Review: The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Title: The Undomestic Goddess
Author: Sophie Kinsella
First Published: October 2007
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Source: Personal Copy
404 pages




Summary
Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.

Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer–and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.

But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?


Sophie Kinsella is my favorite chick-lit author. I enjoy her books a lot for their fun factor. And after reading a lot of serious but rewarding books latelt, I needed to laugh while still enjoying the experience. Really laugh, as in rolling-on-the-floor laughing!

My opinion
I received this book as a Secret Santa gift from a member in a Goodreads group. Before this, I had already read 3 books by Sophie Kinsella - Twenties Girl, Confessions of a Shopaholic, and Remember Me?, - enjoying all three greatly. This one was no different in recipe.

The humor in The Undomestic Goddess was quite tickling. Not always, but mostly. It started with Samantha sitting in a spa, to use a gift voucher that she got on her birthday the previous year. She is a highly busy lawyer, with a non-existent social life, hoping to become the youngest partner in her firm. There, we get a rib-tickling insight into her stressed life and obsessive preoccupation with her work. Her work is scheduled at 6 minute-phases. Her daily routine would look like this:

11:00-11.06 drafted contract for Project A
11.06-11.12 amended documentation for Client B
11.12-11.18 consulted on point for Agreement C


One day, when she makes a costly error, of the value of 50 million pounds, she loses her job and almost in a trance, gets herself employed as a housekeeper. Samantha Sweeting - who couldn't cook to even save her life, or even take care of her own apartment - was suddenly in charge of looking after a mansion and its two owners. What follows is a hilarious account of her transformation!

I liked Samantha Sweeting the best of the Sophie Kinsella heroines so far, because for a change, here is a woman who is not obsessed with make-up or clothes and shoes, or any of the things that fascinate most women in fluff chick-lit books. While I wish she had some "me" time, she was still a smart woman who got things done. Even when she tries to resign from the housekeeper job, she does it so diplomatically that the owners offer her a raise. When she is in a soup, it is a treat to see her worm herself out smartly. In short, an intelligent woman. Initially, she even tried applying her principles from her job to housekeeping, starting with a schedule.

9:30-9.36 Make Geiger's bed
9.36-9.42 Take laundry out of machine and put in dryer
9.42-10.00 Clean bathrooms

Needless to say, the result is hilarious!

As with other Sophie Kinsella reads, this one is also predictable, and that's about the only thing I have to complain about. Although this is supposed to be a HEA book, I would have loved some more unpredictability thrown into the ending. In a real world, I find what Samantha did in the ending to be extreme. But then most of the Sophie Kinsella books have heroines who probably wouldn't exist in the real world, such as Lara Lington of Twenties Girl, who could talk to the ghost of her great aunt, Rebecca Bloomwood of Confessions of a Shopaholic, who is very deep in debt and still can't put a stop to her buying behavior, Lexi Smart, of Remember Me?, who has forgotten three years of her life and is now the complete opposite of how she was three years ago.

If you are looking for a light yet sensible read, you would enjoy this book. This isn't high literature stuff, but heck, we all need our laughs, right?

Title Demystified
Samantha Sweeting is the undomestic goddess, who doesn't know to cook, to use the washer or the dryer, or to clean or dust a house. She doesn't know the difference between various spices and herbs and her conversations with the gardener, from whom she gets the vegetables are quite hilarious!

Cover Art Demystified
Sophie Kinsella's books have quite charming covers. This one shows a typical work-woman's bag, the kind that Samantha would own. In the prominent place is a mobile phone!

What did you think?
Have you read this book? I'd like to know what you thought about it. Please leave your review link in the comments, or a brief opinion, if you hadn't reviewed it.

11 comments:

Wings said...

i love Sophie Kinsella and i absolutely adore her books! i love finding new ones from her!!!

im about to read can you keep a secret, and it looks like this one will be next on my list :D

great review!!

Kat said...

Great review!
I read this book a while ago. I thought it was fun and I really enjoyed it.

Life After Jane said...

I've read this one and really liked it. Her books are always light and fun.

bermudaonion said...

It's been a while since I read this one, but I did enjoy it!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I haven't read anything by this author yet. I need to though. Great review!

Lina said...

Kinsella almost always gets me ROTFL with her characters. I haven't read this one yet though. Great review!

Sherry said...

I read it several years ago and enjoyed it more than the Shopaholic series, but I struggled with the reality part as well.

raidergirl3 said...

Can't go wrong with Kinsella. I liked her Twenties Girl better than this one, but she writes great fun books.

Nadia said...

Great review, Aths! I love Kinsella - her books are so much fun to read. This was one of my favorite ones by her. I love the Shopaholic series and truly enjoyed Twenties Girl. I heard she has a new Shopaholic book coming out soon and I am absolutely dying to read it! So cool that we have another great author in common! Cheers!

Literary Feline said...

I haven't had the chance to read this one yet, but I do want to. I don't read a lot in the way of Chicklit, but I did enjoy Kinsella's Shopaholic series. At least the books I've read so far in it. I am glad to hear this one is good!

Aths said...

Wings, Can you keep a secret is my next one too! I can't wait to read it. :)

Kat, thanks. :)

Life After Jane, so true! They are uplifting books in a rib-tickling way!

Kathy, glad that you enjoyed this too!

Juju, you should! From your reviews, I would say that this is right up your alley!

Lina, ROTFL is right! I just laugh so loudly when I read her books!

Emidy, you should read this, I'm sure you'll enjoy Kinsella!

Sherry, I enjoyed this more than the Shopaholic book too, but I do wish the books were more realistic, then we could probably look up to them for inspiration.

raidergirl3, I loved Twenties Girl! That's my favorite Kinsella! :)

Nadia, I did hear about the Minishopaholic book too, and I can't wait to grab it too. :)

Literary Feline, you would love her other books if you enjoyed her Shopaholic books. I've enjoyed her other books more, Twenties Girl most of all.