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Arts in Review

Book Review: I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

Much like I’ve Got Your Number’s predecessors, such as the Shopaholic series and Undomestic Goddess, this novel follows the same girl-meets-boy formula, but does so in a way that is entertaining instead of exhausting.

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By Amy Van Veen (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: September 26, 2012

Author Sophie Kinsella has managed to bring about yet another loveable heroine in her latest novel I’ve Got Your Number. Much like this novel’s predecessors, such as the Shopaholic series and Undomestic Goddess, this novel follows the same girl-meets-boy formula, but does so in a way that is entertaining instead of exhausting.

Kinsella’s tales tend to focus on the quirky misadventures of heroines who still need to figure themselves out, but she does so with a degree of humour that sets her apart from the dozens of other pink-hued novels on the bookshelf. She’s not a romance author, like Danielle Steele or Nora Roberts, but she also doesn’t quite line up with the novels of her contemporaries like Marian Keyes or Emily Giffin. Her stories may not, at first, seem overly complex, but the humour and familiarity she puts into her heroines make her novels more tangible than those of Keyes or Giffin whose characters often become the friend you like to hate rather than the friend you love to laugh with.

Kinsella’s previous novels—not including the ones she wrote under the name Madeleine Wickham—are not great works of fiction that will forever act as a mirror on the face of society, but they are works that give the reader a break and a chance to, for lack of a better expression, laugh out loud. Also, for those readers who also love their fair share of romantic comedies, reading one of Kinsella’s books makes those predictable yet adorable love stories last over a couple of days instead of the regular ninety minutes in rom-com world.

The main character in her latest novel I’ve Got Your Number is Poppy Wyatt, a physiotherapist who has landed the dream man with a dream heirloom ring. His highly intellectual family, however, doesn’t seem to think she’s up to snuff. After she loses her incredibly expensive—and presumably incredibly sentimental—engagement ring as well as her phone, she throws caution to the wind and steals an abandoned cell phone from a garbage can. Of course that phone belongs to a man who, through a series of humorous and often mortifying misunderstandings, ends up being the guy for her. Spoiler alert on that last sentence – although it was kind of obvious.

Kinsella’s formula of Bridget Jones-esque humiliation may seem overdone, but—just like the rom-com film industry—her novels keep selling. When the plot is explained, it seems ridiculous and not worth a second glance, but it’s not the complexities of the plot that keep readers going back to Kinsella, it’s her characters. The formatting for this novel is a little different since the “dialogue” Poppy has with Sam—the man on the other end of her borrowed phone—is all via text. This kind of writing may appear to be lacking in what some would consider literary integrity, but there’s something more to her writing than just plot and sentence structure. The characters she creates give readers the permission to see the humour in their own flaws and to live out humiliating circumstances that could potentially happen to today’s average girl.

What if, for example, you thought your fiancé gave you a silk chemise only to realize—after you put it on under your outfit—that gift was from your future father-in-law and meant for your future mother-in-law? Or what would you do if you needed a phone and you happened to take the discarded phone of a businessman’s assistant? Well, okay, for that one I would probably just buy a new phone at the store, but that’s where the need for suspension of disbelief becomes necessary in order to enjoy the ride.

Sophie Kinsella’s latest novel may not move mountains, but I’ve Got Your Number does turn a dull afternoon of channel surfing into an enjoyable escapist reading session.

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