Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

A few weeks ago I had a new bookshelf added into my bedroom and as I re-organised books onto my new shelf (I was categorising all my chick lit novels together), I looked at Can you keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella and suddenly it dawned on me, the book was stiff - the spine wasn't bent at all, it still looked brand new and I said, "Have I not read this? I thought I'd read every single Sophie Kinsella book there is!" (not verbatim) But I hadn't. Somehow this little purple book flew under my radar (I must have had this book in my possession for a few years now) and I remedied the situation STAT.

Like all novels by Sophie Kinsella, it was light, fun and funny.
Unfortunately, no, it's not a contender for my favourite Sophie Kinsella novel (that would have to be Twenties Girl, I think - I can't believe I didn't do a review of that one on here! I definitely should have.) but it was still enjoyable to read, very well written and overall a satisfying experience.

If I were to nit-pick, I'd say I did have a few gripes with a couple of the characters in the novel. Emma, the protagonist, not so much, but URGH her roommate Jemima was a hideous creature! Like I mentioned in my Goodreads review, reading Jemima's character felt detrimental to my health. She is disgraceful and a horrible person with extremely low to no morals. I just can't even say anymore or I'll go mad.
The hero of the book, Emma's love interest, Jack Harper, didn't seem as fresh and exciting and charming as Sophie Kinsella's other heros. The fact that he was American, his upper class-ness, and his overall character seemed a little cliché to me but I should note I have all the experience possible in reading Sophie Kinsella's books because this is the last one of hers I've read. I've read 'em all now! I know very well what her stories are like now, but I did have slightly higher hopes for the characters. I was expecting them to be unique and fresh and easy to fall in love with, but maybe I was expecting a bit too much.
I do have to mention my favourite character of the novel, my all time FAVOURITE character. Emma's grandfather. He was hilarious! Just one little anecdote from him and I loved him instantly. It was a pity he didn't get more page-time.

Now I really don't do this very often, but this passage made me laugh A LOT. So I thought I'd share with you this extract straight from the book.
Background: Emma is trying to break up with her boyfriend Ken Connor. Also, NB: she used to tell Connor she loved jazz (because he loves jazz) but she secretly HATES jazz. Despises it.

'Is there someone else?'
'No!' I say sharply. 'Of course there's no-one else!' I rub my finger roughly up and down the cover of the sofa.
'This isn't you talking,' says Connor suddenly. 'It's just the mood you're in. I'll run you a nice hot bath, light some candles...'
'Connor, please!' I cry. 'No more scented candles! You have to listen to me. And you have to believe me.' I look straight into his eyes. 'I want to break up.'
'I don't believe you!' he says, shaking his head. 'I know you, Emma! You're not that kind of person. You wouldn't just throw away something like that. You wouldn't--'
He stops in shock as, with no warning, I hurl the glass teapot to the floor.
We both stare at it, stunned.
'It was supposed to break,' I explain after a pause. 'And that was going to signify that yes, I would throw something away. If I knew it wasn't right for me.'
'I think it has broken,' says Connor, picking it up and examining it. 'At least, there's a hairline crack.'
'There you go.'
'We could still use it--'
'No. We couldn't.'
'We could get some Sellotape.'
'But it wouldn't never work properly.' I clench my fists by my sides. 'It just ... wouldn't work.'
'I see,' says Connor after a pause.
And I think, finally, he does.
'Well ... I'll be off then,' he says at last. 'I'll phone the flat people and tell them we're ...' He stops, and roughly wipes his nose.
'OK,' I say, in a voice which doesn't sound like mine. 'Can we keep it quite from everyone at work?' I add. 'Just for the moment.'
'Of course,' he says gruffly. 'I won't say anything.'
He's halfway out of the door when abruptly he turns back, reaching in his pocket. 'Emma, here are the tickets for the jazz festival,' he says, his voice cracking a little. 'You have them.'
'What?' I stare at them in horror. 'No! Connor, you have them! They're yours!'
'You have them. I know how much you've been looking forward to hearing the Dennisson Quartet.' He pushes the brightly coloured tickets roughly into my hand and closes my fingers over them.
'I ... I ...' I swallow. 'Connor ... I just ... I don't know what to say.'
'We'll always have jazz,' says Connor in a choked-up voice, and closes the door behind him.

My Rating: 4 stars

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