Funny Story by Emily Henry: book review

Funny Story by Emily Henry

Overview: Daphne and Peter were supposed to get married. That is until he finally decides to fall for his childhood best friend, Petra, at his bachelor party and calls off the whole wedding. He also kicks Daphne out of the new house they just moved into. So Daphne lands in an apartment with Petra's ex-boyfriend who was also newly in need of a roommate. So, while Daphne's perfect romance gets ruined, a new meet cute begins with her accidental roommate, meaning that her new couple-story will always start with, "It's kind of a funny story." Overall: 4

Characters: 4 I like Daphne and Miles. I don't feel super connected to them, like I did with the cast of Book Lovers, but I wanted to see them happy in the end. Because every Emily Henry book has to revolve around a woman with a bookish career, Daphne is a children's librarian who newly moved to Michigan for her ex-fiance. She loves her job but has no other connections to the town, so she's ready to get out. 

Miles, the accidental roommate, is originally made out to be a quiet bartender and stoner, but it turns out that he's one of the most beloved men in town. When Daphne and Miles are able to open up to one another, Daphne starts warming to the idea of getting to know this new town on her own terms. 

We meet Daphne's fellow librarians and some of the locals that make the town special. We also get a glimpse into Daphne's family life and how her parents have molded her approach to relationships and the world. I feel like examining longstanding patterns started in your childhood is an underutilized concept in romance because so much of the conflict that comes up in relationships started long before the love interest comes into the picture. 

Plot: 4 I read this book in maybe four days after being in a major slump, so it's definitely an entertaining read. I'm not a big romance reader. It just isn't really what I enjoy reading the most. But I do always give the new Emily Henry books a try because she takes a really expansive view at what romance can be. Her books always have layers of story revolving around friends and family that help balance out the romance threads in the context of a larger world that I do find compelling. I'd honestly call Emily Henry's books more commercial, upmarket fiction than romance. Regardless, the book is a perfect start to summer read.

So much of this book is about Daphne learning that it's okay to set down roots and really try with people. Between moving a ton for her mom's job and having her dad be largely absent and very unpredictable, she doesn't trust easily, and she has a tendency to view her life as temporary or not worth investing in. While Miles has had family struggles of his own, he takes an opposite approach to life, and as the two form a friendship through being thrown together, Daphne learns to let go just a little. It's a really lovely story that honestly hinges more on their unlikely friendship than the romance that comes out of it. 

I will say that the book definitely drags in places and likely would've been even better at 350 pages rather than 400. There's nothing so slow that it would stop you from finishing the book, but there were plenty of scenes that felt inessential in that they didn't add to the story or alter/deepen my view on the characters. 

Writing: 4 Similar to what I said in plot, Emily Henry's writing is never my favorite on the sentence level. I'm not asking for it to be poetic or revelatory. That's not why people read Henry's books, and that's not why I picked up this one. I wanted summer fun to forget about how it still snowed here yesterday! But it does bug me a bit how much Henry chronically overwrites. She over-explains, there's always so much fluff around the dialogue, and sometimes, it gets hard to follow all the details she throws around that don't always tie together. I always find her books a bit dense, and they always feel like they're trying just a little too hard with the prose instead of letting things breathe.

Eventually, I settled into the book (and honestly started skimming more), and I noticed these issues less. Henry is good at telling swoony summer stories that have a sneaky amount of depth to them. She has a lane that she delivers on well every time. It's how she's built her brand. And I'd say that Funny Story continues to grow her empire. I am worried, however, about how she's going to find a new bookish occupation for her next character since she's already covered: author, agent, librarian, etc. 

More From This Author...

Book Lovers review

People We Meet on Vacation review

Happy Place review


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