funny story book review

Funny Story by Emily Henry: Book Review

📖 GenreRomance, Adult, Comedy
📃 Number of Pages395 pages
🪴 Average Goodreads Rating4.51⭐
🌻 My Rating4 ⭐

What is Funny Story About?

Funny Story by Emily Henry is a romance novel about Daphne and Miles whose partners, Peter and Petra left them for each other. Heartbroken and with nowhere to go, they move in together and over time become friends, decide to fake date to get back at their exes, and attraction sparks between them.

I finished this book in a day. Scratch that — not a day, only a few hours. I downloaded it in the morning and read it by the time I had to put my kids to bed. And I had a blast. 

Funny Story feels very much like a rom-com, especially at the beginning. It has those 90’s/early 2000’s romantic comedy vibes, like You’ve Got Mail or Bridget Jones’ Diary (which does make an appearance). The premise itself is funny and filled with drama, and it’s just full of shenanigans that made me giggle. 

This is not to say that there isn’t any angst — around the half point, the emotional baggage of our main characters’ past does start to make an appearance and affect the story in a bigger way. There were parts that made me either choke up or outright cry. But compared to Happy Place (my review here), which is probably Emily Henry’s angstiest book, Funny Story isn’t that serious. I’d say it might be her most romance-focused novel, with a lot of comedy and spice as well.

It’s extremely readable — but then again, all Emily Henry books are. Her writing style is joyful, fun, and she has a way of making you want to sink into the book and let go. 

Oh, and here’s something I didn’t know (but wish I did) before I started reading — the main characters are very Nick and Jess coded (from New Girl, the TV show). Looking back, it makes perfect sense. Miles works at a bar and is a bit of a stoner, while Daphne works at a children’s library and is very prim and proper. They’re not full-blown copies though — Miles, for example, is not grumpy and is generally friendly with everyone, and Daphne isn’t ditsy at all. But some characteristics are there. 

The story itself is also somewhat New Girl-like, with the main characters being roommates and fresh off bad breakups. They even listen to sad songs from movies together on full blast. 

I really wish I knew this when I started reading because I love New Girl, and especially Nick Miller. 

The non-critical part of me loved it to bits. If I wrote this review immediately after I finished it, it would be one long line of squee. But because I’m a professionally deformed editor and I had a moment to think about it, I do have a few things I want to discuss. 

Again, take everything that I say with a grain of salt. This book is amazing and well-worth reading. I just want to gripe about a few things and I have no bookish friends to talk to, so here I am, yelling into the void. 

Okay, with that out of the way — here’s what I wish was different. 

First of all, I don’t believe that the fake dating was necessary. Hear me out — fake dating, in my opinion, is for friends or enemies who absolutely must pretend to be together for *reasons* either at an event or for public, where they’re constantly pushed together and forced to be affectionate. No one but them can know it’s fake, and it’s only for a limited amount of time, usually leading up to an event, at an event, or with a certain goal. 

Miles and Daphne, however, had none of that. The wedding they needed to pretend for never happened (and was a non-factor anyway). They kept telling everyone that they were just friends in a way that could have easily made it back to their exes, even going as far as to deny being together at an event that they knew their exes also attended. Fake dating was not in any way a major plot point and didn’t feel necessary. 

They could have easily gotten together without it and they did, so I don’t see why it was included. If they used it to be vengeful and cause trouble for their ex-partners (again, by being in forced proximity to them), then it would have made sense. But as it stands, it felt like a trope added for the sake of marketing.

Another thing I wish was different is their roommate situation. Now, Daphne has a tendency to absorb the personality and social circle of the people she’s with. At the beginning, she doesn’t really know who she is without her former fiance and has no support system/hobbies outside of him. She knows this is an issue, but then she just as easily falls into the same trap with Miles. 

And I’m not saying that Miles is a bad guy here, but Daphne just goes along with whatever he does/wants. The closer they get, the more obvious it is, and it’s all under the guise of finding herself, but she just ends up conflating what she wants and needs with what Miles wants and needs. 

I believe she would have benefitted from some space. I wish that she got her own apartment, lived on her own, found out what she likes/dislikes on her own, before doing anything with Miles. She has this epiphany that she can’t keep living with him and focusing on just him at about 80% — which is great. But then we skip to the epilogue, a year later, and she bought a house with him and like 60% of her social circle is Miles’s friends or relatives. 

The story would have been just as good if she and Miles connected in a different way, other than being roommates. For example, they could have went their separate ways after that first day of being dumped. Both of them could have had some time to grieve separately, as well as get to know themselves outside of a relationship. And then when the Save the Date arrives, they could have met by chance while drinking about it, and started their friendship there. They could have even been roommates, just a bit later, with more time for Daphne to make friends and build a life without his influence. 

There’s also the fact that they got together too quickly. Both of them were fresh out of long-term relationships (5 years and an almost-wedding for Daphne; 3 years for Miles), and you’re telling me that they managed to get over it and fall in love in one summer? I don’t buy it. It took me longer to get over crushes as a teenager. 

This story would have benefitted from some time skips akin to what was done in You Again. If you haven’t read it (go read it!), this story is formatted as a series of encounters between the two love interests over the course of a few years, which allows them to develop as individuals and as friends. 

I’m not saying that the couple in Funny Story needed a few years. But at least a year between their breakups and starting to feel something for each other would have been great, and way more believable. They needed more space, more time, some casual rebounds maybe, and more of that friendship stage. 

The way it stands, Daphne starts feeling horny for Miles in the second scene they have together. It’s way too soon and not a very healthy basis for a future relationship, especially with Daphne being who she is. Like, her wedding dress is still in her closet and Miles has a huge collage of photos of him and his ex above his bed the first time they have sex. 

All of that healing should have happened at least semi-separately. 

I also believe there’s way too much going on in this story. It should have focused on them healing and finding themselves (as well as the romance). But instead, we have a library event, his sister and his family issues, her absentee dad, a tour through the town where they live, her looking for a new job, and more. It would have been a tighter story if it focused on them and their emotional growth, rather than all of this other stuff. 

Rant over. I think. 

Again, I do think this story is amazing and I loved it so much. But I just wish the main couple was given more time and less unnecessary drama. 

But I’m really happy that Emily Henry’s books are working for me again. I really disliked People We Meet on Vacation and felt meh about Book Lovers, but Happy Place and Funny Story have that uniqueness and charm of Beach Read, and I loved them both. Give this one a go and I hope you love it just as much (if not more) than I did. Happy reading!

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