Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

Dial Press Trade Paperback; Reprint edition (March 1, 2005), 384 pages

Its always nice to have a light sweet dessert after a meal. This novel is the PERFECT dessert after a main entree of heavy duty literature. And, what can I say, Im also a girl who enjoys “Chick Lit” from time to time. I finished this book in just one sitting, and got me laughing out loud (not giggles, pure hearty laugh as in HA-HA-HA…all by myself). There’s just something about Brit humor, or herr…humoUr..that’s downright hilarious (think Bridget Jones).

Ive been seeing the other works of Sophie Kinsella, the “Shopaholic” series, but I never picked it up because I somehow know I couldnt relate to it. But after reading a series of Christian books, I decided I needed a reality check (haha) and a break from ‘heaven’, so I chose this. Saw it on a book review from Cosmo, or was it Marie Claire.

We all have our little secrets. Im not talking about top secret matter of life and death confidentiality. Just mundane “so what” secrets but somehow we find it unnecessary to reveal, even to our bestest friends or boyfriends. Example, a personal information that I dont want EVERYONE to know (but well its out now isnt it??) we go: Even if im a dog lover, I absolutely LOATHE our other dog, Maximus. A toy poodle that always seeks attention, running all over the place like a lit rocket, and most of all, always bullying my dog, Tofu around. And when you try to be affectionate to him, he will just try to BITE your hand.

So, thats a secret unveilled! In this novel, we follow the daily ordinary life of ordinary girl Emma Corrigan. She finds herself on a plane ride next to a handsome stranger ( although believe me, the chances of that in real life– almost NIL) . She is afraid of flying, but pretending to be a seasoned traveller, panics when they experience a severe turbulence, and grabs on to handsome stranger, and somehow, because she gets chatty when nervous, reveals ALL her little secrets to him. Secrets such as:

1.) Ive lost my virginity int he spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur.

2.) I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is.

3.) Im actually a size 6 but I tell everyone, including my boyfriend, that Im a size 4.

She told him EVERYTHING, even how she would lie down to her side with elbows propped on her head, after a rompy session in bed with her boyfriend, because “that way your cleavage looks bigger”

So then, later on, she gets back to work, and her company announces that one of its founder will be visiting from America. And surprise, surprise, the CEO turns out to be the “confessEE”.

Sort of like Cinderella (predictability factor and not-so-chic-girl-gets-the-hot-guy pattern), she ends up with the stranger, much to the surprise of her family and co-workers, who all treat her like dirt.

Again, this novel is not so much a “blockbuster plot” book, but just a hilarious down to earth novel that everyone can relate to, as we all have our own insecurities as well like Emma. Like Bridget Jones, Emma also has her SBF (Supporting Best Friend), who’s always there, and like Cinderella, she has her stepsister in the form of her cousin Kerry, the achiever in the family, whose Emma’s own parents worship.

We’ve been sitting around the table now for forty minutes, and the only voice we’ve heard is Kerry’s.

“Its all about image,” she’s saying now.”Its all about the right clothes, the right look, the right walk. When I walk along the street, the message I give the world is, ‘I am a successful woman'”

“Show us!”, Mum said admiringly.

“Well,” Kerry gives a false modest smile.”Like this”

She pushes her chair back and wipes her mouth with a napkin.

“You should watch this, Emma!”, says Mum. “Pick up a few tips!”

As we all watch, Kerry starts striding around the room. Her chin is raised, her boobs are sticking out, her eyes are fixed onthe middle distance, and her bottom is jerking from side to side.

She looks like a cross between an ostrich and one of the androids in ATTACK OF THE CLONES.

“I should be in heels of course,” she says without stopping.

“When Kerry goes into a conference hall, I tell you, heads turn,” says Nev (husband) proudly, and takes a sip of wine. “People stop what theyre doing and stare at her!”

I bet they do.

Oh God. I want to giggle. I musnt. I musnt.

“Do you want to have a go, Emma?”, says Kerry. “Copy me?”

“Er, I dont think so,” I say. “I think I probably…picked up the basics.”

I cant control the snort of laughter that erupts, so I turn it into a cough.

“Kerry’s trying help you, Emma!”, says Mum.”You should be grateful!” She beams at Kerry, who simpers back.”You are good to Emma, Kerry”.

And the next week, when Emma’s immediate supervisor calls her in for a deliberation, she wanted to grab the opportunity to ask him for a promotion, and remember’s the walk:

“Emma,” Paul appears out of his office and snaps his fingers at me. “Appraisal”.

My stomach gives an almighty lurch, and I nearly choke on my last bite of chocolate brownie. Oh, God. This is it. Im not ready.

Yes, I am. Come on. Exude confidence. I am a woman on her way somewhere.

Suddenly I remember Kerry and her I-am-a-successful-woman walk. I know Kerry’s an obnoxious cow,but she does have her own company and makes zillions of pounds a year. She must be doing something right. Maybe I should give it a go. Cautiously, I stick out my bust, lift my head, and start striding across the office, with a fixed, alert expression on my face.

“Is something wrong, Emma?” says Paul as I reach his door.

“Well you look very odd. Now. Sit down”

She doesnt get the promotion.

This book is a perfect ‘girlfriends’ book. Downside however, is well….readers might go unecessarily telling little bits of embarassing secrets to unwilling audience…just like what I did.





3 responses to “Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

  1. help me! what happens in this booke?
    like what happened to conner and emma?
    does emma and Jack harpeer hooke up?

  2. ericka, if i remember correctly, emma ends up being single in the end.

  3. Pingback: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella « Looked. Hooked. Booked.

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