Horst Rule. What did you think about this sketch? Did it resonate with you? Do you think the rule holds true in real life?
  2. Sally is an interesting protagonist. What do you think of her character? Did you empathize with her struggles and insecurities? What aspects of her character stood out to you?
  3. One of the themes explored in the book is the different societal expectations between men and women. Do you agree with the book’s commentary on this issue? What do you think needs to change for men and women to be treated more equally?
  4. Noah Brewster is a pop music sensation with a reputation for dating models. What did you think about him as a character? Did you think he was a good match for Sally? Why or why not?
  5. The book is divided into three parts. What did you think of the structure of the book? Did you think the different parts worked well together? Why or why not?
  6. The book is set in the world of sketch comedy and TV writing. Did you enjoy learning more about this industry? What did you think about the behind-the-scenes look at the production of a live TV show?
  7. How does Sally’s relationship with her stepfather inform her views on love and relationships?
  8. One of the central conflicts in the book is Sally’s fear of putting herself out there and risking getting heartbroken again. Have you ever experienced a similar fear? How did you overcome it? Do you have any advice for Sally?
  9. What are some of the challenges Sally faces as a female comedy writer in a male-dominated industry? How does she navigate these challenges?
  10. The book explores the neurosis-inducing and heart-fluttering wonder of love. What did you think about the book’s portrayal of love? Did it resonate with your own experiences? What did you think about the ending of the book?
  11. Discuss the role of humor in the book. How does comedy function as a tool for exploring the themes of the story?
  12. How does the political and cultural discussion inserted in the middle of the novel affect the overall narrative, and do you think it was necessary to the story?
  13. What is the significance of Noah Brewster’s appearance on The Night Owls? How does his presence affect Sally’s life and work?
  14. How does the pandemic shape the way Sally and Noah’s relationship progresses?
  15. What do the emails exchanged between Sally and Noah during the pandemic reveal about their characters and their ability to be vulnerable with one another?
  16. What is the significance of the behind-the-scenes look at a late night live comedy show, and how does it contribute to the overall theme of the novel?
  17. How does the author challenge traditional gender roles in the portrayal of Sally and Noah’s relationship?
  18. In what ways does the novel explore the complexities of modern romance and the different obstacles that people face in their relationships?
  19. What themes or messages did you take away from the novel, and how did they resonate with you personally?
  20. Would you recommend Romantic Comedy to others? Why or why not?

Selected Reviews for Romantic Comedy

“[Sittenfeld] has a keen eye for relationships, particularly romantic ones, which is what makes her upcoming book, Romantic Comedy, so enticing. . . . [The novel] takes a shot of SNL and makes sparks fly.”Elle

“From the heart to the funny bone . . . What makes all this particularly delightful is that the woman narrating Romantic Comedy is hyper-aware of the conventions of romantic comedy, and she knows full well that real life is no fairy tale. But could it be this time?”—The Washington Post

“If you’re in need of [a] smart, sophisticated, and fun diversion right now (and who isn’t), this is your book. Like her literary foremother Jane Austen, Sittenfeld brings together exquisitely sharp dialogue that fizzes, excruciating sexual tension, and incisive social observation.”Oprah Daily

Additional Recommendations

Hope you enjoyed my book club discussion questions and reading guide for Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld!

Here are some more of my book club recommendations:

Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes

Who are you when you are forced to walk in someone else’s shoes?

Nisha Cantor lives the globetrotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband announces a divorce and cuts her off. Nisha is determined to hang onto her glamorous life. But in the meantime, she must scramble to cope–she doesn’t even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in.

That’s because Sam Kemp – in the bleakest point of her life – has accidentally taken Nisha’s gym bag. But Sam hardly has time to worry about a lost gym bag–she’s struggling to keep herself and her family afloat. When she tries on Nisha’s six-inch high Christian Louboutin red crocodile shoes, the resulting jolt of confidence that makes her realize something must change—and that thing is herself.

Full of Jojo Moyes’ signature humor, brilliant storytelling, and warmth, Someone Else’s Shoes is a story about how just one little thing can suddenly change everything.

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

In this “raucous, moving, and necessary” story by a Pulitzer Prize finalist (San Francisco Chronicle), the De La Cruzes, a family on the Mexican-American border, celebrate two of their most beloved relatives during a joyous and bittersweet weekend.

“All we do, mija, is love. Love is the answer. Nothing stops it. Not borders. Not death.”

In his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel de La Cruz, affectionately called Big Angel, has summoned his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly one hundred, dies, transforming the weekend into a farewell doubleheader. Among the guests is Big Angel’s half brother, known as Little Angel, who must reckon with the truth that although he shares a father with his siblings, he has not, as a half gringo, shared a life.

Across two bittersweet days in their San Diego neighborhood, the revelers mingle among the palm trees and cacti, celebrating the lives of Big Angel and his mother, and recounting the many inspiring tales that have passed into family lore, the acts both ordinary and heroic that brought these citizens to a fraught and sublime country and allowed them to flourish in the land they have come to call home.

Teeming with brilliance and humor, authentic at every turn, The House of Broken Angels is Luis Alberto Urrea at his best, and cements his reputation as a storyteller of the first rank.

Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah

In this gorgeously stunning debut, a mysterious child teaches two strangers how to love and trust again.

After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.

The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With concerns about the child’s home situation, Jo reluctantly agrees to let her stay―just until she learns more about Ursa’s past.

Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why aren’t Jo and Gabe checking the missing children’s website anymore?

Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in. When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars.

Thank you for reading my book club discussion questions and as always, happy reading! ❤️