Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book Review: “Twenties Girl” by Sophie Kinsella

Confession: I love “chick lit.” It all started with “Bridget Jones’ Diary.” It really is what sparked my reading fiction again. I have always been a major book worm. This is actually a surprise because I had difficulty reading when I was in grade school. It was a very traumatic time for me. I remember bawling my eyes out when my parents told me that I was being moved to the “slow” reading group in third grade. It was the first time in my life that I had doubts about how smart I was. I’ve been sensitive ever since about my intelligence, feeling that everyone around me was smarter and knew something that I didn’t. Don’t worry though, I’ve (mostly) gotten over it and I don’t have much doubt about my intellect now.

Despite my struggles, I became the girl that would smuggle a book to the dinner table and read while I ate with my family. In high school I would use my free periods to go to the library and read. I stopped reading (except for text books) in college mostly because I didn’t have the time. After I graduated I would read the occasional fiction, some Maeve Binchy and Patricia Cornwell. Then I discovered “Bridget Jones’ Diary” along with everyone else, and rediscovered my love of reading. I am now always reading a book. In the past 10 years I have read a lot of books.

For a while, all I read was chick lit, anything with a pink or bright cover. Helen Fielding, Marion Keyes, Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner, and Anna Maxted are some of my favorite authors. I also got into the Harry Potter series, which I devoured.

A lot of people think that chick lit is frivolous. Some of it is. For the most part I’ve found them to be realistic character studies of women who are like me. They are fun and touching. However, I decided I should challenge myself by broadening my range. I’ve read lots of classics, including most of Jane Austen’s novels (I only have one more left to go). I’ve read “David Copperfield,” “Vanity Fair,” “Wuthering Heights,” “Jane Eyre” (one of my favorites, pictured), “Rebecca,” “A Room with a View,” and “O Pioneers,” to name a few. I’ve also read more highly-lauded current fiction like “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” “The Thirteenth Tale,” “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” and “The Lovely Bones.”

Inspired by “The Thirteenth Tale,” I’ve really been into more gothic tales. Recently I’ve read “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova, “The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morton and “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” by Katherine Howe. There’s a lot more I’ve read, but I won’t bore you with an even longer list. I highly recommend any of the above books!

Sophie Kinsella is the author of the “Confessions of a Shopaholic” series. I’ve only read the first few books of the series because after a while the main character really started to get on my nerves. She was just so dumb and annoying. I have read Kinsella’s other non-shopaholic books and enjoyed them, so I was expecting to enjoy “Twenties Girl” and I did.

Lara is a struggling career girl (aren’t they all in chick-lits?) whose 105-year old great aunt Sadie has just died. Sadie appears as a ghost to Lara, and no-one else. She appears as a 1920’s girl, in the prime of her life. Together they try to figure out why Sadie is still there, who she was and her purpose in life. As a result, Lara also discovers a lot about herself. There is an intriguing mystery involving a dragonfly necklace and a little romance too. All in all, it is a fun, heartfelt, entertaining read.

While I don’t believe in ghosts now, I used to. It was exciting and scary to think that maybe there were ghosts out there, and some of that intrigue has stayed with me. “Twenties Girl” is a great book to read as an escape. I’ve been stressed out lately with work and the holidays and this book was just what I needed. The main character only annoyed me a couple of times with her stupidity (not unlike Becky of the Shopaholic series), but overall it was a great way for me to unwind each night before bed.

I give the book 3 stars. (on a scale where 1 star = ”Why did I bother reading this?” and 5 stars = “This is the best book ever!”) It was fun and enjoyable, with a little depth and a little silliness.


  1. I am a big (closet) Romance/Chic Lit fan. I will definitely have to order Twenties Girl from Amazon!

  2. I am also a chick lit fan. I am currently reading The Pilot's Wife (again) by Anita Shreve and it is a great book. I read Goosebumps and R.L. Stein Fearstreet books when I was in elementry and junior high school. I stopped reading until I was abut 19 years old. I discovered the little library on my Navy base I was stationed at and didn't know where to start. I recognized John Grisham and started there. I am also a big fan of Dean Koontz as well. I have read some of the Sophie Kinsella books too!

  3. I read the Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High series in elementary school (I think I must be older than you, Kelly, but I don't look it!). I read Dean R. Koonz (did he drop the "R"?) in high school, but I haven't really read anything of his since. I think his books were kind of science-fiction/horror? I remember really liking them.