Thursday, July 7, 2011
Book Review: The Single Girl's Guide To-Do List by Lindsey Kelk
I received an advanced copy of The Single Girl's Guide To-Do List by Lindsey Kelk when I attended a Facebook fan appreciation event held by Harper Collins. I love chick lit and couldn't stay away from free chocolate! I'd never heard of Lindsey Kelk before. She's written a series(I Heart Paris, I Heart Hollywood, I Heart New York) that I have yet to read, so I went into this brand new book (and characters) with fresh eyes.
Rachel Summers loves making lists, she's a bit OCD about them. She has what she thinks is a perfect life with a great job, fun friends, owns a fabulous flat in London, and lives with her boyfriend of five years, Simon, a man she thinks will be her husband and the father of her babies. That future ideal comes crashing down when Simon announces that he wants a break for a while, which turns out to be code for "you're not the one." Devastated, Rachel drinks her pain away with her friends, Emelie and Matthew, and together they create a new list, and you guessed it, it's the single girl's guide to-do list of ten things that she has to do in two weeks to prepare herself for the single life. Things like confronting her fear of heights, getting a makeover, finding a date for her dad's wedding, and breaking the law, among other things.
The plot is predictable, as it tends to always be for romantic comedies/chick lit. It's the nature of the genre, and I embrace that fully because it's more about the journey than the destination. I enjoyed the journey that Lindsey Kelk has created. Her words are crisp, and she has a rhythm that is light hearted and witty. The book is quick and easy. When not reading it, I would look forward to getting back to it. I was transported to England, got to pretend that I lived in London. And I enjoyed the Canadian references (despite some of the cliches, but I will own up to loving Maple Syrup), and who knew Toronto was such a fabulous city in which I live! (Perhaps, I should write a chick lit novel set in Toronto?) Oh, and Niagara Falls is one of the cheesiest and tackiest places on the planet and I love it too!
The characters were relatable, especially Rachel. I think most women have been heartbroken at least once, and contemplated a makeover, searched Facebook for an old crush, or written a letter to their ex. I've chopped my own hair once, sick of it, as Rachel was, due to what I thought was a broken heart. Looking back, it was really just split ends that needed to be trimmed. But I did wish that Rachel dug deeper, with her soul searching, as to why she was never single. I'm sure it goes back to her parents' divorce, but spending six weeks single just doesn't seem like enough introspection before moving on. Then again, this is a chick lit book, and it ends the way we all know it will, on a happy note. And I could have done without her mother's speech about "alone doesn't mean being lonely"(pg. 323). It would have been nicer to hear that said in a different way, something not so on-the-nose. Subtext goes a long way in getting a point across sometimes.
I also have to mention that there was one scene in particular that came across as odd to me. It was when Rachel was in Toronto and she met some woman in the bar. The woman approached Rachel and just starting talking and it was too much exposition, and felt out of place, and for the first and only time during my reading experience, I was taken out of the story. After finishing the book, I discovered that the mystery woman, Jenny, is the main character from Kelk's other series. I suppose it's a treat for fans who have read those books, but for those of us who haven't, it can be confusing. I kept wondering what is this woman's motivation? Was she hitting on Rachel? Was she, in fact, associated somehow, to Rachel's high school crush? Was she going to hire Rachel as a makeup artist? I think this book is strong enough to stand alone, and didn't need a wink back to the other series.
If you like watching romantic comedies, or love a good chick lit read then pick up The Single Girl's Guide To-Do List. I plan on reading her other series now. Lindsey Kelk has earned a new fan. And I have to say that the Canadian cover is far superior to the UK one. In fact, the cover in Canada makes the book look sophisticated, and this non-poutine eating Canadian who has bungee jumped thinks the new Red-Headed Rachel would agree!
P.S. It's Doogie Howser not Dougie Howser as it was written on Pg. 296 :)
P.S.S. Stay tuned for a To-Do List posting! (single or not!)