Saturday, April 5, 2008


OK, I admit it. Sophie Kinsella is not intellectual, not highbrow, definitely not LITERATURE (unless you are doing a course in Popular Fiction). If literature is food for the soul (twisting Shakespeare's quote on music), then Kinsella is very definitely junkfood. But she definitely packs in that carbs-kick, the cola-fizz. She is very popular (read: bestseller lists), and she is very, very fictional (read: fantastic rom-coms).
She is also my secret guilty pleasure. I am completely addicted to her books, and have read (and re-read and bought) all her books. I have just finished (in a feverishly-page-turning rush) reading her latest joyride, REMEMBER ME?. I love her SHOPAHOLIC series-heroine Becky Bloomwood (whose head is completely turned by the brand-vanity-fair and who is a credit-card junkie but whose heart is always in the right place), Emma Corrigan (whose life is a book opened by her own big mouth) in CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET?, and Samantha Sweeting, the 148-IQ-lawyer who chucks her high-flying job to end up in the arms of her constant gardener and becomes THE UNDOMESTIC GODDESS.
Kinsella's books are cheeky/cheesy chicklit at their fluffiest . The heroines are all Bridget Jones-type not-too-bright everywomen, with workplace-woes, mother/sibling-issues, gang of galpals, and a loser boyfriend (REMEMBER ME's Lexi Smart actually has a boyfriend called Loser Dave), who they ditch (or vice-versa) only to land up in the arms of dishy, perfectly-imperfect (and rich) dreamboats. In the course of the roller-coaster narrative, after teetering on the edge of professional disaster (and often falling into workplace humiliation), they also manage to land up with interesting careers where they really shine. Very 21st century fairy-tale-ish. Very improbable-in-real-life. Very, very rapidly readable-irresistable.
Like all chicklit heroines, Kinsella's women remind us of ourselves. They often get the wrong end of the stick, they bitch about their nasty bosses, they slack off at work, they indulge in retail therapy, they have having-it-all-in-technicolour dreams... don't we all? In Kinsella, these dreams come true. Of course, it is all gimmicky and cliched and trite. But it's FUN.
I am completely hooked to this down-downer-downest-up-uppest love//career journey. So, why did I say "GUILTY pleasure"? Because as a college-teacher/Eng. Lit. student, I am expected to be on a strict classics-and-highbrow-stuff-only diet. And although I like to stimulate my brain with 'the right kind of books', I can't help sneaking in for no-brainer treats from the Kinsella-candy store.
To atone for my lapse of taste, I think I should write a suitably-incomprehensible 'paper' critiquing Kinsella. Like how her overt consumerism is a multi-level marketing strategy (from blatant brand-dropping within the text to the air-brushed author- photo on the inside cover). Like how her heroines commoditise intangible values (they trade their goodheartedness in the job/marriage market to earn tangible rewards). Like how the Cinderella-discourses parallel Kinsella's own metamorphosis from financial journalist-nonentity to bestselling author-celebrity (the know-the-author blurb on the book jacket is the ultimate chicklit fantasy-come-true). Like how all this critical-hyphenated hypertext is a load of bull.
Read Kinsella with a warning: "Keep Your Brains Behind". And then enjoy the ride. Read for yourself (if you haven't already) and tell me how you find her.


Oberon said...

......yes....truth is beauty.

jyotsana said...

hi sucharita
thanx for the comments on my your latest post too.i am also new to blogging and there's so much i do not for yesterday i lost all my earlier 11 posts mysteriously and then they came back miraculously after 3 hours. no clues to that.
as for the pics, the place where u write or paste ur article displays a bar above which has links, fonts, colours etc. it has an icon for 'upload images' when u click that u come to 'browse' u click that, choose a picture from wherever uve savd ur pics on ur pc then come down click 'upload' wait for it 'done' and its there.....and yes ull find options like whether u want ur pic to b left right centre , medium large small . choose accordingly.