First off, I have to admit that I've never read any books in Sophie Kinsella's bestselling Shopaholic series. So I dove into REMEMBER ME? with a completely fresh and somewhat curious attitude. Would it live up to the popular hype of that series? I must report, much to my surprise, that I couldn't put it down. It's fun, funny and told in a Bridget Jones-esque slang that, I suppose, Kinsella has polished to a brilliant sheen and made very much her own. I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this novel.
REMEMBER ME? concerns Lexi Smart, who, when we first meet her, is 25, working at a carpet retailer, having trouble with guys like Loser Dave (that should give you a heads-up on her romantic prospects), going to dingy clubs with her mates and getting wasted for lack of anything else to do. After a car accident, Lexi wakes up to find herself 28 and fabulous. She is the director of the sales department at her previously dead-end job, is gorgeous (even her British smile has been evened out and whitened, to what would be a considerable expense), has a Louis Vuitton purse with marching wallet (again, big expense) --- and she’s thin!
Imagine waking up to a new and improved you and not having any idea how you got there. Then add in a super-rich and dashing husband you don't remember marrying, and secrets and schemes that show up the dark side of your seemingly perfect existence, and you have the basic makings of a really fun and fast read.
Kinsella's eye for detail wavers a bit thin, depending on the readers' knowledge of top posh brands to drive home her points about living large in the big city. However, it is her ability to weave little secrets into the plot line, enlivening it when you've gotten sick of the crass commercialism that Lexi is so inundated with, that makes REMEMBER ME? such a memorable novel. It’s the perfect book to be turned into a film. I can imagine Ben Chaplin as the handsome but businesslike Eric, the husband she didn't know she had; Colin Firth as the dashing architect who unleashes a new worldview on Lexi; and perhaps the delightful Emily Mortimer or hilarious Emily Blunt as the Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole Lexi, trying to figure it all out.
Lexi's journey is a rollercoaster ride of revealed secrets and behind-the-scenes intrigue, and Kinsella aptly describes Lexi's problems with her memory with interesting details that help the reader stay in touch with Lexi's emotional turmoil. The British slang, for you Anglophiles out there, is deliriously funny, and the supporting characters --- from Lexi's punk princess sister to her outdated mum and even her rake of a dad (seen only via videotape taken before he died three years earlier) --- fill in the missing pieces of Lexi's true self very nicely.
Kinsella clearly has another hit on her hands with REMEMBER ME? And now I'm off to find myself some Shopaholic titles before the film version comes out. I hope I like that series as much as I enjoyed this book!
Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on February 26, 2008