Books,  Reviews

Humor Me

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Synopsis

A love letter to the New York City stand-up scene, as told by a charmingly jaded assistant at a late-night talk show?for fans of Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

Presley Fry is not amused. She’s been an assistant at the Late Night Show for way too long, she’s adopted a “business casual” approach to dating to save herself from the embarrassment of seeking genuine connection, and she’s content to allow her gregarious roommate, Isabelle, to orchestrate her entire social life. And yet, Presley is absolutely enamored with her job and the world of stand-up comedy. The joy she finds in discovering up-and-coming comedians, the beauty and connection in their shared humor?it’s enough for now.

Enter Susan Clark, the childhood best friend of Presley’s late mother, whose death still knocks the wind out of Presley whenever she reaches for the phone. Susan is married to the head of the network where Presley works, and she is determined to take Presley under her wing and ease her way through life in the big city. She’s also determined to connect Presley with her son, the bright and affable Lawrence, who couldn’t be further from Presley’s type.

As Presley grapples with the loss of her mother and finds her people among those who seek out comedy to make the world a bit brighter, Humor Me reminds us that friendship can emerge from where you least expect it and that shared laughter can ease some of the deepest pain.

Synopsis source: Goodreads

What pattern is that?
Pictured with the book in this post is a hexi blanket I made years ago using this basic hexi pattern and this chart pattern for an accent hexi.

Review

Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction, Romance
HB&W Rating: 4 stars, 3 flames
View on Goodreads
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Expected Publication: July 9, 2024

I don’t know about you, but before I read a book, I take the synopsis and the genres assigned to it in Goodreads into consideration to see if it strikes the mood. When books differ from those descriptors (in my subjective opinion), I feel the need to set the record straight, as it were.

I went into this book thinking that because it was about a woman working for a late night comedy show, it was going to have me laughing throughout. It did not. While it has some humorous lines and situations, this is book is too heavy to be considered funny. It also said it was a romance. While it has elements of the genre, romance is not the focus, though there are a couple of sex scenes (3 flames) and she does get her HEA, so there’s that. Also, that cover gives me heart eyes.

I went into this book expecting one thing and as a result, I had a hard time getting into it. When I let my expectations go and just let the story take me where it would, I ended up with so much more out of this book than I was expecting.

This book covers some heavy topics that might be triggering to some readers, like alcoholism, death of a parent and substance use. It also takes place in the entertainment industry around the emergence of the #metoo movement, which features heavily in the subplots. That’s some heavy stuff right there.

Our MC, Presley, is definitely living up to her “jaded” characterization from the synopsis though, so it did get that right, and this book is definitely a love letter to NYC and comedy. Presley is cynical, acerbic, and sarcastic, but has a heart of gold. I actually really liked her and found her incredibly relatable. In fact, all the characters were so well drawn that I felt like I knew them. I loved Izzy and think everyone needs a friend like her in their life. Susan was neurotic but so loveable. Their relationship was less about taking Presley under Susan’s wing (as per the synopsis) and more about seeking something in one another that is missing in their lives with the death of Presley’s mom. But I loved her unlikely friendship with Presley.

I enjoyed how the author called out problems in society in dealing with bias, prejudice, and injustice. Right at the beginning of the book, when Presley and Izzy are discussing how all they see in the news right now is talk about Weinstein, there’s a line where Izzy says “It’s been just enough time for a subject to be exhausted on Twitter, but not enough for actual societal or cultural thought.”

While there was so much I loved about this book, which focuses on healing from grief as well as friendship and letting people in, I do feel like the pacing was a little slow at times. I also felt a little bereft with the ending. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, but the way things just cut off felt unfinished. Maybe that’s the point, life goes on, go out and live it, but to me, it felt unfinished.

Still, if you enjoy exploring female friendships and want to travel to NYC without leaving your couch, this is a great book to do it with. I had Mrs. Maisel vibes, but contemporary and not from the comedian’s POV, just the late night show aspect and the comedy bar scenes. I really liked it and encourage you to give it a try!

Thank you to Celadon Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Until next time,

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