16 March 2010

Twenties Girl (Sophie Kinsella)

Every so often you pick a book off a shelf, ignoring the glitz and sparkle of the front cover. You skate past the sad details of the effervescent heroine's life; you ignore the fact that the gushing review on the back comes from Cosmopolitan; you most certainly allow temporary insanity to take over as you grudgingly raise your eyebrows at the description of the love-interest and, miraculously, it is all worth it. The book turns out to be witty instead of that perfectly damning word 'funny', inspiring instead of merely big-hearted, diverting instead of ridiculous.

This happens very rarely with chick-lit. Normally this is a genre that is abominable at best. Sophie Kinsella has, in the past, proven herself a cut above the rest in the literary plains of pink mediocrity. Mainly because she is gorgeously funny, not because she talks about Things That Matter. There was a chickpea incident in The Undomestic Goddess... they were overcooked when she was trying to make hummus... ANYWAY. You probably had to be there.

So, battling yet ANOTHER chest infection (I don't want to leave London, yet I am so excited to be going back to Australia for at least a short while where my poor, weak, asthmatic lungs don't have to do battle with the elements every freaking minute of my existence) I decided the new Sophie Kinsella was perfect to get me through a day or two in bed.

It was not. It was SHITE. Ghosts. A mysterious necklace. A stupid heroine. A two-dimensional love-interest. Several cringe-worthy scenes involving said ghost, the Charleston and an eighty-five year old lipstick. Kinsella will be hearing from my lawyer soon because this novel pushed me over the brink from sick to manically depressed. (It's a fine line with me. I am not a good patient.)

In an embarrassing comparison, I also read Skulduggery Pleasant during my convalescence. I told Earhart I was most jealous about the fact she was able to meet Derek Landy last month, author of this overly excellent series for children. Of course, I realised I hadn't actually read any of this series and thus stole the first book off a nine year old I know.

I can now add 'skeleton detective' to my list of things that I Like Very Much. I am slightly concerned about Skulduggery's burgeoning friendship with a young teenage girl. Aside from the legal aspects, it is the possibility of future acts of necrophilia that REALLY worries me. However, Derek Landy is a professional. I am sure he will handle any such scenes with the appropriate tact and class.

Although a children's book, the dialogue, language and structure are streets ahead of Sophie Kinsella. The humour is sharper, the plot tighter and the characters more believable. Yes. Skulduggery Pleasant and Ghastly Bespoke are more realistic than Ed and Lara. POOR EFFORT Sophie.

Next up- Some Prefer Nettles by Junichiro Tanizaki.

Twenties Girl- 4/10.

Skulduggery Pleasant- 7/10.
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