Ciara's Reviews > Twenties Girl

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
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Oct 08, 09

bookshelves: crummy-chick-lit, read-in-2009
Read in September, 2009

as far as "chick lit" goes (& there was a great little paragraph in defense of chick lit in a recent "new yorker," wondering why when women write about life & love in the contemporary city, it's dismissed as 'chick lit" & low-brow mass market beach reading, but when dudes do it, they are feted about as the toast of contemporary literary society *cough* jonathan ames *cough*), i really like sophie kinsella. i admit that i really enjoyed the shopaholic series, & kinsella has a knack for writing eminently likeable protaganists, even if i can't begin to imagine getting myself into the scrapes they get into. but when i saw this book sitting on the shelf at the powell's airport store at PDX, i felt that it was trying too hard. i mean...twenties girl? i am more delighted than most that twenties fashion has been in vogue recently, & i went nuts stocking up on cloche hats & enormous hair pins with netting, but penning a crossover book is a good way to date yourself. though i guess the shopaholic books are kind of dated too, now that the economy has collapsed & everything. no one could pretend to not understand that those books weren't written at the height of the market bubble. anyway!

our protag this time meets her foil at her grandmother's funeral, in the form of her grandmother's ghost. the ghost refuses to go silently into that good night until her favorite dragonfly pendant is returned to her. the protag (can't remember her name & already returned the book to the library, sorry) doesn't really know her grandmother at all & doesn't know anything about any dragonfly necklace. at first she thinks she is hallucinating. eventually she accepts that she has a ghost that won't rest until the necklace is recovered.

so, in a sense, the book is a mystery. where'd the necklace go? who has it? was it stolen? why? as far as mysteries go, this was a terrible one. i figured out the culprit about 75 pages in. actually, i eyeballed the bad guy the moment he was introduced. his characterization was a bit of a smoking gun. i even figured out his motives, though i naturally didn't guess all the details, because how can you predict ludicrous deus ex machinas like the ones that unfold in the climax to the book. i use the term "climax" loosely because the reader doesn't even get to SEE the big showdown between the protag & the bad guy. we read everything leading up to it & then the scene fades to black & we cut to the protag being celebrated for a job well done, justice restored, necklace recovered, etc etc. but no sophie kinsella book can ever end with the protag getting a handshake & some heartfelt words of appreciation. no, she also always has to land a great boyfriend, & throw some kind of lavish event, & if her good deeds get newspaper recognition, well...all in a day's work for a kinsella protaganist. suddenly her parents recognize her special gifts & her career takes off, & it's all due to bumbling her way through a series of hijinks & accidentally uncovering a secret that no one before her had even thought to seek out.

so, points off for the formula. & points off for the hatefulness of the ghost. i really could not deal with her at all...i remember that her name was sadie, because i used to LIKE that name before i read this book. i think we're supposed to find her spunky & amusing, but i was too busy feeling really bad for the protaganist to have this awful woman hovering around, making life difficult.

the book felt like it was written quickly, probably for a paycheck. & that's great. i read it anyway. i just didn't find it as satisfying as the earlier shopaholic books or the other stand-alone kinsella books. better luck next time, i guess.
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