Sophie Kinsella, author of the Shopaholic Series, is here with her latest novel, I Owe You One, a story which touches on a variety of themes making good use of humor and emotions and leaves you with the feeling as if you were with the characters all this time.
Sophie Kinsella is well-known among readers who like stories which are funny and emotional at the same time. I have read some of the books from the shopaholic series so when I got the news that a new novel had just come out, I decided to read it. I was not disappointed.
Setting and characters
We are introduced to the Farrs family: Fixie, Nicole, Jake, and their Mother (not named). One of the main themes of the book is how the three siblings with stark differences in personalities stay together and help each other become better versions of each other as the story progresses.
After the death of her father, Fixie has helped her mother keep the family together by helping out with chores and overseeing the administration of their family business, The Farrs, a general store. While she has a gentle personality, offers smart advice, and does a superb job of managing the store, she suffers from a lack of confidence when she is around her elder siblings because she has grown in their shadow always believing that she was in many ways inferior. This poor self-image is aggravated by the failure of her catering company which she funded with her mother’s money and has never been able to pay back the loan. This translates to her being unable voice her concerns and opinions even when she knows very well what the right thing to say is.
Jake’s life revolves around making big money. His disdain for the middle-class lifestyle of his family encourages him to spend extragavant amounts of money on his lifestyle and for networking dinners which never seem to materialize into anything. Nicole is self-centered and effuses an indifferent attitude towards everyone, neglecting her trouble marriage and instead resorting to procrastination. Fixie’s mother is a workaholic and tries her best to just keep the family together. While Fixie and her mother look after the store, Jake and Nicole do little to help.
There are two story streams that flow together throughout the novel with one having implications on the other.
The first is the series of events that happen when Fixie’s mother decides to go on a vacation after a heart attack. This leaves the three Farrs and their uncle behind to take care of the store, even though the four have never worked together as a team before. This creates a huge crisis in the beginning as all three new comers try to initiate new things at the store which go on to wreck havoc. Sales take a hit, the customers are unfuriated and the staff is confused and things look gloomy as the holiday season approaches.
First, Fixie tries to accomodate them as they are family but soon she realizes that she will have to rise to the occasion and save the day. She does this very well and I was cheering for her throughout. She finds the courage to overcome her insecurities and tackle issues head on. For me as a reader, this transformation, of Fixie and of her family, was a major reason why I liked the story. The store crisis made the Farrs realize that they can no longer overlook their differences and would need to work together to succeed as a family.
The other storyline is Fixie’s romantic relationships with Ryan and Seb. Ryan is Fixie’s childhood crush. After spending a lot of time in Hollywood, he returns as a broke actor with no degree, career and skills. Fixie, believing that this is her chance of making her childhood fantasy a reality, finds herself taking care of Ryan and helping him find a job.
At the same time, Fixie finds herself saving valuable data on Seb’s laptop in a coffeee house. In return Seb writes him a “I owe you one” coupon “reedemable in eternity” which sets the base for their relationship. Any discussion of their relationships would rob you of the story so I won’t go into those details. But what I can tell you is that her romantic relationships play a pivotal role in the character development of Fixie as she learns valauable lessons and comes to terms with who she is as a person and what type of person would she like to be with.
The themes of family, love, care, and deep meaningful relationships are prevalent in the narrative, which makes strong use of humor and relatable characters to pique interest and create bonding between the reader and the story. A well rounded read, don’t miss out on this latest novel from Sophie Kinsella.
Happy Reading 🙂
Bustle interviewed Sophie Kinsella. It is interesting to hear about the book from the author herself.