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?
I do love a cheeky Kinsella book every now and then to keep things light-hearted, and I thought I'd treat myself to The Undomestic Goddess after revising for my exam. While I have very much enjoyed her previous books, this one isn't one of my favourites that she's written (and I'm not saying I dislike it, I still did enjoy it!)
It obviously was your typical chick lit book with its standard formula - a kind of clumsy girl gets herself in incredible situations, but everyone around her is equally as eccentric as her, so everything just falls into place. Also, she gets the guy at the last minute. No surprise, really, that this one was the same. Still, a few things did bother me about it, unlike most of the previous Sophie Kinsella books I've read.
- Warning - bit of a rant and some spoilers ahead -
1. We'll start with Samantha Sweeting, the protagonist. While I still found her hilarious and fun to read about, I just found her a bit of a handful at the same time. Samanatha graduated from Oxford or Cambridge with a law degree. After graduating, she got a job at a law firm and works every hour God gives for 7 years and yet... she cannot lie or even string a sentence together. At all. Every single conversation and situation she was in, she just made everything worse by just talking and being herself. Surely being a lawyer gives you the ability to lie and at least speak professionally and normally. Samantha was just too much of a nitwit to really act the way a lawyer should act. When other characters found out that she was a one, they reacted similarly: 'YOU? A LAWYER?'. I know. How is she a lawyer? Her clumsy quirkiness was just too over the top for my liking and it made it all feel too unrealistic.
Not just that, either but she can't cook anything. And I'm saying this from a crap cook's perspective (I actually cannot cook at all!) but she can literally only make tea and toast. No joke, that's it. She can't even distinguish between any utensils in the kitchen or anything. How did she survive living on her own for years as a lawyer? What did she eat? It was too much. Even I can make some things. She even put bread and jam and eggs in the microwave?
I will admit, on the side of realism, I do know someone in real life with a law degree who isn't the brightest, and who cannot seem to get anything right, but Ms Sweeting was just too over the top, even for that.
I also found the part about her running away from her job a tad silly. She's been there for 7 years, she overlooks something, and they try to sack her. But even before they sack her, Samantha just assumes that she lost her job and her first instinct? RUN AWAY. Why do that? She worked hard for that job. Presumably she could have at least talked to her superiors and explained - maybe offered to right the wrong. Running away would not help matters in that position one bit. But she does it anyway.
2. The romance. I'm usually quite lenient with romance in books, especially with chick lit. Cheese is usually to be expected. In this case, though, the way Samantha got together with her partner was just random. She had had no interest in Nathaniel, the guy she wound up with, until he took his top off? Then all of a sudden 'OMG I LOVE HIM'. Wait, what? And even this love interest was just... okay. There wasn't really much to him. He didn't stand out for me. He was just a tad judgmental and plain. Also, Samantha just randomly went outside to see him and they just start having sex in the garden and suddenly they're a couple. They had one date and suddenly they're meant to be true love.
3. Convenience. I know, I know, it's a chick lit book. What do I expect? Well, at least for it to be a tad realistic. It was just all so damn convenient. Samantha was hired on the spot at her new job, after lying about her experience, and after showing up drunk. I'm sure it would be fairly obvious to tell if someone shows up liquored up for a job interview. Then these same people who hired her are fussing over her the day after (while Samantha is hungover), and they all completely miss her inability to do anything at all. In fact, they praise her although she is a complete disaster at even cutting bread and making sandwiches (HOW IS SHE EVEN ALIVE?) - which she is tasked to do. And when she orders them via delivery service, everyone conveniently misses the packaging which clearly indicates it. (I also wondered this when watching Mrs. Doubtfire.)
4. Decisions and drama. Okay, near the end of this book, Samantha makes some really stupid decisions. She makes a decision, settles on it, then changes her mind. And again. And again. Oh, and again. MAKE YOUR MIND UP, GIRL. There was just so much media hype over her and this whole situation, when it's not something that's ever reported this much in real life. Interviews, offers to have her host her own cooking show, photoshoots - it was just too much. Also, so much of her stress and issues could have been avoided had she just dealt with her life like an adult at the outset, by just talking to Carter Spinks, who is the lawyer firm she used to work for. Melissa showing up and being all bitchy to her, it was just so unnecessary, and the 'sneaking into the lawyer firm as a pretend waitress to get into someone's office' omfg, is this really needed?
Although there are 4 points that really bothered me, I surprisingly enjoyed it still. I found it was still rather funny, I love the setting of the sleepy town with the small pub, and the Geigers were just the highlight of this book. Just an older married couple who like the odd drink (or all the time lol), who are ditsy, gullible and still like the odd night in to try out some sex positions without embarrassment of who walks in.
It was still funny to read about, and I love the message of the story Just because you have a big, high powered job and a big salary, doesn't mean you're happy. Life is too short to live to work, there are people around you who can make you happy and who care, and they're all that matters at the end of the day. Also to not let people tell you what you want, just because your parents think you should be earning a six figure salary, doesn't mean you have to. I love how it ended, and I was satisfied with the decisions she (finally) made.
It was your usual chick lit story, easy to read with some funny moments thrown in there. Although sometimes frustrating, it's still a light read if you want a summer beach read,
So what are your thoughts? Does this seem like your kind of book? Read or planning to? Let us know! It was a tricky book to review because although I had some issues with it, I still really did enjoy it. I just can't see myself re-reading it, unlike her other books. I adore I've Got Your Number and Can You Keep A Secret, which I'm planning on re-reading to review because they're just hilar. Fan of Sophie Kinsella? We want to hear from you! You can either leave a comment below or find us at any of the following social outlets:
BOOK REVIEW: THE UNDOMESTIC GODDESS BY SOPHIE KINSELLA
4/ 5Oleh The Honest Bookclub