Remember Me By Sophie Kinsella – A Calculated Risk That May Or May Not Work For Some

Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella

Fanboi talk aside – as I do have read all eight of her novels – “Remember Me” is an interestingly subtle departure from her time proven success with the Shopaholic formula.  First, let’s recap.  Be it as Becky Bloodwood of the Shopaholic series (5 books), Samantha of “The Undomestic Goddess”, Emma of “Can You Keep A Secret”, or Lexi of “Remember Me”, the author’s heroines have always been an embodiment of someone who is flawed, optimistic, and passionate towards family and friends.  The formula extends beyond the main character herself.  There will be lovers involved, parents, best friends, best friends who are no longer best friends, bosses, and a sister in some cases, and to top it up, Sophie Kinsella’s books are always a fun read that make you laugh-out-loud drawing suspicious glances from people around you.

The bottom line is: does the world need another book from Sophie Kinsella?  For those who worship the Shopaholic series, “Remember Me” may come across as less entertaining.  It has lesser laugh-out-loud moments per page flipped.  For those who find the Shopaholic series too shallow but enjoy reading her standalone novels instead, “Remember Me” may come quite close to “The Undomestic Goddess”, which I still think it is the author’s best work today.

There is a novelty in the idea itself: imagine what would happen if one day you wake up and three years worth of memory has just vanished?  And you wake up with a new job title, a new look, new set of friends, and you realize that you are married to someone who is a stranger to you.  Through the character Lexi, Sophie Kinsella explores the condition of amnesia, and more so than any of her previous works, I think there are a fair bit of planning in order to make the storyline works – set aside the need to have every small details made sense to the readers.  To that, I think Sophie Kinsella has done a great job in delivering a relatively more complex storyline with relatively more character development for those who surround the main character.

“Remember Me” is still a page turner and prompted me in thinking: perhaps all these efforts of upkeeping my own blog site are not too bad an idea just in case one day, touch wood, I bump my head onto something and lose a chunk of memory.

PS. I tried to place a reservation at our National library but I gave up after seeing the queue.  I was close to number 250 with just over twenty books available for lending.  And knowing how long it may take for the paperback to hit the bookstore, I go for the hardcover instead.

Related Entries: Can You Keep A Secret?, On Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic & Baby, and Undomestic Goddess – A Good Read

Can You Keep A Secret?

Botanic Gardens With A Book

I was caught on camera smiling while reading a book at the Botanic Gardens last weekend.  How embarrassing!  I’ll get to that later.  Couple of months ago, I was also caught on camera as a school project – so I was told – while I was reading a book.  It was a lovely afternoon at the Botanic Gardens and I was either reading The Medici Effect or Brand Leadership when a young girl approached me and asked if she could take some pictures of me.  I was flattered of course and besides, if my mug shot can help someone to gain a grade A+ in her school project, why not?

Me: (nervously) What do I need to do?
Her: (smiled) Just read your book.
Me: (puzzled) Just read my book?
Her: (nodded) Yes, and I will take some pictures.
Me: Shall I face the camera?
Her: No, just read the book please.
Me: Okay, okay!

I was trying to strike an intellectual post given the rather intellectual book I was reading.  I mean, I couldn’t really look that entertained and relaxed with a non-fiction book, could I?  I acted as if I was in deep thought.  I imagined a sponge, a huge knowledge sponge, while giving her the most stylish post possible without looking as though I was trying too hard.  I swear, not a word from the book got into my head while I was photographed in all possible angles – front, behind, sideway – far and near.  At the end of the photo session, she thanked me, I wished her all the best for her school project, and I regretted for not asking what the title of the pictures would be.  “Bookworms can be sexy”?  “A rare find in the Botanic Gardens”?  “Future Singapore PMs are made of this”?

Last weekend, Cynthia the Paparazzi caught me on camera while I was reading Sophie Kinsella’s “Can You Keep a Secret”.  Okay, there you have it.  Chick-lit makes me smile.  I mean, it is not the most glamorous thing to say but Sophie Kinsella’s books are actually very entertaining, however forgettable the storylines are.  It is like, a secret indulgence, a breath of fresh air in the little mountain of serious books I read, a McDonald’s meal once in a blue moon.  If only chick-lit comes with covers that are less pink or bright blue, that would be perfect for me to read in public.

Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie KinsellaIf to replace the main character of “Can You Keep a Secret” with Rebecca from the Shopaholic series, the story would pass as one of the books from the same series.  Except that the center of focus of this book is “secret”, which I find it pretty interesting.  I am sure we all have our own set of secrets that are kept away from people around us however trivial they may be.  What if all relationships begin with honesty with no holding back of secrets?  Is it really a bad thing for your friends to know some of your secrets that concern them?  How should the line be drawn between lies that are deceitful and the withholding of the truth because the recipient is not ready for it (white lies)?  What if the whole world knows your secrets (like the main character in the book)?

One thing I know though is that those secret pictures behind the closed doors of the Hong Kong celebrities should be kept secret.  But that is another story.

Related Entries: Remember Me By Sophie Kinsella – A Calculated Risk That May Or May Not Work For Some, On Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic & Baby, and Undomestic Goddess – A Good Read

On Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic & Baby

Shopaholic & Baby

Yet another fellow senior from my good old university that I am proud of (erm … somewhere in Oxford, UK), I swear I might have met Sophie Kinsella or rather Madeleine Wickham back in my college days. Make no guess of how old I am please. Onto her fifth installment of the shopaholic series, this time round, our all-too-famous Becky Brandon is back … with a baby. To be honest, I am more interested in the success formula of Sophie Kinsella rather than the book itself.

Sophie Kinsella must have been one of the most consistent writers I have come to know and such an achievement is not at all easy to attain.  I have started with her Undomestic Goddess and now onto 5 of her shopaholic series. Every single book is as entertaining as ever making me laugh-out-loud unfailingly – something that I don’t usually do unless the book is really funny. I make a note that I shall read Can You Keep a Secret? next – a book that is sitting in my bookshelf somewhere. And I am certainly looking forward to her yet-to-be-released-novel Remember Me?

On average, each chapter is about 10 to 30 pages long  and each chapter may have 2 to 3 sub-sections. Each section is engaging on its own – however sequential it is. Sophie Kinsella creates her main character (always a female so far) not without flaw, but yet commands her readers to fall in love with that character. That, is art. If I could do what Liz Phair did to a song-by-song reply to the Rolling Stones’ 1972 album Exile on Main Street, I would write a series of books with titles as follows (okay, private joke between the shopaholic fans and me):

  • The Secret Binary World of a Geek
  • Geek at Silicon Valley
  • Geek found a Soul-mate (who is into Tetris)
  • Geek and his Long Lost Brother
  • Geek and his Techno-baby

On a serious note, “Shopholic & Baby” is certainly a good read. On surface, it is the typical Becky loves shopping, Becky encounters a problem that cannot be surmounted, and Becky comes out to be the hero once again. Deep inside (OK, you can’t go that deep for a chick-lit), “Shopholic & Baby” is not too much into shopping but more into her love relationship. For those who have complained that there isn’t enough character development for Becky’s husband Brandon, rest assure that in Sophie’s latest installment, there is more into that.

Overall, I enjoy reading “Shopholic & Baby” immensely. Certainly a light read for one of my trips to the SeaWorld and the Taman Safari. If you despise any of her previous work on the shopaholic series, you probably won’t like this one either. I do recommend reading from the beginning of the series because the storyline will make more sense to you.

Are her books memorable? Probably not. Do her books entertain? A million yes.

Related Entries: Remember Me By Sophie Kinsella – A Calculated Risk That May Or May Not Work For Some, Can You Keep A Secret?, and Undomestic Goddess – A Good Read

Undomestic Goddess – A Good Read

Some people call it “chick-lit” (literature for chicks) but I do find it a very good read. Something I can sort of relate to (life of a professional) and had a good laugh from page to page. After I finished reading it, Cynthia took over, finished in one of two days, then passed it to her mother. I enjoyed it so much that I visited a bookstore and grab all her Shopaholic series. Trust me, it was not easy to carry 5 chick-lits to the counter. Author’s name is Sophie Kinsella. Hope you will like it too.

Related Entries: Remember Me By Sophie Kinsella – A Calculated Risk That May Or May Not Work For Some, Can You Keep A Secret?, and On Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic & Baby