January 09, 2010

Book No. 2: Twenties Girl

Book No. 2 in my challenge was Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella.

Hmm. It was okay. I like Sophie Kinsella well enough - or, at least, I liked the first couple of Shopaholic books, and think she can be funny, so I thought I'd try it out for an easy read.

Twenties Girl is a chick lit ghost story of sorts. In an interview, Ms. Kinsella describes how the book came about:

My U.S. editor Susan Kamil had once said casually, "You should write a ghost story one day." This comment stayed with me for years. I loved the idea, but didn't know who my ghost could be. I've always loved the glamour and spirit of the 1920s, and the idea came to me of a flapper ghost. A feisty, fun, glamorous girl who adored to dance and drink cocktails and get her own way. I wanted her to be a determined character who would blast into the life of someone with no warning and cause havoc. I then decided she should haunt a thoroughly modern girl, with all the culture clashes and comedy that would bring.
My, that does sound fun! But it was slow going for a (long) while. Lara Lington is our real-live girl who is the only one who can see Sadie, the flapper ghost of her great-aunt. Of course wacky highjinks ensue, as Lara's family think she's talking to herself, losing her mind, etc. Plus, Sadie is just not as endearing as we're meant to believe: She screams and shrieks at Lara to do things for her which just sounds maddening to me. I found it hard to believe that Lara grows close to this harpy. I almost had to abandon the book. But once we get all that out of the way (and disregard the side stories involving Lara's unlikely love interests), there is a nice little historical mystery in the latter half of the book that is sort of touching. It's a sweet end to a rather goofy beginning. That's what we expect from Sophie Kinsella - a friendly, silly, fun read. And that's what we get.

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