Romance Is a Bonus Book (aka Love is a Bonus Book) is a breezy, sentimental drama about second chances starring Lee Jong-suk and Lee Na-young. If you’ve seen it on Netflix and scrolled past, then a second chance is exactly what you should give it.
Lee Jong-suk plays Cha Eun-ho, a young, successful author who also happens to be editor-in-chief at a publishing company called Gyeoroo. Lee Na-young plays Kang Dan-i, a childhood friend several years his senior who has fallen on hard times due to her divorce, inability to find a job, and newly minted status as a single mom. Dan-i was once a superstar in the marketing world, but gave it all up to take care of her family.
Now that she wants back in, she faces age discrimination (How can you blame someone for aging?) and malicious comments during interviews about being out of the workforce for too long.
Sounds bleak, doesn’t it?
Well, what I adore about this drama is that it isn’t! Dani is resourceful and refuses to stay down. This is largely thanks to screenwriter Jung Hyun-jung’s character-building and ability to comment on social issues without coming off preachy.
Lee Na-young’s subtle, but layered performance as Dan-i is a real treat as well. The character has the world on her shoulders, but never once did Lee Na-young venture into over-acting— which I’ve seen many actresses do when playing a role like this.
And then there’s Lee Jong-suk. Golden boy Lee Jong-suk; the man whose smile could power a small city. His performance as Eun-ho isn’t a big departure from his previous roles, but it’s solid. The character is mature (most of the time) and supportive. You can actively see the different kinds of love he feels for Dan-i thrumming beneath his skin in almost every scene.
That’s the beautiful thing about Lee Jong-suk’s acting. Even though people question his versatility, he never fails to make you believe his total adoration of whoever is acting opposite him. In real life, Lee Na-young is eleven years older and they still have chemistry.
It’s not the explosive kind, but the warm, oozing kind that feels like hot chocolate sliding down your throat on a cold day. Honestly, that’s what this entire drama feels like. My only criticism is the pacing. So much information is given to us at the beginning, by the end it starts dragging a bit. None of the conflicts are particularly shocking either since the show aims to portray everyday life.