Book Club | Sophie Kinsella – Can You Keep A Secret

Can You Keep A Secret - Sophie Kinsella

It seems like only yesterday I made the book club launch post live, but we’re already four days into March and it’s time to wrap up February’s choice and start thinking about our second book! How exciting. Last month, we chose to read Can You Keep A Secret, by Sophie Kinsella, to fit in with the chick-lit theme chosen for Valentine’s Day. 

About Can You Keep a Secret

The book is a standard, light-hearted Sophie Kinsella novel. Emma, on her flight back home from a somewhat mediocre business meeting, finds herself in some rather severe turbulence. Panicking, she starts telling her seat neighbour everything about herself, only to find out a few days after (safely) landing that he is, in fact, the head of her company. We won’t say any more, but the whole storyline is sweet, the characters are endearing, and the plot is far-fetched enough to be funny, but realistic enough to invoke plenty of empathy. The perfect read for when you need a bit of a brain break!

Book Club Discussion - Can You Keep A Secret by Sophie Kinsella

What we thought

We all agreed that the story itself was a pretty typical instance of chic-lit, but one of our members highlighted that there four really interesting themes that tied the story together:

  1. The importance of honesty, and that dishonesty can be hurtful, even if it’s unintentional
  2. Loyalty in friendships/relationships and the value they add to life
  3. How complicated and difficult family can be, but how important it is to communicate with them
  4. Your first attempts at a career might not be the right fit for you, and that’s absolutely okay

A fifth theme that we really got talking about was that Can You Keep A Secret‘s protagonist is frequently described as ‘plain’ and ‘average’. We all felt that this was kind of negative, and that we would probably be upset if someone we were close to described us that way. In the book, however, the person who uses these words means them in a really positive way. In his description of Emma as your ‘average girl’, he actually highlights just how unique she really is. This got us thinking about how differently ‘average’ can be interpreted!

We did feel that the end was a little bit abrupt (like when you run out of words in an undergrad essay…) and that parts of the story were almost painfully unrealistic. At the same time, another book club member noted that this type of story is all about escapism, and that these little bits of far-fetched indulgence absolutely fulfil that purpose.

I had a great deal of fun with Can You Keep A Secret, and I want to thank the group that joined in – I hope you join again next month! The poll for our March selection will be up tomorrow (5th March), so make sure you vote for your favourite!


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