Better Than the Movies – Lynn Painter


When I think of ‘‘Better than the Movies,’’ the movie Clueless comes to mind pretty much immediately. Throughout the story, the main character Liz Buxbaum discusses plenty of romantic comedies and tropes and I simply cannot help but associate this book’s ‘‘vibe’’ to that of Clueless’. The two may have few elements in common and Liz may be rather different from Cher, and yet.  

Liz is not a top girl (popular and cool) and yet she kind of needs to be to attract the attention of Michael, a childhood friend who has moved back home and who Liz believes belongs with her. She’s also not particularly shallow, and yet when it comes to love, she idealizes, overthinks, deceives and avoids. Loves does make us crazy, but to Liz it seems to make her crazy and immature and delusional and a really bad friend.

So why did I actually like her? I have to say that I’m not lining up to sign up as her new best friend anytime soon, based on how she is treating hers throughout the story basically, but the part of me that enjoys rom-coms and wants to believe that romantic love is an ethereal kind of special that deserves being consumed and being let to consume us could not help but slightly encourage Liz in her questionable endeavours.

That does not mean that I fell head over heels for the miscommunication, best-friend and step-mother mistreatment or the unrealistic scenes. I guess, just like visual romantic comedies, there is content worth smiling at, swooning over, questioning and rolling our eyes at. Is it better than an actual rom-com movie?  Well, no. There is more ideation than heartfelt emotion for me to really have felt the love. But I did feel the character and relationship developments, which does matter. So what I’m saying is that if you’re looking for a written rom-com, you are welcome to take a shot at this one, just try to go along with Liz’s idealistic romantic expectations as much as possible. That will certainly improve your reading experience.  

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending a copy of the advance book. On sale May 4th, 2021!