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Funny Story

Emily Henry
Published by Berkley in 2024

I picked up Emily Henry’s Beach Read a couple of years ago when I found out she was a fellow Hope College alum, and there were a few references to unique Hope experiences, such as late-night donut adventures. I quickly became a fan. Her storytelling is unmatched and I eagerly await every new release. Last month, when she released Funny Story, I picked it up at my local bookshop that day and finished it within the week! Once again, her one-of-a-kind character building told a story I couldn’t put down.

I will give a bit of a disclaimer up front: this book did have a bit more “spice” than I would usually go for, but for me, the storytelling made the read worth it for me.

Daphne, a librarian, moved to her fiance Peter’s hometown of Waning Bay, Michigan to start a life together. Daphne adores the way he tells their love story, but their life together comes to a screeching halt when he realizes he’s in love with his childhood best friend Petra.

Daphne moves in with Petra’s ex fiance, Miles, so Petra and Peter can move in together, leaving Daphne and Miles to put their lives back together. Despite finding themselves in similar life situations, the newfound roommates couldn’t be more opposite. For example, Miles is neighborly and knows everyone in town while Daphne’s coworkers think she’s a secret agent since no one knows anything about her life. 

They do their best to coexist and avoid each other in the apartment, but eventually start to form a friendship due to their close quarters. Begrudgingly, Daphne agrees to let Miles show her around town, with a countdown to her eagerly awaited Read-A-Thon (the only thing keeping her in Waning Bay) and an unexpected plan to deceive their exes.

Daphne’s job as a librarian means several book references throughout the story, which warms my bookish heart. From a Station Eleven reference to alluding to the author characters from Henry’s Beach Read, these references are a bonus to help the reader illustrate Daphne’s personality based on her literary favorites. 

Both Daphne and Miles are surprised by unexpected visitors, which brings some bumps in the road for their relationship – and a full apartment which presents its own challenges. Again, their different life paths leave them in a similar situation: putting the pieces together from the relationships that have deeply affected their own stories. 

One of my favorite quotes which is perfectly descriptive of Daphne and Miles’ relationships with their exes and families, and affects how they view their relationship with each other, is Daphne’s advice on waiting.

“You can’t force a person to show up, but you can learn a lesson when they don’t.

Trust people’s actions, not their words.

Don’t love anyone who isn’t ready to love you back.

Let go of the people who don’t hold on to you.

Don’t wait on anyone who’s in no rush to get to you.”

They also continue finding favorite Waning Bay spots, with their sidekick, Daphne’s coworker Ashleigh. Emily Henry has a history of creating the coziest towns in her novels. While I’m not a Michigander myself, it was home for my college years, so the details and places she uses to set the scene feel familiar and I was able to envision the setting based on my own experiences. 

It starts to seem that the awful situation that brought them together was necessary, but there comes a point where it seems like it might be too good to be true and some events occur that make us think they might not end up together. Yet, the day of the Read-A-Thon arrives and the town comes together to support, even Miles who, at the beginning of the story, was admittedly not a reader. 

I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but if Daphne thought Peter’s telling of their story was great, Miles’ is incredible. You might even say… it’s a funny story!?

This is an unexpected love story (by both the main characters and the reader) with a bit of romantic comedy sprinkled in along the way. Daphne and Miles’ stories are complicated, yet relatable, and we empathize with them because we all have our own friendships or relationships that come and go, and leave imprints on our lives, for better or worse. 

Funny Story is overall charming and makes you love love, even though it might be based upon a cliché phrase. I’m already looking forward to Emily Henry’s next book!

Kylie Galloway

Kylie Galloway graduated from Hope College in 2022 and moved to New York City for a job in the publishing and entertainment industry. Her free time is spent reading, needlepointing, and exploring the city, one coffee shop at a time.

2 Comments

  • Judie Zoerhof says:

    Thank you! I enjoy Emily Henry’s writing and I look forward to this new book! I did not know she went to Hope College. That makes it even better.

  • Noreen Vander Wal says:

    I was catching up on Reformed Journal blog reading this morning and read your review. A few hours later I went to Target and saw Funny Story front and center on display by the checkout lines–one copy left. I figured it was a sign to buy it. 🙂

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