The book and its author
I wrote my book report about “Can You keep a secret?” The year of the first publication was 2004, which is pretty recently. The edition I’ve read was written in 2005, published by ‘The Dial Press New York’, and exist out of 357 pages.
The author is Sophie Kinsella, but her real name is Madeleine Wickham. Madeleine was born in Londen at the 12th of December 1969. The country she grew up in, and where she’s still living, is England. Her first book was The tennis party, written by her official name Madeleine Wickham. The books which made her a famous author are the Shopaholic series. Other titels are “The Undomestic Goddess” and “Remember Me?”.
The motto which stands in front of the book, is:
“To H, from whom I have no secrets. Well, not many.”
This is about having secrets in a relationship, which the book is all about. It’s about the good and bad things of trust and secrets. Because of this I think that her intention was to tell people that it is normal to have some secrets for your partner, but that trust is very important too.
This motto says at the same time to whom the book is dedicated: to H. You can’t know it, but I think that H is her husband, Henry Wickham, because it’s about relationships, and her husband’s name starts with an H.
The book looks a bit like a children’s book, because of the illustration at the front which is a bit childish.
Most of the story takes place in New York, at the office from the Panther Corporation, in the apartment of Emma Corrigan, and around these places. You don’t know exactly how much time the story overtakes, but I think it is about a couple of months or even a couple of weeks. That’s because Emma met Jack at the beginning of the story, then he came to New York, and stayed there until at least the end of the story.
The very main character of the book is Emma Corrigan; she’s a 25-year old businesswoman who is very spontaneous. You read the book out of her eyes.
Jack Harper is also almost a main character, because Emma’s life is all about him at this time. Jack Harper is the boss of Panther Cola, and he is a rich, social guy, but is also very closed about himself. Jack and Emma are first related to each other as strangers, but later as boss and colleague and at the end of the book also as partners.
The minor characters in the book are:
-Lissy, Emma’s best friend and roommate
-Jemima, also a roommate of Emma
-Connor, in the beginning of the book Emma’s boyfriend, but later ex-boyfriend
-Sven, a guy who is always with Jack Harper, he’s his chauffeur, and probably also bodyguard
-Artemis and other colleagues from the Panther Corporation
In fact these are all minor characters, but because you’re told so much about them, they almost look like important characters from which you know much about how they are.
Emma Corrigan is a 25-year old English girl. She lives in London and shares a flat with Lissy, who is a lawyer and also her best friend, and Jemima, a rich girl who’s only interested in marrying a rich man for ‘a rock on her finger’. Emma is a typical girl-next-door. She’s a nice girl but she also has her flaws. She works in the Marketing department of Panther Corporation and is going out with one of her co-workers Connor Martin. Emma’s particularity is that she has secrets. Not earth-shattering secrets, but little secrets. The kind that aren’t that important but that you still wouldn’t reveal to anyone, such as: she finds thongs uncomfortable, she lies about her clothes size, she thinks her boyfriend is a bit like Ken (as in Ken & Barbie), she feeds orange juice to one of co-workers’ plant, about the time she was very drunk and copied her bottom at the copier and so on. She is also very afraid to fly. When she got on a plain back to home from her business trip to Scotland, and the plane moved through the turbulence, it all went wrong. She thought that she was going to dye, and told the stranger who was sitting next to her, all her little secrets. Of course the plane has landed without her noticing and she suddenly realizes that she has just told all her secrets to a complete stranger. However she thinks it doesn’t really matter since they’ll never see each other again. Except she’s wrong… The man next to her is Jack Harper, the founder of the company Emma works at. He is in town visiting the company and to top it off, he remembered every little detail of every little secret.
When he visits the company Emma works at, he recognizes her, and asked her to have a chat in his office. In there, he asked her if she please won’t tell anyone that he was in Scotland.
During his visit in London they’re starting to feel something for each other. But Emma’s still in a relationship with Connor, and she won’t admit that she isn’t in love with him anymore because everyone says that they’re the perfect couple together. But Jack made Emma realize that Connor isn’t the right man for her. So after Connor asked her to live together, Emma made up with him. The relationship between Emma and Jack is getting better, Jack helped Emma with the relationship between her and her parents, and he’s getting to know Emma better en better. The only weird thing is that when they’re on a date Jack sometimes suddenly has to go away or has to phone someone and he just doesn’t want to tell Emma where it’s for. Then Jack goes back to America for business and some interviews.
When the interview was broadcasted on television, the whole company is watching. Jack told about his new target group for Panther Cola, and he said that it is an ordinary nothing special girl. But in his enthusiasm, he started telling more about this girl, and when he said more and more, Emma realized it was her. Jack told all Emma’s secrets, on television! And if that wasn’t bad enough, al her colleagues recognized it was about her, and they found out about her secrets, from which some also where about them. Emma felt completely humiliated, but she couldn’t go to anyone, even not to her best friend, because Jack told that she’s had a lesbian dream about her.
The day after, Jack came to Emma and made his apologizes to her, he said he didn’t mean to tell this much about her, but also that her secrets couldn’t be as important as his, which he won’t tell to her. Emma was so angry that she didn’t want to see him again, and want to take revenge. Her friends Jemima and Lissy would help her.
But at Lissy’s dance show, Jack came to Emma again. He told her his secret, and because of that, Emma understands that his secret is more important than all her little secrets. She realizes that she can’t take revenge by telling his secret to the world, and wants to give him a second chance. But her friend Jemima had already figured out something, and came with a Journalist to interview Emma. When Jack saw that, he was shocked and ran away.
Luckely, everything came good in the end. Emma told Jack that it was Jemima who arranged it, and Jack believed her. He told Emma all his little secrets, so they can start over in an equal relationship.
All the events are related to each other because Emma is in all the events, she’s the person who the whole book’s about.
I did enjoy reading the book very much, because I was curious about what was going to happen. It was a bit predictable that he man who she told all her secrets would become a lover of Emma, but I wasn’t really shore of that, so that kept my curiousness. I thought that she would end up with Connor, but they didn’t, which was surprising to me. Although there were some disasters in the book, it wasn’t a sad book to read, it stayed very funny and light. That made it easy to read, and it made you want to read further and further.
The scene which struck me the most was the scene after Jack told all Emma’s secrets on TV. Emma thought she’d saw Jack everywhere, and every time she says that, I thought: Oh, there he is, now it’s going wrong! That was a scary scene. The scene in the plain was also scary, because it was like they’re going to dye, and the plain was going to crash. That didn’t happen, and then the scene turned out to a funny scene.
From all the characters of the book, I liked Connor the best, because he sounds very sweet. I felt sad for him that Emma made up with him, because he was trying very hard to be sweet for her and did things from which he thoughts she liked it. At the end of the story he had got another girlfriend, but I don’t think she was a type for him, because she sounds very mean.
I would recommend the book to others, because it’s a fun book to read, with scary scene’s, romantic scenes, and no boring scenes. It was also easy to read, even in English.
In front of the book, there are some reviews posted. But they are all positive, which is quite understandable, because they won’t put any negative reviews in front of the book. Because of that, I picked two out of the book, and looked for a negative one on the internet. Actually, the only negative review I found was this one:
“I completely forgot I read this book until I saw some reference to Sophie Kinsella and thought, "Wait, didn't I read something by her?" That's exactly what this book was: mildly entertaining and completely forgettable.” – Kate
I think that this is just a person who doesn’t like books like this, if you want more draft, this isn’t a book you would like to read. I don’t agree with her because I did enjoy reading the book, but I think that this is just about opinions, and not about the book himself.
Then the reviews out of the book:
“Venturing beyond Saks and Barney’s, the bestselling author of Confessions of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Ties the Knot entertains readers with backstabbing office shenanigans, competition, scandal, love and sex… Kinsella’s down-to-earth protagonist is sure to have readers sympathizing and doubled over in laughter.” - Publishers Weekly
I also don’t really agree with this, because I thought it was fun, but not so fun to ‘double over in laughter’.
“Kinsella’s dialogue is sharp, even her minor characters are well drawn, and her parody of the marketing world is very funny.” - Washington Post Book World
I agree with this one that the dialogue is sharp. I also think that the minor characters are well drawn, they actually don’t look like minor characters any more. I don’t really agree that her parody of the marketing world is very funny, I thought that the story around it was funny, but the marketing world itself looked really boring.