I guess you could say I took the long way to Ottawa (land of much open space): Singapore – Hong Kong – San Francisco – Chicago – Ottawa. The way back was just as bad: Ottawa – Chicago – San Francisco – Incheon – Singapore. But I managed to read Sophie Kinsella’s Twenties Girl, which a colleague lent me a few weeks ago (I passed her Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go), during the San Francisco-Incheon leg, and while I was enjoying it I jotted down some notes.
Page 109 – The main characters, meek, set-adrift-and-buffeted-by-life Lara and the stridently shrieking ghost of her great-grandaunt Sadie, are at their selfish worst. I can’t sympathise with them. But I’m willing to continue reading, I think because I know they will eventually emerge as benevolent and likable. (Is that a difference between a serious novel, which would not offer that certainty. and something lighter, which this book is?)
Page 123 – The point I get really interested in the book: Sadie agrees to help Lara with her dog problem. Before this, the two weren’t a team.
Page 136 – Shock: Lara asks him out! (“Him” being the “American man with the frown” – also, “quite good-looking in that classic preppy way… has a bit of a tan, and dark wrist hair visible inside his immaculate white cuffs [note: weird, describing wrist hair]… his eyes are penetrating…”) Not sure what to make of the fact that, with much effort, Sadie is able to make herself heard by others (Lara can see and hear her normally, and is persuaded to ask him out because Sadie thinks he’s handsome and wants to dance with him), but this is an intriguing development.
Page 150 – Lara pesters Sadie to get Josh (Lara’s ex-beau) to tell the girl he is now with (not Lara) what was wrong with Lara. (Yes, Lara is spying on Josh during his date.) And I realise that Lara and Sadie have this relationship where they just pester each other to do something until the other agrees to. Apart from parents and their children, do people actually have this sort of relationship?
Page 157 – Lara resolves that she will change all that Josh thought was wrong with her. She’s deluded! Are women like that?
Page 191 – The “the quarrelsome twosome understand/appreciate each other” moment.
Page 201 – Hmm. The plot thickens. (Background: Sadie’s apparently still around because she can’t go without her necklace, which has disappeared. In her search for the necklace, Lara finds out that the last person to visit Sadie at the hospice was one Charles Reece, who turns out to be Lara’s uncle Bill.)
Page 209 – Lara meets Bill, after an extravagant pageant of security and functionaries and secretaries.
Page 216 – Sadie, who is invisible (except to Lara) and intangible, finds the necklace in Bill’s house. So Bill did take it. The plot grows several layers.
Page 226 – Lara sneaks around in Bill’s house looking for the necklace, with Sadie as alarm and guide. Pretty kick-ass to have a ghost on this sort of mission.
Page 229 – Lara is going to “trail” (aka stalk) Josh outside his workplace to show him she has changed and try to get back together with him. The “not good idea” quotient of this idea is clearly expressed by Sadie, who says: “This is a very bad idea. A very, very bad idea.”
Page 234 – So they are back together. But only after Sadie mind-bullies vapid Josh into it.
Page 237 – Lara texts all her friends, and the pizza delivery person, about Josh’s and her return to couplehood. Smacks of approval-seeking or some vague gloating, totally unappealing. Hope she does not end up with Josh – just would not be right.
Page 244 – CRISIS. Necklace out of reach, work emergency with no solution in sight.
Page 264 – Lara and Mr American frown aka Ed discuss her partner (at work) a little, during their second “date”. The notion that Lara will end up with Ed with Sadie facilitating pops into my head.
Page 283 – Ed reveals the reason for his frown. I like Ed more and more.
Page 310 – The necklace makes another appearance during a fashion show, and after an exciting chase in which Bill also appears, menacingly, it slips away just before Lara can get her hands on it. Why does Bill also want the necklace?! He’s the owner of a chain competing with Starbucks, for goodness’ sake.
Page 319 – Inevitable: Lara breaks up with Josh.
Page 326 – Also inevitable, as it is that stage of the plot for a crisis between friends: Lara lies to Sadie that she is going out with Josh, so that Sadie will not get to crow over the breakup, and goes out with Ed.
Page 333 – I won’t describe what is so true here, but it’s so true :)
Page 360 – So good to see one of the minor villains of the story get hers!
Between page 361 and page 386 – I realise that I’m missing movies and TV shows during an 11.5-hour SQ flight for this book.
Pages 387-388 – The most surreal moment in this ghost story: After Sadie disappears in an angry huff after seeing Lara and Ed together and Lara searches all over for her and fails to find her, Lara tries to summon her at a pond.
Page 424 – Lara and Ed find out why Bill wants the necklace. Well and a bit too neatly plotted.
Page 432 – Why not just tell Ed that you can see Sadie’s ghost?!?!
Pages 456-457 – Tonya (Lara’s sister and the other minor villain in the book) is *irritating*.
Page 466 – Sadie’s ravishing smile, the last that Lara sees of her = brilliant.
The colleague who lent me the book urged me to finish it: The ending is heartwarming, she said. This was echoed by a reviewer on Goodreads. But I found the lead-up to the ending better than the ending itself, which I thought was rather ordinary, although it did give everyone their just desserts. Sadie got her Alaskan earthquake :)