Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Review: Surprise Me

I love Sophie Kinsella and have been reading her for years. Her 2017 release, My Not So Perfect Life was one of my favourites of last year (you can read my review here if you missed it). Because I adored it so much, I had really high expectations for Surprise Me, which was released last week. I don't know if it was my high expectations, my mood (it wasn't great when I was reading it), or the book itself but...I did not like this book. 

Here's the synopsis:
After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other's sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected "until death do us part" to mean seven decades.
In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.
Obviously I'm a big reader and I read quickly. Otherwise I wouldn't have a blog nor would I make it through almost 100 books every year. Surprise Me though? Took me over a week to get through because I just didn't feel like getting back to it. I wasn't invested. Not a good thing for the book but I persevered because it was Kinsella.

I think my big problem with the book was I was bored. The story got itself set up and then...boredom. It just seemed like the same sort of things were happening. Sylvie and Dan tried to surprise each other and it went totally wrong. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. There was nothing new being added and it seemed like it was, dare I say it, sloppy storytelling.

I was also really frustrated with Sylvie and Dan. It reminded me of how I'd get annoyed with Becky in the Shopaholic series (and why I stopped reading them awhile back). I love chick lit and contemporary stories so humourous and awkward scenarios are common. Maybe it's just me but it drives me up the wall when the character is just so incredibly clueless and can't see what she's doing is totally bonkers.

That's not to say I disliked Sylvie and Dan. I really did like them. I'd love to have Sylvie as a friend and Dan seemed fantastic. But I just couldn't see why I was reading about them. They were just another couple facing a little bump in the road of marriage.

I did finally get interested at about 80% of the way through the story. Finally things were actually happening and Sylvie was becoming the woman I was sure she could be. Did the interest I had in the last part of the book make up for the boredom during the rest of it? No, not really. I'm happy with the way the story ended, I can say that much.

I'm so bummed I didn't love Sophie Kinsella's new book but my dislike of Surprise Me won't dissuade me from reading her books in the future. Have you read Kinsella's latest? What'd you think? I'd love to hear that other people disagree with me!

*An advanced copy of this novel was provided by the publisher, Penguin Random House, via NetGalley. All opinions are honest and my own.*

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