Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

357 pages
Copyright: March 2004
Random House
New York, NY

Can you keep a secret? Ok, well it's not really much of a secret since I'm posting it here on my blog. The truth is, I've been slacking in my reading of classical literature. The weather is warmer and the days sunnier (after all it is officially Summer!) , my life is busier than ever and I just haven't had the attention span for anything meaty. Instead I've been drawn to light fluffy chic-lit and that's exactly what you will find if you pick up: Can You Keep A Secret by Sophie Kinsella.

The Plot:
Can You Keep A Secret? is the story of Emma Corrigan, a 20-something British woman with "a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets..." Secrets she keeps from her boyfriend, her family, her coworkers, and even from her best friend. Secrets that she keeps to herself... Until one day during a fateful plane trip, she spills every single secret to the handsome stranger sitting next to her, in a sort of final confession before the plane crashes... But then the plane doesn't crash. It lands safely and Emma goes home only to return to work on Monday and discover that the stranger on the plane isn't really a stranger after all... He's the American CEO of the company she works for... and he's visiting her office for the week... and he knows every one of her deepest darkest most humiliating secrets!

My Thoughts:
Can You Keep A Secret? is fluffy chic-lit at its best -- a light-hearted romantic comedy with a shot of girl-power and lessons to be learned. One being, while some secrets are best kept to ourselves, others are better brought to the open. Friendships and relationships thrive on truth and being honest with ourselves as to who we are.

In keeping with the formula of a romantic comedy, Can You Keep A Secret? has its highs and lows, but ends on a happy note for the heroine and for the reader. I am not the first person to say this, but I think it is worth repeating. Yes, chic-lit is all fluff, but Sophie Kinsella is really good at writing fluff and making it fun to read. I really enjoyed Can You Keep A Secret? and found the story fairly believable, although I did struggle with how quickly Kinsella resolved a messy situation in a few chapters that should have taken a lot more clean-up in real life.

The only caveat I have with this book is in the content. I did find the language a little heavier and the sexual content a little more frequent than in The Undomestic Goddess, but not quite as bad as in Remember Me? I certainly don't look at these books as examples of fine literature or as a "how to" for modeling my life, but they are entertaining if you skip or skim over the bad parts. Keeping this in mind I would recommend Can You Keep A Secret? to fans of the Shopaholic series.

For those curious you can read the reviews I wrote on Kinsella's other books by clicking on the titles: Remember Me? and The Undomestic Goddess. Unfortunately I read the Shopaholic books in 2008 before I started this blog, so I do not have any reviews of that series.

My Summary:
On a scale of 1-5, 1 being horrible and 5 being excellent I would rate this piece of chic-lit a 3 to 3.5. I had fun reading it and would actually consider seeing it if adapted to the big screen.

Which reminds me... I recently saw something about Kate Hudson starring as Emma in a movie adaptation of Can You Keep A Secret? While I think this story would make a fabulous film, I must admit I am disappointed to see yet another of Kinsella's books being adapted to an American setting. I really think they should have been left where they were set -- in Britain, like what was done with the Bridget Jones movies.


Amy said...

I love this book with all of my heart and I strongly disagree that chick lit is all fluff. If there are lessons to be learned as you said, how is that fluff? You don't have to qualify your reading, just read it, love it, enjoy it!

Alyce said...

I would say that most chick lit is fluff, but when I'm in the mood for it, it's a lot of fun. This is my favorite Sophie Kinsella book. I thought Remember me was ok, but had a hard time getting into the Shopaholic series.

I agree that I would prefer to see the movie version in a British setting - that's part of the fun.

Framed said...

I really enjoyed The Undomestic Goddess and this one is on my TBR list. Maybe Kate Hudson can do an English accent. I think a British setting would be better also.

Calon Lan said...

After finishing The Undomestic Goddess, I picked this up at the bookstore the other day and loved it as well. Thoroughly enjoyable. I think I liked this one even better than any of the others (I'd agree with Alyce that it's now my favorite Kinsella book). It had my laughing from start to finish, and the male character is probably the most sympathetic one that Kinsella creates.