28 February 2020

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

I wanted to give this a try because I really, really love the Shopaholic series and hadn't read anything else by Kinsella. I found it at the thrift store and it's her newest fiction book. I was prepared for it to be a cheesy chick-lit novel but either I've really matured in my taste or I didn't realize how vapid chick-lit could be. In either case, this was not great. 

The plot of this book follows a woman named Fixie who runs their family's home store (it seemed sort of Home Hardware-esque based on the description). After her father's death Fixie's mom goes to spend the summer in the Mediterranean with her aunt, leaving Fixie and her two siblings to run the shop. Immediately her stuck-up brother and dumb-as-rocks sister begin trying to overhaul the store's philosophy. The brother wants to sell high-end products and the sister wants to host yoga classes, etc. Fixie also has to deal with heartbreak and a new love interest along the way, blah blah. 

The thing I loved most about the Shopaholic series was its humour. I love English writers for this reason and similarly to say, Bridgit Jones, Becky Bloomwood from the Shopaholic books is such a funny, likeable character- all things Fixie is absolutely not. I was disappointed to find MAYBE two bits of humour throughout this novel. I don't think my tastes have changed that much, I think it was just not a funny book.

Sophie Kinsella

There were two plot lines that I enjoyed in the book. The first was around Fixie's lifelong crush Ryan coming back into town and manipulating her into helping him get a job and cooking him endless meals. Fixie keeps making excuses for him not being a great boyfriend- he's tired, getting adjusted, embarrassed of where he's at in life, etc. One day he just up and takes off and she's devastated but then realizes what a chump she had been to let him crawl back and take advantage of her again. Even though I didn't like Fixie much as a character, I think this is a relatable scenario that I've found myself in at least once or twice. It's sometimes not obvious when you're in it, but when you're reading about it boy is it pathetic looking. 

The second plot line I liked was Fixie's siblings trying to make all of these major changes to the family business while their mom was on vacation. Fixie was so stressed because neither her brother nor sister really knew how the business even worked yet they thought they had all these great improvements for it. Frankly, I was really stressed too. I mostly hate compromise and I especially hate having to do it with someone who a) doesn't share my vision and b) has equal leadership authority (I'm super fun to be married to). The drama around the store was definitely where I was most invested in the book and it kept me eager to keep reading for a resolution. 

Overall if you're looking for a good chick-lit novel I'm confident there are 100s better than this. I found it pretty boring and lacking humour but I am going to give Kinsella's writing another try because again, the Shopaholic series is SO good.

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