Tuesday 13 February 2018

Book ~ "Surprise Me" (2018) Sophie Kinsella

From Goodreads ~ After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other's sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected "until death do us part" to mean seven decades. 

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all. 

Sylvie and Dan are both thirty-two, have been together for ten years (married for seven) and have five year old twins.  When their doctor tells them they are healthy enough to have another 68 more years together, they are freaked out.  To keep things alive and exciting, they decide to plan surprises for each other, which comically don't have the effect they had anticipated.

Sylvie's father had been larger than life and everyone idolized him.  He passed away in a car accident two years ago and Sylvie and her mother are still grieving CONSTANTLY.  Sylvie can't understand why Dan doesn't grieve for him as well.  Sylvie still wears her hair long long long because that's the way Daddy like it.

Sylvie is working for a small museum that still functions as if it's still the 1980s ... the owner refuses to function with modern conveniences and make them use a fax machine, share a computer and write everything in books.  When the owner's nephew turns up, Sylvie is sure he is there to close the museum and sell the land to condo developers.

I've read a lot of Kinsella's books over the years and they are usually a fun escape.  This one started out that way but got really serious about halfway in.  Instead of getting closer together, something is ripping Sylvie and Dan apart.  It's written in first person perspective from Sylvie's point of view.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

I wasn't overly crazy about the main characters.  I found it weird that Sylvie and Dan had married until "death do us part" but freaked out at the thought of having to spend the next 68 years together.  I thought it was a bit much how Sylvie worshiped her father and held Dan to the same standard, which was tough for him considering Sylvie came from money and Dan didn't (and he refused to accept any of her family's).  Sylvie's mother (Sylvie called her "Mummy") was very annoying and stuck-up and didn't seem to have any sense of reality (and everyone let her).  Dan seemed like a nice guy but put up with her snotty family.  Sylvie's boss and nephew were stereotypical in that she was a rich dotty elderly woman and her nephew was the young jerk with no appreciation for the past.  I did like the neighbours, Tilda and her son, Toby ... they added some humour to the book.

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