Friday, December 24, 2010

Naked in Knightsbridge by Nicky Schmidt

2.5 Star

Jools Grand is struggling with threats from her crazy landlord amidst other mounting debts when her cleaning company suffers a fatal blow: a client’s house was set on fire.  Now jobless, and in serious danger of becoming homeless, a desperate Jools decides to auction herself online in a marriage of convenience. She even starts dreaming of finding romance with her scheme, but as the bidding war between two unavailable men continues, Jools soon discovers that everything has a price. 

Lydia - 3 Star

As the synopsis eludes, Naked in Knightsbridge is quirky, unique and full of unusual characters. I loved the cover of this novel. It intrigued me into finding out what the story was all about and this easy read provided some laughs for me, but unfortunately I did find it a bit frustrating at times. 

I really wanted Jools to be able to figure it all out, to get away from all the crazies and not to be quite so ditzy and ignorant about everything. There were times I wanted to scream at her bumbling and found I wasn’t really able to relate to her character because of it. If she hadn’t been quite so ditzy about everything, I might have become more attached.  She was likeable enough and I was rooting for her to sort herself out, but I couldn’t quite understand how she’d made such a mess of her life and how she was going about fixing it.

I had difficulty with a few characters that I wasn’t fond of, including Jools’ father and both of her ‘suitors’. I realize we weren’t supposed to like them, but it made reading about them difficult because I really grew to hate them and couldn’t see any redeeming qualities in any of them and wanted to find some in a few of them at least. The only exceptions really were Jools’ best friend and my favourite character, who was the homeless man, Skuttle, that Jools befriends.  

The letters at the beginning of each chapter, similar to those in the Shopaholic series, were amusing and gave me some chuckles, but Schmidt has her own unique voice and her story, along with this cast of quirky characters, was just as easy to read and held some deeper issues than the Shopaholic series. Jooles is headed for disaster financially to the point of losing the roof over her head, issues we never saw in Shopaholic, and I loved that Schmidt tackled these.

Naked in Knightsbridge did make me laugh and I was curious to see what was going to happen and found myself grinning at the end. Although not my favourite read of the year, I would definitely read another Nicky Schmidt novel.

Kathryn - 2 Star

At first I thought I was going to really like this book because the writing style appealed to me- I found it well written and edited, easy to read and get engrossed in the story.  Unfortunately though, I lost faith in the main character rather early on in the novel and struggled to maintain my interest level.

From the outset Jools is down on her luck financially and her voice is self-deprecating and made me giggle a few times but I soon found myself wanting to kick her behind into gear and to start getting it together.  While there are several fictional characters in chick lit today who have a hard time getting their spending in hand I didn’t find much about Jools that was appealing beyond the initial first few chapters.  She concocts a bizarre plan to sell herself off as a wife to the highest bidder online (which I actually thought was hilarious- if a little scary!) but as soon as the money is in her hands she reverts back to complete irresponsibility and this turned me off entirely.  The appealing part of the spendthrift wanting to go straight was absent for me.  And although I can also appreciate wanting to eat several cupcakes at once I found her obsessive cupcake munching sickening and wondered if she was ever going to start to value herself in any aspect of her life. 

In desperation I tried to relate to other people in the novel and the closest I could come to was the man she marries (at least he was clear about his motives towards her) and his mother (who accepted her whole-heartedly until she really hit rock bottom!)- not exactly ideal as they did nothing to really help Jools find her way!  

All in all I think my feelings about this novel went from high hopes to ugh and I was really disappointed in my end rating.  Hopefully my next read from the same author will draw me into more sympathy for the characters.
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