Can you Keep a Secret?


After the somewhat heavy going of The Given Day, I was in the mood for some light n easy reading. With this in mind, in my next trip to Eloor Library, I picked up Can you Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella. I have read and enjoyed Sophie Kinsella’s shopaholic series of books, but I had mixed opinions about her other books.

Reading this book did not change my opinion that Sophie Kinsella is essentially a one-trick pony, reworking her characters and situational comedies over multiple books. Nothing too wrong with this approach – great writers like Agatha Christie and P.G.Wodehouse have done this to a fine art.

The story takes place in London. The heroine Emma Corrigan works for a cola company called Panther Corporation. When she flies back from a bad meeting, she blurts out all her most embarrassing secrets to the stranger sitting next to her thinking the aeroplane that is bouncing around because of turbulence is going to crash. Surprise! the next day, she finds out that the stranger is the CEO of Panther Corporation; and he remembers her and all her secrets. The rest of the story deals with their romance, and how they get together in the end.

You may think that I have hardly provided any details here, but I could find very little of note to mention. There are the usual misunderstandings from both parties before it all resolves itself into a happy ending.

I can’t say that I did not enjoy this book. I was interested enough to read it within a couple of days. However, I also found the book to be a little too Cinderella-esque for my taste. I mean, really, an affair between a CEO of a company, and one of the most junior-most employees? I mean, how much more fairy-tale can you get?

I also found that it would have helped if Emma had done a little bit more growing-up during the course of this book. The book starts off with a list of secrets that she keeps and ends with a list of secrets. I was not too impressed by that.

I guess I am also getting very tired of the write-by-numbers style of chick-lit fiction that is available these days. After the ginormous success of the Bridget Jones series, almost every other chick-lit book seems to have the same formula. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bridget Jones, just cannot stand her various clones floating around through countless novels.

Most chick-lit books now seem to have the same standard formula, which I have attempted to outline below:

  • Blond, flaky British heroine living in London working in a boring office, with a manager who hassles her, and colleagues who boss over her.

    One question: Is it common practice for managers in British companies to use four-letter words in the workplace? I thought people could get fired for that!

  • A hero who is slightly aloof. The heroine manages to catch his attention by doing something goofy or kind; manages to embarrass herself thoroughly, and the hero comes to her rescue. Repeat this scenario as many times as required through the course of the novel.
  • The obligatory other man/other woman. The other man is usually a dolt who creates a messy scene for the girl in front of the hero. The other woman is usually extremely beautiful and catty, and is all out after the hero.

    Note: Can you Keep a Secret? slightly divulges from this formula. There is no gorgeous woman throwing herself at the hero, but I also kept getting a vague suspicion that he might be gay. Gasp!

  • Series of misunderstandings that threaten to derail a relationship.
  • Interfering / helpful friends and roommates who play a part in getting the two lovers together.
  • THE END!

I guess what I am trying to say through this rambling, wordy review is that I think I am over chick-lit books. Unless, some kind commentator can recommend something that is a little different from the above formula, but still light n enjoyable!

So, please send in the recommendations! Am waiting with bated breath 😀

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  • Only after reading several books by Sophie Kinsella did I realise a pattern in the stories: optimistic but unrealistic British girls meeting good-looking, successful American guys! But I’m also eager to read more chick lit books and compare them with your list above. I’ve yet to read Bridget Jones but I bet that that book was the model of the chick lit books that were written after that. Is it?

  • Hmm ok. I was about to invite you for the book giveaway of ‘Mini Shopaholic’ but then I found this review. To be honest, yes, Sophie Kinsella’s plots are repetitive, follow a graph; but I did end up reading all books in her series. I call it mindless reading, sometimes a stressbuster!

  • RITU

    IT WAS REALLY NICE!!!!!!!!!

    • Do you mean the book or the review LOL 😀

  • RITU

    IT WAS NICE THAN I THOUGHT WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Have you read any of Marian Keyes stuff? I adore her. I don’t normally indulge in chick lit myself, but I like Sushi for beginners in particular. Hey! I just realized someone already mentioned her. Well, read some of her stuff and let me know what you think!

  • Hello there,
    Cool site, I just found it and I am already a fan.

  • I liked the observations you’ve outlined.. I think I have seen just this in some of my recent light reading books… not even worth a review, I would say.

    • The book is not that bad, it is fairly well-written and genuinely funny in places. It’s just the staleness of the genre that gets to me a lot of the times

  • This was my very first Kinsella book, and I enjoyed it a lot, probably because it was my first 🙂
    Have you read anything by Marian Keyes? They’re chick lit, but have a bit more depth than some of the other books in the genre.

    • Yes, it could be that I was a bit tired of the formula because I have read all the other Kinsella books.

      And you are right about Marian Keyes, I have read most of her books, and I love them all 🙂 . Just wish there were more books by her…

  • Reminds me of my teenage (youth?) when I really loved such books!! These days I refrain from reading such fairytales. I guess age does shatter illusions that you keep nursing in your childhood/youth.. 🙁

    • Wow! you are fast to comment 🙂 I just finished publishing it 🙂

      Yes, I think the problem is I used to love such books when I was younger, but now even though I still like romance, my standards are a lot higher

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