Sophie Kinsella – The Undomestic Goddess

26Jun09


I’m not a chick-lit fan at all. The last time I read a book belonging to that genre, I was traumatized and vowed to steer clear of the genre at all costs. So, I surprised myself when I picked this up without someone holding a gun to my head. I needed a mindless book, which would just entertain me for a bit.

And that’s exactly what this book did. I haven’t read the much-talked about Shopaholic series, and I didn’t quite know what to expect with this bestseller.

Samantha Sweeting is a high-flying lawyer, working in one of the most reputable law firms in London. With no work-life balance to boast of, Samantha is focusing on her one and only goal: become a partner at Carter Spink. However, the day she’s informally told that she’s made partner, she also discovers that she’s made a mistake – a mistake that will cost one of Carter Spink’s clients £50,000,000. So, what does she do? Run out of the office, head to Paddington, and climb on the first train she sees, which takes her to a London suburb. Coincidentally, the house she knocks on, to get a drink of water, is expecting an interviewee for the position of their domestic help, and they mistake Samantha to be her. Samantha, in first person, says she has never failed an interview in her life, yet. She’s not about to start now.

She doesn’t have a clue about the basic domestic tasks: from cooking to ironing, from cleaning to laundering. However, she attempts to give it a go, and what ensues is total disaster: Putting the chickpeas in the oven to make hummus, taking the clothes out of the washing machine to discover they are all pink, and, ordering sandwiches from caterers just because she can’t slice bread. However, she finds help in the gardener, Nathaniel, and his mother, Iris. The latter offers to teach her the basics of household work, and typically, Samantha being a fast learner, is cooking gourmet meals in a couple of weeks. There’s a love story (duh!), where Samantha has a crush on Nathaniel, and he’s interested in her as well… (and they live happily ever after – no surprises there, I guess?)

The book’s an easy read, and does what it says on the tin (or the cover, in this case). It’s unrealistic in a number of ways, like, would a high-powered successful lawyer really make a break for it over one mistake, or try and resolve it and keep her job? There’s no room for mistakes, but is absconding really the answer? To make it even more unrealistic, becoming the house-help to pretentious socialites? Then, I’ll concede that slicing bread is a tough job, but, can someone, as intelligent as Samantha is made out to be, really not figure out how to use the oven, or the washing machine? What about ironing – it’s kind-of obvious what needs to be done, even if you’ve never done it?*

Rating: 2.5

*I’ve never ironed a single item until I started working three years ago. I had one catastrophe, where I ruined a shirt, but, other than that, nothing!

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2 Responses to “Sophie Kinsella – The Undomestic Goddess”

  1. 1 Megan

    Hmm… I have this one in my TBR stack right now and haven’t gotten around to it yet. I actually do love well-written chick lit, but I’m wondering now if this one is just a little too silly for me? I might pass this one along instead! :)

    • 2 uncertainprinciples

      I reckon you should get another couple of opinions before passing it along. I don’t normally read chick-lit, and I’m never sure what to expect. I don’t know whether I’ve been harsh or fair, so…

      It is kind-of silly, and unbelievable. Maybe that’s what makes it ‘good’ in the eyes of some of the readers? But… ask yourself this: You’re being paid a six figure salary. Would you ever run away and clean loos instead?


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