December 14, 2009

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella: Review

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Every once in a while a girl needs a book like Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella. Kinsella is the author of the Shopaholic series and like those books Twenties Girl starts out similarly. It begins with a young woman with troubles in both love and career. In this case the woman is Lara Lington, whose ex-boyfriend won't talk to her even after all the text messages she's left him and her new business partner has run off to India.

Lara's good at hiding bad things from her parents but when they all have to attend great-aunt Sadie's funeral, it becomes harder to avoid the ugly truths. All this pressure is getting to her. Suddenly, she's having hallucinations. What other explanation can there be for the yelling woman no one else can see at the funeral?

What seems to be a figment of her imagination turns out to be the 20's vintage ghost of her dead aunt. Sadie has one last demand request; Lara must find her lost necklace. Without it Sadie can't rest. Sadie isn't the easiest spirit to have around. She's pushy and nosy, spoiled and selfish. At first, Lara can't wait to be rid of her but as Lara gets to know this woman who was once her neglected great-aunt she comes to realize that they have more in common than just genes.

I loved, loved Twenties Girl! Yes, Sadie is annoying at the beginning but she has just died after living in an old folks home for decades. You can't blame her for wanting to 'live' a little. Lara is someone who needs to lighten up and could use Sadie's advice- especially when it comes to Josh, the ex. While Lara obsesses over their relationship, Sadie encourages her to 'take a lover or several lovers.' Some of Sadie's antics cause Lara embarrassment, like asking out a totally stranger, but Sadie can be very persuasive.

What I like about Kinsella is how funny and entertaining her books are. Lara is a typical modern 20 something- trying to figure it all out. She can be both endearing and frustrating. A believable character. At first, Sadie just seems like a flake but as the story progresses, Lara finds out that she is more than a party girl.

Although it is a fun read, there is another layer to the story. Sadie's family can't be bothered to visit her while she's alive, her funeral is an inconvenience to them. Even Lara is guilty of this. Toward the end of the story, Lara sees the elderly as they should be seen, as people.

At the nursing home:
"I feel a sudden lump in my throat as I watch. They're all Sadie inside, aren't they? They're all in their twenties inside. All that white hair and wrinkled skin is just cladding. The old man with the oxygen tank was probably once a dashing heartthrob. That woman with the distant rheumy eyes was once a mischievious young girl who played pranks on her friends. They were all young, with love affairs and friends and parties and an endless life ahead of them..."
Then there's the mystery of the necklace. I was pretty sure something was up but that plot took a few unexpected turns. I was quite happy with what Kinsella did there.

It only took me a couple of days to read all 435 pages so I'd have to say it's a quick, engaging read. Lots of fun and lots of heart too.

Highly recommended.

Thanks to Random House for sending me this review copy.


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6 comments :

  1. I haven't read this one but I did read the Shopaholic books. Kinsella is a fun writer and always finds a way to give the annoying character a redeeming quality.

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  2. Wonderful review! I just enjoyed the first few books in the Shopaholic series, and it sounds like she has an interesting new take on stories like that with Sadie. Sounds like a good read.

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  3. I think I would love this one too. I love Kinsella's work and can relate to her characters.

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  4. I loved this one too. My grandma is 95 and I love hearing about her younger days...

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  5. Your first sentence is so true! I thought this was a fun read, too.

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  6. Sadie drove me CRAZY at the beginning, but once she was toned down I was able to enjoy the book!

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