Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

It's ages since I've read any Sophie Kinsella...I bought "Remember Me?" last Christmas but it's somewhere languishing at the bottom of my TBR pile. I did enjoy the first couple of shopaholic books, but thought the later ones were money for old rope and the film was could she let them do that?!! Unfortunately there were many aspects of this book that either annoyed me or I simply hated and that's why it ended with a pretty low star rating.
The main fault (and it is only my opinion) is that the main character Lara Lington is awful. She is whiny, self obsessed and develops no redeeming features as the book continues. She stalks a dead loss of an ex-boyfriend, has no friends in the book apart from a lying business partner, has weak parents who seem only to want to protect her from the horrors of her own making and a sister who hates her. Not a loveable person or someone you want to feel a connection with!! She has an "evil" corporate uncle who owns the Kinsella idea of a UK starbucks and it's his earlier actions that finally create part of the plot.
Anyway, at the funeral of Great-Aunt Sadie, who none of them have ever bothered to see during her 105 years, Sadie's ghost (who appears at her 1920's best) attaches herself to Lara and makes her find her missing and much loved necklace. Now as Lara is such a waste of space, I couldn't understand why Sadie bothered and this was my problem throughout. Sadie is amazing, and although she's initially annoying I grew to love her and Kinsella's description of her clothes, style, language and moods was brilliant. Sadie was the only reason that I read to the end as I truly didn't care what happened to anyone else.
The first two thirds of the book is pretty pointless and repetitive and smacked a bit of writing for a forthcoming film...there's too many "humorous" set pieces, like the breaking into the uncle's house, climbing up a mountain of gilt chairs...they're not funny, but seemed to be "quirky girl" romcom scenes. Ed, the love interest was dull and wasn't given the opportunity to develop. Lara got a fantastically happy ending complete with rich boyfriend, new super-successful business - but through no effort of her own. All Lara’s problems are of her own making and this really irritated me, even the big show down with her uncle was weak.
The back story of Sadie’s life was touching and the idea of Sadie visiting her own portrait was lovely. The ending is bittersweet and fitting but there was simply too much Lara in the way.
It seems ironic that Sadie is the only dead character when all three stars are awarded to her being an amazing life affirming character!