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Remember Me?

I'm once again inhabiting the world of blocked up noses, sinus headaches, and coughs and sneezes, and thus, easy reading is on the menu for me at the moment. Nothing requiring too much concentration, so one of the books on my library pile was just the thing: Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella.

Lexi's life is a bit of a shambles. She has a rubbish job, a rubbish boyfriend, name of 'Loser Dave', and an oddball family. She's out one night with her friends who are celebrating their bonuses - she didn't get one because you had to have been working a year for her company and she was a week short - and takes a really bad tumble while going for a taxi. She wakes up in hospital, bruised and battered, but things are not quite right. They tell her she was in a car crash when she knows she can't drive. She discovers she has expensive belongings, is in the private ward of the hospital and... horror of horrors... is married. Lexi, it appears, has lost 3 years of her life: she has amnesia.

Back at home with her husband, Eric, Lexi discovers she is wealthy. They live in a massive loft appartment and have very expensive tastes. To say she's bewildered is a gross understatement. Her next discovery is that rather than being an underling in her company, she is now the boss of her previous department, and worse... she was horrible, the boss from hell; her friends now hate her. But still, she has this marvellous new expensive lifestyle to compensate doesn't she? Her husband is good looking and attentive and clearly loves her? Well no, the reality is that he's a stranger now, one she doesn't love or even recognise any more. And then there's Jon, Eric's architect. Where does he fit into the equation? He's clearly suffering badly over Lexi's loss of memory. Somehow, Lexi has to rebuild her life, relearn all her work skills, get to know the people in her life again, find out who's lying to her and why and, most important, find out who she *really* is.

Let's get something straight - I'm not the world's biggest chick-lit fan. I do, however, love a bit of romance in my reading, so you'd think I'd be a big fan? No. The thing is, if I'm going to read a romance I want to be hit around the head with the emotions. I want to suffer with the characters, fall in love with the hero, hate him when there's some misunderstanding and the heroine is devastated and so on and so on. For some reason, chick-lit doesn't supply this for me; I find it insubstantial in the emotions department. Of course, I should add - rather sheepishly - that I'm no expert as I haven't really read loads of it; I perhaps ought to do a bit more research before I declare that I'm not really a fan...

Anyhow, all that said there's always an exception to the rule and for me that author is Sophie Kinsella. She's best known for her Shopoholic books of course and I like those well enough, but my favourite book of hers is a stand-alone, The Undomestic Goddess, or it was. Remember Me is now my favourite... I really, really enjoyed it. The plot accounts for a lot of that. It's an unusual situation and you suffer along with Lexi because you have no idea what's going on either. As the plot thickens, so to speak, and things get horribly complicated with her relationships and at work, it really is quite upsetting. No lack of emotion here... the pages whip by as you find you can't put the book down! Two nights in a row I've been up till 1.30am, despite a rotten cold, because I just couldn't stop reading. And now I've finished - the ending was very satifactory in every way - I feel quite bereft. Luckily, there's another of her stand-alones I haven't read and that's Can You Keep a Secret? Needless to say, I've just reserved it from the library.

This is book number 5 for my 'Support your local library' challenge.


Ah, you have read this now - oh good.

And you seem to have enjoyed it as much as I did.

I'm sitting here nodding in agreement with your review of it and of Sophie Kinsella being the 'exception to the rule' when it comes to chick-lit.

I would venture to suggest you'll enjoy Can You Keep A Secret as well.

I think one thing I really like about SK's 'heroines' is that in the stand-alones in particular she goes against 'current culture' and is afraid to say, 'look, you don't need a stressful job, a big car, a huge, posh, house, money galore, etc. etc. to be happy'. You can work as a housekeeper and still be happy. I like that, I really do. Because in so many books and 'life' in general it seems that we've gone beyond woman having a choice, being able to have a career, etc. to 'it being expected that all women want a high powered job, etc. etc. and if they don't aim for that they're letting the side down'.

SK seems to say to hell with that - this is what choice is about.

*Climbs carefully down from soap-box*
I really like the way SK thinks. It's clear, as you said, that her message is that you don't need a high powered career to be happy. Or a lot of expensive *stuff*. Poor Lexi is terrified to move in their luxury home! I thought it was particulary poignant when she broke the glass leopard and Eric gave her an invoice. Even I was stunned.

I'm so with you on the 'women having a choice' thing. It seems we've gone from having no choices to... having no choices! It's ridiculous. And you're right, women who've settled for no career or one that isn't high-powered are looked down on in certain sections of society. When Lexi lost her hig-powered abilities she became like 'nothing' to her colleagues. Shameful.

Another nice bit that I liked was when Jon told her exactly what he thought of her father. That touched such a chord with me because I hear the same from P and from my uncle about my own father. SK is right on the ball there because decent men do hold strong opinions like that about 'feckless' men who can't be replied upon.

I can't wait for the Can You Keep a Secret? to come in now. So looking forward to reading it.
I thought you'd be in agreement. And I too was utterly stunned over the invoice.

Indeed that is how it's gone - and what is sad is that I don't think the vast amount of women realise it. I've known women who want to be stay at home mums and it's viable financially told 'oh, you can't do that, you're letting the side down'. No one can tell me that's what Women's Lib was meant to be about. And as you say look how Lexie was treated.

*Hugs you* Yes, I can imagine that must have touched something.

I just hope you like it. The lead character is a tad younger, but it's again about so many expectations of what a woman/person *should* do. I'm glad I'm not a 20-something now.
I honestly think women have been brainwashed into thinking they 'must' work. Partly because if you don't you're either letting the side down, as you said, or you must be a bit stupid or something. It also seems to me that things we thought of as luxuries, ie: foreign holidays or new cars, are thought of now as 'must haves' and therefore in order for a family to afford them the wife *must* work. There seems to be no consideration of the idea that you can live quite happily without these things, until the children have left home perhaps, and things are a bit easier. *climbs down off soapbox*

Thank you for the hug. That really did hit me when Jon said that. I'd wondered if it was just the men in my family felt that way but it seems not. In fact it's probably a more widespread feeling amongst most men than I realise.

Reading the synopsis (the heroine opens her heart on a plane to an American stranger, who turns out to be the new boss) it sounds brilliant. No worries that I won't like it...
Exactly! That says it perfectly. And yes, you're perfectly correct about the luxuries - but then so many people don't see them as that anymore, but as 'essentials'. And I find it somewhat bizarre that a woman who doesn't have to go out to work and maybe deep down doesn't want to, goes out to work and pays someone else to look after her child. Childcare - as you know - isn't cheap. If you have a child surely you want to raise that child? What's interesting is that up here, certainly in our hamlet and the village beyond there are quite a lot of stay at home mums.

That really must have hit you. *Hugs some more*

Ah, yes . . . And some of the things she tells him . . .