Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong per se for a dude like me to read books like “Twenties Girl”, though many friends often get a little shock when they learn that I am a fan of Sophie Kinsella. Her books are fun read. And I have read them all. The only complain I have … erm … if I could put it that way, would be the book cover. I mean, yes these are chick-lits. But must the covers look so, girlie? One time, I was carrying a complete stack of the Shopaholic series to the Times Bookstore counter, and there were people l-o-o-k-i-n-g. Or at least that was how I imagined so. The moment “Twenties Girl” was out, I was hitting our National Library’s website everyday trying to be amongst the first to place a reservation. Bad news was, I was at queue number seventy-something. Good news was, our library in Singapore has stocked up sixty over “Twenties Girl” in anticipation of the demand. Well done NLB!
I remember vividly the day I collected the book from the library. We had a Spanish examination in the afternoon. During our late lunch celebration with some of the classmates, I have received an email on my N97 (the text message reminder came much later, while we were watching a movie at night). Yes, the book was ready for collection. Hooray! The library was just opposite to where we had our lunch. When I reached the counter, it was empty. I secretly let out a sigh of relief. But you know what life is like. Just when you think everything is going OK, I saw a queue starting to form, as the librarian was trying to locate the book. With a crisp clear, relatively loud voice given the fact that we were inside a library, she showed me the book cover and asked, “Is this the book you are looking for?”. I swear I saw the queue of library visitors looked at me, then the book, then at me again. Gosh!
The legendary Shopaholic series aside, I enjoy reading Sophie Kinsella’s standalone novels a lot. Like “The Undomestic Goddess”, “Can You Keep A Secret”, and “Remember Me?”. As for “Twenties Girl”, it is still a fun read. I laughed-out-loud while reading the book in Starbucks, and at home. The formula is similar: lots of dramas, centered to a girl. And the lack of character development for the male species is still prevalence. Maybe this is how girls see the world; maybe such is the genre of chick-lit. What is different though is that the center character, Lara, is not as flawed as the rest of Sophie Kinsella’s heroines. Also, the concept of the constant interaction with Lara’s great aunt’s ghost adds a new dimension to the story development. “Twenties Girl” touches at the emotional level too. It is less so on the triumph at the personal level, but rather a shift in a focus onto the linkage and importance of the family heritage. It is also less as a predictable happy ending, but one that leaves a melancholy kind of after taste.
Certainly an entertaining book to read. Could the storyline be tighter and tidier? Perhaps. But if you are already a fan, what are you waiting for?