Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella Surprised Me

In the last couple of weeks, my weekday reading cycle has been more or less like this: I pick up a book, I know that I should sleep, I ignore the warning, I decide to keep reading, I realize that the clock has struck midnight, I reason that one more chapter is fine, one obviously leads to more, I end up finishing the book, I go to sleep in a panic, I wake up regretting the lack of sleep, I determine to sleep early, and at night I pick up a book…

No matter how many times I have yawned since this morning, it still feels nice to be able to finish yet another book, Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella, the fourth one for this year so far, but I also realize that I have to be stricter about my sleep schedule. I hope the resolution will not only stay a resolution. I need to remember that waking up heavy-eyed doesn't feel as fine as I have assured myself the night before.

So, about what kept me awake: Surprise Me starts with Sylvie and Dan celebrating their 10th year together. Now married with twin daughters, Sylvie and Dan are as in sync as ever, finishing each other's sentences and all.

A visit to the doctor reveals something unexpected though: their good genes and medical history indicate their possibility to live for another 68 years together. Neither wants to admit it, but the revelation sort of freaks them out. As an attempt to keep their marriage alive, they decide to give each other surprisesProject Surprise Me is thereby created. But surprises after surprises start to go wrong, and secrets are uncovered. Sylvie eventually realizes that maybe she doesn't know Dan as well as she thinks, after all.

It actually surprised me that Surprise Me turned out to be my least favorite book from Sophie Kinsella. It was still quite a fun read overall, hence the stars, but the book as a whole fell rather short.

In most parts, Sylvie and Dan felt like typical Kinsella characters, but I didn't seem to adore them as much as I had done the others. Sylvie might have had her bad moments now and then, but I still considered her as a good person, naive even. It frustrated me to witness how her fear of confrontation affected her way of dealing with stuff. And I didn't blame her for thinking the way she did after everything that had transpired.

Dan, on the other hand, was insufferable at times. Please skip this part if you haven't read the book yet, but taking his frustration on Sylvie and being cold to her? Reminiscing about an ex-girlfriend, searching her marital status on Google, and inviting her for a get-together when his wife was supposed to have a night out? It was a huge freaking red flag, Dan. No matter how "noble" his reasoning seemed in the end, it was still terrible. I wish Sylvie could have loved herself more to defend herself from something like this.

It all worked out in the end though as all rom-coms did, but while I could eventually shrug off those frustrating scenes, their chemistry remained hard to find. It also didn't sit well with me that after doing the "'til death do us part", they freaked out over such good news which was delivered after 10 years of content marriage. At one point I wish one of them would have undergone a near-death experience to realize how lucky both of them actually were.

I was quite confident to say that other minor characters seemed to make up for it though: Sylvie's five-year-old twin daughters, Tessa and Anna, were really adorable; Tilda and John were fun neighbors that I liked reading about; and Robert was a character I would like to know more if possible. I would say that Project Surprise Me with its unexpected turns of events was actually entertaining, while the revealed secret in the end was executed pretty well (I liked the way Sylvie handled the whole situation), and to be fair, Dan was quite decent in the first and last few chapters.

In conclusion, Surprise Me was still a fun read, though I didn't feel the desire to reread it in the future. If only the main characters were more likable, I would have thought otherwise.

Actual rating: 3