A Review – “Remember Me?” by Sophie Kinsella

"Remember Me?" By Sophie Kinsella; Dial Press, February 2008

After reading dozens of testosterone-charged crime novels filled with brutes on both sides of the law, I have decided that it was time to get in touch with my softer, more feminine side. Why not read something a little different, I said to myself, something to please the distaff side of readers?

Well, this estrogen-laden book is the perfect antidote for my normal PI literary fare. Believe me when I tell you that it is "Chick Lit" with a capital "C" and a capital "L." While I enjoyed reading this novel, I have to admit that I did occasionally choke over the constant preoccupation with brand name clothes and makeup. Like most men, brand names don’t mean much to me unless I am in a hardware store or at an automobile dealer.

A young London woman struggling with her career and relationships wakes up in the hospital after a minor accident and slowly begins to realize that the last three years of her life have been erased from her memory. Lexi Smart is stunned to find out that it is now 2007 and that she is 28 years old, but that realization will only be the first of many surprises to come. More shocking still will be when she finds out that everything has changed and that she is not even the same person that she was before.

During the past three years Lexi has somehow undergone a Cinderella transformation from an ungainly girl with poor eating habits, frizzy hair, and teeth so misshapen that her nickname is "Snaggletooth" into a woman with perfect nails and hair, a buff, well-toned body, and teeth that have been straightened and capped. She hardly recognizes herself when she looks into the mirror. She has somehow morphed from a young woman similar to Bridget Jones into someone stylish and elegant like Elizabeth Hurley.

Another clue that her life has dramatically changed in other ways is with that posh Louis Vuitton handbag sitting in the hospital room. She thought that it had been placed there by mistake, but, no, it is really hers. And then she finds out that she was in an accident while driving her Mercedes convertible. Mercedes convertible??? The last she remembers, Lexi didn’t even know how to drive and couldn’t afford to own a car even if she did.

Her mother and her younger sister visit her while she is in the hospital, but they aren’t much help since they can’t relate to the extent of her memory loss. They only add to Lexi’s confusion by continuing to drop emotional bombshells, especially when they tell her that she is now married and lives with her new husband in a fancy loft apartment in Kensington.

This is all too much for poor Lexi, who wants to stop the clock and go back to find out why she has lost all memory of the three most important years of her life. Everything is too good to be true, like a dream where she expects to wake up at any moment only to find out that it is just that, a dream. I mean, whatever happened to "Loser Dave," her old boyfriend and the guy who stood her up on the night of her accident?

Lexi leaves the hospital and enters her new dream world to find out that it really is true, all of it. She can’t believe her good fortune to be married to Eric, a husband who is a gorgeous hunk and a multimillionaire to boot. The only problem is that along with the loss of her memory, she has also lost all feelings that she had for him. Although everything seems to be wonderful between them, the chemistry is missing and he is like a stranger to her. If their life was supposed to have been so perfect, then why is she having so much trouble resurrecting her love for him?

Lexi’s career has changed as well, and greatly for the better. The last she remembers is that she was a lowly employee for Deller Carpets who went out and got drunk with Fi, Carolyn, and Debs, her three best friends and fellow coworkers, because she had missed getting the annual bonus. Now she is the head of the sales division and a director of the company. The huge downside is when Lexi finds out that her former friends won’t have anything to do with her and refer to her as the "b***h boss from hell" with the unenviable nickname of "The Cobra."

This premise was more than intriguing enough for me to check out this new 2008 book by Sophie Kinsella, the author of the "Shopaholic" series of novels. All were popular, as is this effort, which has resided on numerous best selling lists of fiction including that of the New York Times.

I can see why Kinsella is so popular, as she is a very talented writer with the ability to create captivating characters through very believable dialogue. In addition, Lexi, her protagonist and perhaps an alter-ego, is constantly expressing her fresh and charmingly honest thoughts in a delightfully chatty manner. This book is a fast, fun read because Lexi turns out to be an interesting and sympathetic character with a story that develops into a delightfully lighthearted and entertaining romp.

I have to be honest here and confess that there were parts of the book where I found myself questioning the logic and the believability of the story during those moments when Lexi took courses of action that stretched my credulity. But then, how am I to critique how others will react when they try to recapture their life after suffering a case of retrograde amnesia? This book is for fun and I have to cut the author a lot of slack to let her get to where she wants to go with the story.