Thursday 30 June 2011

Review: Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

I really can't say that I enjoyed this book. As I mentioned in my previous post about Remember Me?, there is not a lead character in a novel by Sophie Kinsella that hasn't sounded unavoidably similar to lead characters in her other titles (that I've read so far). I'm no writer myself, but to me this presents itself as a pitfall of choosing to write multiple books in first-person narrative. If an author decides to write in this style, they have to be super careful not to, whether purposely or accidentally, make one character sound overly similar to a character in another book. This is why I think Sophie Kinsella has failed here.

I've read a number of her books - the Shopaholic series, Twenties Girl and now Remember Me?. Becky from the Shopaholic series is the exception (she has to sound the same in all 6 books because she's the same girl), the rest however need to sound completely different. But they don't. They all express themselves in the same way. Sophie Kinsella even follows the exact same blantant formula with each storyline; again I appreciate that the Shopaholic books can and need to sound similar, but do Twenties Girl and Remember Me? need to as well? It's basically this: all of them have families with some notably eccentric members, troublesome love lives and are career focused, and the story leads them through turbulance that eventually, by the end of the book, gets solved by some cunning plan and the girl ends up with the right guy.

While I appreciate that it's difficult to come up with new material sometimes, I really believe that if a writer is so adamant on not altering their style, they should write their books in third-person narrative. Then, the source of the character is solely their own voice, and they don't need to worry about making each book sound different because they are the sole storyteller. Am I making any sense?

Anyway, overall I was dissapointed. Lexi is this girl who gets into a car crash, bangs her head and loses 3 years of her memory. She wakes up and doesn't recognise her life at all - everything is different in this 'future world'. So we follow her as she tries to solve what happened to herself during these lost years that made her so different and unrecognisable. I think if this was your first Sophie Kinsella book, or if you don't mind reading about similar characters, you would enjoy this book more than I did. But if this isn't and you don't, you are going to probably find it pretty monotonous. While the plot is somewhat creative, it is a very predictable story.

I'd really like to know your thoughts. Have you read an author who, like Sophie Kinsella, doesn't distinguish different characters or storylines? How do you feel about the use of first-person narrative in novels?


Anonymous said...

I agree. If an author is writing different books then the characters should have their own personality and not sound like everything else she's written.

First person isn't my favorite method of narration, but there are some books I love that have it as the mode of storytelling.

I may just stick with the Shopaholic books for now. Thank you for the review!

Sophie said...

No worries! The Shopaholic books are definitely her best - everything else she writes seems like an imitation.

Unknown said...

I like first person narration. I'll have to try one of her books. I am a GFC follower and would love a follow to my blog when you have a moment. I am also having a give away. Hope you enter! Donna

Candace said...

I've only read her Shopaholic books but I can see where your coming from, her characters in other books need to be different. I do usually prefer first person narration, but if it's keeping the author from finding a new voice then maybe it needs to change.
Found you from your email from Book Blogs. I tried to follow but GFC is down or something. I'll give it a moment and try again.

Sophie said...

Donna, I've left you a message over at your blog. :-))

Candace, thank you so much for coming over! I'm now following your blog, too. :-))

Let's hope that Sophie Kinsella improves her style in her next novel. I want to love all of her work, but I just can't if they're all so similar. I still have The Undomestic Goddess and Can You Keep A Secret to read, though... perhaps they'll be the exception to this post? We shall see.

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