Becky’s Eighty-First Book Review: “Can You Keep a Secret” by Sophie Kinsella

I like to read a wide variety of books from classic literature to horror stories to memoirs, but one of my favorite indulgences is reading chic-lit. Sophie Kinsella is one of my favorite authors; I’ve already reviewed a few of her books on my blog. She writes the kinds of books that are silly but they still feel substantial in a way. Also I find it very easy to relate to her characters (especially the ones with whom I share a name). I recently finished reading “Can You Keep a Secret” by Sophie Kinsella. Once again, I’m writing a review on a book that I have read before, but since I didn’t write a review the last time I read it I thought why not?

“Can You Keep a Secret” is a stand-alone novel about a woman blabbing it all to a complete stranger when she thinks she is about to die. The main character in this book is Emma Corrigan and she is on a business trip—her first business trip—when this happens. The flight happens after Emma has a very discouraging meeting. On her way to the flight she quotes Julie Andrews, “It’s just like Julie Andrews said. When the dog bites, when the bee stings…I simply remember I have a boyfriend—and suddenly things don’t seem quite so completely shit. Or however she put it.” (Can You Keep a Secret, pg 12). Awesome quote, that is exactly how Julie Andrews put it.

During the flight they experience some turbulence and Emma purges all of her secrets to a complete stranger from how she feels about her boyfriend to where she lost her virginity to the fact that she finds g-strings uncomfortable. I personally am not a big fan of flying so I was able to relate to her mounting panic as the plane continued to endure mounting turbulence. “’I don’t think we’re going to die,’ he says. ‘They said it was just turbulence—‘ ‘Of course they did!” I can hear the hysteria in my voice. ‘They wouldn’t exactly say, ‘Ok, folks, that’s it—you’re all goners!’” (Can You Keep a Secret, pg 23). I laughed out loud when I read that. Partly because it was just funny and partly because I can just hear myself saying the same thing. Either way, the whole book is full of hilarious moments such as these. A few days after the flight Emma discovers that the stranger whom she blabbed all of her secrets to isn’t a stranger at all but the owner of the company that she works for. So instead of having this guy ‘disappear into the ether’ Emma is forced to deal with him.

Emma’s mounting panic about the consequences she is sure she will have to face is hilarious. Her mind keeps running through all the secrets that she rained on this stranger including the fact that she lied on her CV and that she and a friend at work have a code for playing hooky. Emma tries to hide behind a calm exterior even though internally she is struggling to act normal. The whole situation is absurd and I love how Sophie Kinsella describes Emma’s thoughts. “I’m trying to look as natural as possible. But God, this is like being on telly or something. My legs aren’t working properly and my smile is pasted onto my face and I have a horrible conviction I might suddenly shout “Pants!” or something.” (Can You Keep a Secret, pg 89). This made me laugh so hard because I know exactly what she is talking about. There are some times when I’m in a serious situation and my mind just wants to burst out with the most random word and crack up. I have no idea why my brain does this, but I am glad to know that I’m not the only one it happens to.

Would I recommend this novel? Well, there really is no depth to this novel, but that isn’t the point. It is a fun read and it makes me smile. The only downside to reading Sophie Kinsella novels is that they are usually done so quickly because you can’t help but devour them. I believe that most women would enjoy reading any of Sophie Kinsella’s works but they might be a bit difficult for guys to relate to. Either way, I know I am excited for April 23—the release date of “Wedding Night” which is Sophie Kinsella’s most recent novel. 

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