Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Virtual Book Club: Sophie Kinsella

Every time I start a Sophie Kinsella book, I wonder why I'm bothering to read it. Having read four of her "shopaholic" books, I had sworn off any more of her books, even if the preview of her latest book had caught my eye as I gratefully finished the last one. But somehow at the library last week I found myself picking up "Can You Keep a Secret?"

The premise of this book had promise. Our protagonist, Emma, hates to fly and gets a little tipsy before boarding her flight home from a disastrous business trip. When she gets freaked out during the flight, she spills all of her secrets to the handsome stranger next to her. Of course she discovers the next day at the office that her handsome stranger is the CEO of her company.

Imagine what you would do if your CEO knew your code with your coworker for heading to Starbucks for coffee and knew that you resented that the girl next to you got the new desk. The book looked even funnier with the CEO obviously deciding to pursue Emma--how would you feel if your new prospect knew you lied to your last boyfriend about your underwear preferences and that you liked to have a glass of sweet sherry before dates? Funny, right?

Unfortunately, not really. You know those movies where you watch the screen through your fingers as you cower from the embarrassing situation the protagonist has gotten herself into? Every single one of Kinsella's books is cringeworthy just like that. In the "shopaholic" books the protagonist Becky told huge lies to avoid creditors that were pursuing her. In this book Emma keeps her lies small but her insecurities huge. I will say that I was glad she spoke up for herself, a lesson that Becky could've learned.

The romantic angle in both books is also severely flawed. Kinsella's intention to make the romantic heroes seem perfect instead creates two-dimensional characters whose infatuation with the protagonists seem inexplicable. I found it very difficult to understand why successful and handsome business men would be interested in women who were so insecure and neurotic.

In short, don't bother with any of Sophie Kinsella's books. I swear this was the last one I'll be reading!


Thanks to Anne from Tiny Kingdom for the Virtual Book Club idea. If you have thoughts on this author, her books, or other books, feel free to leave a comment or continue this discussion on your own blog!

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At 1:18 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

I like to think my book club is a "virtual" one too because there have been times when nobody read the book. So we may rent the movie instead.


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