Saturday, August 08, 2009

Twenties Girl; Sophie Kinsella

Twenties Girl is my very first Sophie Kinsella book. I know, I know I must be the very last woman on earth who hasn't read the Shopaholic series. I've been living under a rock reading other stuff, I guess. I will be up front and say I received an ARC from Random House for the purpose of this review. Link to Ms. Kinsella's site in the title above. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have picked this up on my own- and I would've missed a fabulous, funny book.

Twenties Girl is the story of two young women, Lara and Sadie, who have opposite temperments using their individual strengths and weaknesses to help the other cope with and transcend the vagaries of life. That sounds very serious, but truly Ms. Kinsella has a deft touch for comic yet true to life situations that would curl your hair if it was you, but are somehow hilarious when it happens to someone else. In a way I think this is also Lara's coming of age tale. By helping Sadie Lara must let go of preconceived notions and castles in the air and learn to be assertive and cope with life as it is, not life as she wishes it would be. For Sadie's part, well- she needs to learn to put others' needs ahead of her own, to be more forgiving.

Lara Lington is a mid twenties age Londoner who gave up her job to open an executive search firm with her 'best friend' Natalie. Lara's problems result from impulsivity and a pronounced tendency to be chameleon-like in the face of even the barest criticism. Sadie is Lara's long ignored elderly aunt. Rather, Sadie's ghost is haunting Lara. In her own mind, at her death Sadie is twenty three. At the height of her beauty and happiness, feeling as though she's at the top of the world. Except she's actually one hundred five. And very dead. Sadie wants Lara to find her favorite necklace and she threatens to haunt Lara until and unless she finds the necklace and returns it to Sadie.

Lara and Sadie are hilarious and heartbreaking. I found Sadie the more compelling character despite the book's primary focus on Lara's arc. Sadie manages to prod, drag and hound Lara into clarity of purpose and determination via Sadie's compelling need for a missing art deco dragonfly necklace. Throw in a smarmy coffee chain magnate uncle and his family, parents who know something's wrong but who won't corner Lara into honesty and the reader has a mixture of plot and character that are sure to keep you laughing as you devour the story.

Laughter's a formidable weapon in Ms. Kinsella's arsenal as she leads readers into a superficially shallow, fun storyline that has at it heart, a compelling narrative about family, love, and self respect. Full of fun anecdotes about life in the roaring twenties I loved reading about, Twenties Girl makes for a laugh out loud, "oh no she didn't" kind of read sure to make you smile.

P.S. The funeral at the end was a unique and touching tribute to Sadie! Just the right send off, I think.

Image found on Random House Library.


Rosario said...

Haven't read the Shopaholic series, either (and have 0 interest in doing so). But Kinsella's other books are really good. I loved Can You Keep a Secret?, Remember Me? and The Undomestic Goddess. You should try those as well if you liked Twenties Girl.

Marg said...

I have never read any Kinsella at all!

Bookwormom said...

Rosario~ I think I'll look for a few of her stand alones at the library. :) I loved her sense of humor in this book.

Marg~ What drew me to this one was the idea of a ghost stuck in the 1920's. Unique concept. Maybe it'll be at the library?

Happy reading~ Amanda

~ames~ said...

I'm delurking! *waves*

Ok, I've been waiting for a review of this book. I haven't read the Shopaholic series but I have read Remember Me? and Can You Keep a Secret?

I'm glad you enjoyed this one, now I'm definitely going to check it out. :P

Jillian said...

I love Sophie Kinsella's books! I can't wait to get my hands on her newest one.

If you love Kinsella, you'll also love a new book called 'Knickles and Dimes'. It has hilarious characters and a really great story; I'd recommend it!

Anyway, thanks for the review : )

Bunny B said...

I don't especially love Kinsella, but the plot of this book has me intrigued! :)

Bookwormom said...

BunnyB~ I think I'm going to try and read one of her other stand alone titles. The Shopaholic titles don't interest me at all.

Happy Reading!~ Amanda

Bunny B said...

Me neither! I think it's cos I'm not a shopaholic, so I can't relate :P But I did watch the movie and didn't enjoy it much.