The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella, best-selling author of the Shopaholic series, is her second stand-alone novel. Even though this novel is a chick-lit cliché and high on the stupidity factor, it happens to be one of my all-time favorites to have a good laugh. It is the story of a 20-something, high flying ambitious girl who inadvertently commits a mistake so huge that her entire professional career is taken for a toss. Also, if it helps any better, she ends up doing something she doesn’t even know the spelling of!
Samantha Sweeting is an Oxbridge educated lawyer in a big firm who has worked hard to reach where she is today. A little carelessness on her part and she loses her mind at the enormity of it, running away and jeopardizing her only chance of being made a partner, a position that she coveted, the prize for all her striving. Boarding a train with no destination in mind, she finds herself in the midst of nowhere. Staggering, she reaches a fancy mansion where the millionaire couple, Trish and Eddie Geiger live. Mistaken for a candidate who has come for an interview by Trish, Samantha lands herself the job of a housekeeper! She manages to impress Trish without knowing what she was signing up for and no, she doesn’t know how to cook or clean or dust or rub or wash or garden! What ensues is a roller coaster ride of her attempts to keep the house. From wiping the surface to boiling an egg, from slicing a loaf to rubbing bathroom floors, from making a jam sandwich to ironing, nothing she does makes sense. Instead, she always ends up making a mess.Between trying to hide her identity from the Geigers and managing their house, Sam meets a horticulture enthusiast, Nathaniel. Nat works for the Geigers garden in the backyard of their mansion and grows lots of fruits and veggies for them. It is not love at first sight for them but sparks do fly when Trish sets them up for a date night at the local pub. Sam and Nat start dating and it does not take long for him to find out that she is a fake. Hurt at first, he later makes peace with the fact that Sam is not ready to reveal her true identity and share her past with him right now. He promises to wait until she herself wants to tell. As their relationship begins to scale upwards, Nat takes Sam to meet his mother in lieu of teaching her how to cook and clean and dust and rub, in short, manage the house. Nat’s mother, along with giving housekeeping lessons also shares her wisdom in managing life with Sam and makes her realize that demons must be confronted and not run away from. Given the fact that she lost her company 50 million quid, Sam doesn’t have the courage to go back and face accusations. Instead, she decides to look upon the internet to find out what the situation is. To her dismay, the internet is full of trolls about her, her fiasco, her running away, and hiding off the face of Earth. Reluctantly she accepts that the life she is living now is her fate forever. Sam, however, isn’t able to keep her mind off the things she read on the internet. Her debacle has made her a butt of jokes in the law world. Something doesn’t feel right to her, gives her a sense of unease, and keeps interrupting her thoughts. Unable to fathom what it is, she starts browsing the internet once again in hope of some clue. As she digs deeper, she finds some uncanny posts connecting Arnold, her mentor-cum-friend, to the company that has claimed money from her firm due to her mistake. Instantly her brain gets working and she starts thinking clearly again, figuring out the what’s and how’s and when’s and why’s of the situation. A short while later, as if her mind was telling this all the along, she zeros in on Arnold and concludes that he has framed her and has embezzled money from the firm to the bank account of the company of himself and his son-in-law! Her theory is hardened when she calls up Arnold and he sounds overly friendly. On mentioning that she knows what he did, he suddenly turns hostile and disconnects. She resolves to clear her name and bring the culprit into the light. Mustering up courage, she goes back to the city and to her office where Arnold is having his farewell and has a face-to-face with him. Arnold, being the smart-ass he is, puts Sam into bad light by calling her mentally unstable while everyone believes him and she has no choice left but to leave the building embarrassed. Not the one to back down, Sam gives one last try to reach out to her boss who lives in the same building as her and stalks his apartment door until he comes back from the office. Reluctantly, he takes her in and when Sam comes out hours later, calmly, heaves a sigh of relief.Sam goes back to Nat, whom she had left in the lurch when she had come to the city and whom she knows will be waiting for her, and professes her love for him, which he gladly accepts. She even tells him about everything that has happened because she wants no more secrets from the love of her life. In turn, Nat tells her that he has bought the house he was eyeing and would she like to make it their home. Needless to say, Sam is elated and agrees immediately. Meanwhile in the law world, the waves Sam had created by exposing Arnold has turned into a full-blown storm which eventually reaches the town where she is. The media from all over throng the Geigers’ mansion to get a glimpse of the whistleblower. Unaware that the whole ruckus is about Sam, the Geigers are taken aback on finding out the truth. Sam is in a fix when the whole law world arrives and top the firms offer lucrative packages. Between all the attention she is getting from the media, she loses Nat somewhere. Not wanting to live the “6-minute life” her whole life, she runs after Nat. after all, she is 29 years old, and she can do anything she wants!
The highlighting factor of Kinsella’s novels is that they are written in simple language and narration and is easily understood. They let you unwind your brains and relax. With no hardcore, strong, and mind-boggling themes, they provide an escape from reality to the refreshing world of fun and frolic. Not many people realize the power of a laugh-out-loud book. Yes, they are stupid at times, but after all, who doesn’t relish a good hearty laugh. So, put your brains aside and pick up your copy.