Fans of the romance genre are used to having their favorite books mocked by those who’ve never bothered to read them — authors and readers of romance will tell you how weary they are of analyzing how and why the publishing juggernaut is so often dismissed.
So when comedian Paul Scheer (The Disaster Artist, Veep) posted a photo of the hockey-romance novel (a popular sub-genre) Slammed by Victoria Denault, he was roundly taken to task by members of the romance community for “judging a book by its cover.”
Scheer responded by acknowledging his mistake and buying the first book in Denault’s series to read, which he promised to document on Twitter with the hashtag #RomanceClub. He even shared a photo of his Kindle receipt to prove he purchased Score. The book centers on Jude Braddock, a hockey god whose prowess on the ice is not matched by his ability (or desire) to hold down a long-term relationship, and Zoey, one of the few who knew him as the shy, nervous kid he once was when they were teenage sweethearts. When Zoey returns to Jude’s life after a rough divorce, he’s determined to get it right the second time around.
Author Victoria Denault in turn reached out to Scheer and urged him to check out other hockey romance authors if he didn’t find her book to his liking. “I can understand why hockey romance wasn’t on your radar, but it’s actually a very large sub-genre. If you don’t like my work I can recommend other hockey romance authors. Just like comedy, we might not enjoy all the same stuff but there’s something for everyone,” she wrote.
She needn’t have worried because what followed was a joyful ride through a romance novel as one man discovered what happens when you toss aside assumptions to investigate something you previously may have viewed as a punchline.
Scheer wrote about how quickly he was hooked, and self-deprecatingly likened himself to one of the characters in the book, writing, “So I figured I’d just read the first chapter tonight. Here I am five chapters later, I just sped right thru it. I love the brother and sister relationship. Their interplay is really funny. You must have thought of me as a real Adam (minus the Yellow outfit).”
He also tweeted about the book’s central relationships, writing he was “Team Jude,” and within a day, he was tweeting out his dream casting for the movie version of the novel currently playing in his head: Chris Pine and Emilia Clarke.
Scheer ended his live-read with a shout-out to the author for making his “my first foray into the world of romance lit a great one.” He concluded, “My lesson learned is the oldest one: ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.'”
He also addressed how stigmatized the genre is as a whole and apologized for furthering that, writing to Denault: “After I started reading and hearing from the Romance Twitter community and seeing your posts, I realized the unfair stigma, you/your community have to combat. I really just want to apologize to you for throwing fuel on that fire and for throwing a wrench into your process.”
Denault responded to him: “How you handled this – buying the book and giving it a chance – was all the apology needed. Thank you for not taking the easy road and just ignoring this. You’ve honestly given me more faith in humanity.”
Read on for all of Scheer’s live tweets of the novel, including a hilarious moment where he has to look up the word “chignon.”