Saturday, 4 May 2013

Can You Keep A Secret?

Author: Sophie Kinsella
Genre: Chick Lit
Type: Hardcover (own)
Number of Times Read: 2
Pages: 357
Publisher: The Dial Press (Random House)
First Published: March 2004
First Line: "Of course I have secrets."

Book Description
Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets:

Secrets from her boyfriend: I’ve always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken.

Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur.

Secrets she wouldn’t share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is.

Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger... Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company’s elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her.

My ThoughtsThis was the second time that I read this book.  The first time that I read it (way back in May 2008) I rated it a 4.5/5 stars.  Ya, I loved it and found it hilarious.  This  surprised me because the other two Kinsella books that I had read (including the first Shopaholic book) I didn't love ... at all.

So how did I feel about this book the second time around?  Weellll, I liked it but didn't love it.  Perhaps it's because I kind of knew what to expect.  Or it could be that Chick Lit is becoming a genre that I tend to stay away from because I truly think that it's one of the hardest genres to write well -- at least if the author wants to impress me.  Either Chick Lit comes off as clichéd and silly or, if done well, it can show us a humourous journey as the main character 'finds herself'.  However you look at it this book didn't impress me as much the second time around. 

I know that one of the things that bothers me with Chick Lit in general is that it usually begins with a clichéd, dowdy and misunderstood main character who is typically a complete push-over and looking for the perfect man and/or dress size.   Unfortunately Emma is no exception for some of those clichés.  She is continually degraded by people around her (especially her cousin) and just takes it for the bulk of the book until she begins to view herself differently.  That's great that she 'finds herself' and 'comes into her own' but until then I wanted to reach into the book and shake some sense into Emma every time she didn't tell her cousin off after one of her negative comments about Emma's love life or career.  Gahhh!  I guess that's just not how I work.  I'd be sitting that cousin down and having a heart to heart.

I understand that chick lit is meant to give it's readers a nice, light and enjoyable read and not delve into heavy subjects or spark debates.  I get that.  But for a Chick Lit novel to impress me and keep my attention is quite rare.  The first time I read this book I remember feeling shocked that I enjoyed it so much because I hated Kinsella's first Shopaholic book.  I found 'Can You Keep A Secret?" to be quite funny and Emma to be an endearing character.  So you can either chalk this review up to me now being a more seasoned reader (or perhaps jaded) because this review's rating is much lower than my first rating or how masses of other readers feel about the book.

While this book did have some funny moments as Emma shares her inner-most secrets with a complete stranger (I even found them funny the second time around) those funny bits unfortunately didn't make up for the overall feel that I got from the book and the unease that I had reading about how Emma was used as a doormat.   

My Rating: 3/5 stars

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