Trin's Reviews > Remember Me?

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
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May 05, 08

bookshelves: fiction, english-lit, amnesia
Read in April, 2008

This would usually be the time when I would ask the largely rhetorical and semi-pathetic question, “Why do I keep reading Sophie Kinsella books?” Well, this time the answer is blatantly obvious—the plot of this one involves amnesia, yo, and I can never resist amnesia—and the question is kind of unfair. Because this wasn’t so bad—far less annoying than the last few Shopaholic books. Kinsella’s strength has always been her ability to create an amusing, fast-paced narrative, and coupled with the amnesia plot, I really didn’t want to put this book down. However, it also shares many of the same irritating traits as Kinsella’s other novels. The protagonist is once again a flighty, shallow woman who spends most of the book flailing and helpless, wriggling out of scrapes mostly through luck and/or the help of a strong, powerful man. Also, Kinsella really has no idea what it means to be poor. Not only are these novels full of rich people, the “poor” characters still have large country houses (but they smell kind of funny!) or can afford their own flats in London. Uh-huh. I wish I had your problems, ladies.

For what this was, it was fun enough. Actually, in some ways it’s becoming funnier in retrospect, because I’m realizing what the plot reminded me of. In Remember Me?, 24-year-old Lexi wakes up after receiving a bump on the head to discover that she’s actually a very different and successful 28-year-old version of herself who’s lost four years of her memory after a car accident. Which brings to mind a book I read as a teenager, The Other Side of Dark by Joan Lowery Nixon, in which 13-year-old Stacy wakes up after a four-year coma to solve a murder and embark on a vaguely squicky romance with a 23-year-old. Mostly I remember the latter book due to its having one of the most unintentionally hilarious last paragraphs ever: “My cheek glows from the warmth of his skin through his shirt, and I can hear the steady beat of his heart. I put my arms around him. I’m Stacy McAdams. I’m seventeen. And I’m definitely in the right body!” Ahahahahaha. I guess we should all be glad that in Remember Me?, Lexi merely engages in some rather embarrassing activities involving muffins.

Since this review has clearly descended into tangent city, I’d also like to call attention to something that was in no way Kinsella’s fault, but which made me want to laugh/cry almost as much as Stacy’s self-affirmations. Dear American publishers of English novels: We, your readers, are not idiots. We can figure out that, if a novel is set in London, “football” means the sport with the round ball and “crisps” are not some unfathomable food, even more impossible to decode than this “Philosopher’s Stone” I’ve heard stories of. We might, in fact, be reading this book set in London in part to soak up the English atmosphere and indulge our Anglophilia. So you are in fact helping no one when you take a manuscript from across the pond and do a find/replace on all the “British” terms, leaving you with a long scene that involves your heroine making repeated and unintentionally comic reference to a “packet of chips.” Yes, thank you for clarifying that the characters did not just purchase a plastic bag of French fries from a gas station; however, you’ve now got them sounding like poor confused souls with horrible mid-Atlantic accents. NO ONE SAYS PACKET OF CHIPS. Americans say bag of chips. English people say packet of crisps. Please choose one or, better yet, LEAVE IT THE HELL ALONE. Next thing you know all novels will take place in North Generica, because god forbid readers be exposed to something unfamiliar or spend half a second feeling CONFUSED.

[/rant]

So annnnnnnyway…like I said, way way back in my first paragraph, this was actually pretty fun and diverting. Much better than the later Shopaholic books, and a perfectly decent beach or plane read. Or in my case, couch and bathtub read. If you’re in need of some froth, you could do a lot worse. After all, this is froth WITH BONUS AMNESIA.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Jess I haven't read anything else by Sophie Kinsella, but liked that this book went so quickly. It was like the perfect cookie - you eat it, it's tasty, and then it's gone and that's just fine.

Or should I say biscuit? Because really, I have to totally agree with you. I can't believe that they would make a big deal to change chips into fries and crisps into chips, but they left biscuit without changing it into cookie? Other Britishisms I noticed were "fringe" for bangs, "tried it on" for hit on (as in pull/pick up chicks), and whinging for whining. I really don't understand that at all.

Sorry, just, you know, agreeing with you. In a long-winded and pointless sort of way. =)


Catherine Hear hear on the rant! I do sometimes end up reading American editions of British books and it does grate.
However, it seldom happens the other way round: whether that's racism, cultural imperialism or laziness I do not know.


meredith nice review! you've eased my guilt a bit at having just read this (my first Kinsella book) and being halfway amused. It's terrible, it is. But it's still kinda yummy, somehow. And if only the editors in question WOULD hear your rant, please oh please. I was annoyed as well.


message 4: by Thirteen (new) - added it

Thirteen Australians say "packet of chips" ;)


message 5: by Linsey (new)

Linsey With regards to your rant, very well said. To comment on what CaterinaAnna said about things seldom being done in the reverse... The difference here is that when Brits purchase an American novel we have the general common sense to make these minor adjustments as we read them.

Authors, in general, tend to write their novels in such a way that it's relatively easy to decipher what they are referencing.

When American publishing houses/editors pick up the rights from a British novel they don't treat their American readers with the same courtesy.


Chrissi Snow Hear, hear! (in regards to Thirteen's comment)


Sarah Ford I guess you got an Australian version here in the US, then.

I really loved your rant! I have felt the same when reading these books. I would add that, when British authors create an American character, they should have an American editor proofread the dialogue.


message 8: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda To Trin,
If you are looking for a funny book you should definitely read Falling For The Ghost Of You. I'm only halfway through but I've already cried twice from laughing. I haven't read 'Remember Me?' cause it sounds a bit dumb. The reason why I was interested in this book was because of the whole amnesia thing which I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU!!! If you know any books with the amnesia please tell!


Natalie OH MY GOD YES YES YES about the soccer/chips thing! I was actually confused at first. Like really.


message 10: by Ellyn (new) - added it

Ellyn Why do I keep reading Sophie Kinsella books, indeed! This made me laugh. The amnesia draw as well. Who can resist a good amnesia story?! Haven't read this one yet but it is inevitable. I may even be as brave as you and fly my Kinsella freak flag. Great review, Trina!


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