The Ultimate Rom-Com
Updated: Sep 12, 2020
By: Emily Henry
I am feeling pretty disillusioned right now. There seem to be too many unknowns in our lives at this moment. Being a Type A personality and planner, I don’t do well with the unknown. This week many of our children and grandchildren started school for the first time in over 170 days. While almost all of us are happy about this little bit of normalcy, it is scary to think that we have no idea what the next few months will hold for us. With that in mind, I picked this week’s book because I think we all need a little sunshine in our lives.
Right now, most of us don’t want to read the news or watch anything unpleasant. We need uplifting, happy, and joyous. How about a romantic comedy? What romantic comedy doesn’t lift you out of your gloom? I recently watched a Resse Witherspoon movie that my friend Amy recommended and it was just what I needed. It was called Home Again and I was smiling so much by the end of the movie that it felt as if I was transported out of my present situation, even if it was just for two hours. I think we all need more of this in our lives; something to whisk us away for a short time.
When Beach Read came out this spring, I was not at all tempted to read it. I am not a “beach read” kind of girl. Normally, I am a very positive, glass is half full girl, but lately, the enormous amount of gloom in the world has dragged me down. I was ready for a change and I quickly realized this book is anything but your average beach read.
Beach Read is the story of January and Augustus, next-door neighbors in a small Michigan town on the lake. Both January and Augustus are writers who are struggling with issues in their life. January lost her dad within the last year and has moved from NYC to stay at his lake house so that she can get some writing done. She is broke and under contract to produce another book by September and yet she can’t seem to dig herself out of the hole that she has fallen into since her dad died. When he died, it seemed as if everything that she knew and loved crumbled to pieces.
Augustus Everett is trying to write his next Great American Novel. He is a serious writer who has been very successful but he is struggling with continuing the momentum of success. While January’s books are always romantic comedies, his are always tragic stories. The old January liked a romantic story that ends perfectly tied up in a pretty bow, but since her dad died, she doesn’t know how to produce happy books anymore. Augustus likes to kill off his entire cast. Both are struggling with writer’s block and they both find solace in each other’s misery. The two are the unlikeliest of people who end up becoming friends. Being neighbors, they are stuck together for three months, or at least until January finishes her novel and moves back to NYC.
After their friendship is formed they strike a deal. January will try and write the ultimate tragic book with a deeper meaning about life, while Augustus will try and write a romantic story with a picture-perfect ending. Part of the deal is they have to help each other out with the research every weekend and spend the weekdays writing separately.
I think this “beach read” appealed to me because it wasn’t just a fluffy romance. It had the romance but also had some deeper, hard conversations about death, loss, abuse, and trauma.
The best part is you have no idea how the novel will end. Will it be all be perfectly tied up in a bow like January’s books or will it have a tragic, brooding ending like Augustus’ books? You will thoroughly enjoy reading this book and you will love both characters even if they don’t write or think alike. Sometimes you make friends in the unlikeliest of places. Most importantly, you won’t realize how much you needed this book until after you’re done and you have a big smile plastered across your face!
By: Emily Henry
Publication Date: May 19, 2020