Thursday, March 17, 2011

Remember Me?

Sophie Kinsella, who's also written as Madeline Wickham, is a pretty generic chick lit author.  I don't mean any disrespect; it's not easy to write a novel at all, let alone the many that Kinsella's managed to turn out over the last few years, but the fact is that none of Kinsella's books are particularly memorable, though all are competent.

Which is a good lead-in to Remember Me?, which is a moderately entertaining story of an average young woman who has a car crash and loses the memory of three years of her life - three years that happen to include her marriage, her promotion to an executive position at her company, and a full personal transformation from your generic haphazard funky twenty-something chick lit heroine to a generic driven ambitious beige-suit-wearing chick lit villain.  When she wakes up, she's her old self again, and the predictable hijinks ensue.  There are one or two less-predictable twists, but none of the characters stretch beyond two dimensions.

I didn't actually remember much about Remember Me? from my first reading, which is why I gave it a second run-through today before giving it a write-up.  At least I recalled a vague outline of the story, which is more than I can say for the other amnesia chick lit novel on my shelf, Caprice Crane's Forget About It.  I'd write a few words about that one, too, since it's so on-topic, but honestly, I took the author's advice.  I think the girl in that one fakes amnesia and then gets real amnesia, oh-so-ironically, a few pages on, but don't quote me on that.

My biggest problem with Remember Me?, aside from its plot reaching 80s soap opera levels of originality, is its length.  It's a respectable 389 pages, in my trade paperback edition, but those pages fly by fast - editors really need to stop thinking readers won't notice when they monkey around with the font sizes and spacing.  If I'm going to spend a few dollars escaping into a light and fluffy world in which acrylic nails and frosted cupcakes are important, then dammit, I want those nails and cupcakes to occupy me for at least two days of scattered reading time.  If I can get through two books in a day, those books had better cost less than five dollars together.

Remember Me? gets a respectable three stars within its genre, despite the fact that it's written in the present tense.  The half star I would have deducted for usage of the present tense is balanced out by the half star I've added to acknowledge the fact that Kinsella is a sufficiently skillful writer to use the present tense without making me want to beat her with a semicolon.

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