Monday, March 12, 2018

Book Review: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

BOOK review
Started on: 20 February 2018
Finished on: 28 February 2018

Title : Surprise Me
Author : Sophie Kinsella
Publisher : The Dial Press
Pages :  432 pages / 448 pages (e-book)
Year of Publication : 2018
Price : Rp 235,000 (

Rating: 3.5/5

"I thought I knew everything about my husband and he knew everything about me...
We've always been that couple. Blended. Intertwined. We read each other's thoughts. We finished each other's sentences. I thought we couldn't surprise each other any more.
Well, that shows how much I knew."
On their 10th wedding anniversary, Sylvie and Dan went on a medical check up together. The result was extremely good, and the doctor stated that the two of them will be able to live for a very long time. The doctor even predicted that they will be married for another 68 years! Over the past decade, they've had a happy marriage. Both seems to know one another too well, they can finish each other sentences, and are able to predict what the other person is thinking. But it just dawned on them, that they will have to spend more than half a century long together.

"Isn't 'till death us do part' a bit over-ambitious? Isn't it a bit of a gamble?"
Their relationship suddenly changed. Sylvie has no idea what Dan is thinking anymore. Until one day, Sylvie thought of an idea to keep their marriage interesting—which is to give each other surprises. Little did she know, those surprises won't go as smoothly as she hoped it would be. Surprises turned into disasters and secrets are suddenly revealed; making her unsure about the fate of their marriage. And soon, Sylvie begins to wonder if they really knew each other at all.
"We need surprises. That's what we need. Surprises. We need to be jolted and entertained and challenged with lots of little surprises. And then the next sixty-eight years will whizz by. Yes. This is it!"
image source: here. edited by me.
'You warned me,' I say miserably. 'You said, "Surprises have a bad habit of going wrong." Well, you were right.'
Sophie Kinsella is my go-to author when I'm looking for a light, contemporary read that will instantly cheer me up. The last time I read her book was My (Not So) Perfect Life; which I didn't absolutely love, but I do find the message behind it relevantly important. As for Surprise Me, I was drawn by the quirky plot about a married couple who just realized that they'll still be together for about half a decade—which sounds totally ridiculous for me right from the get-go. I find it funny because whenever talking about marriage life, my parents always reminded me that I will be with this significant person for another fifty-years, that's why I have to choose my partner carefully. So even before I'm married, I knew about it already. On the other hand, Sylvie and Dan, who's been married for 10 years, just realized that fact. 😂😂 Anyways, despite everything, I was quite excited to pick this book up and was looking forward to be entertained by Sophie Kinsella's writing style.
"I feel like a pinball machine. Suspicions and worries and theories are careering around my brain in a way they never have before. I trusted Dan. I knew Dan. We were us. Solid. So what's changed?
Or am I inventing problems for myself?"
The story is written from the first point of view of our main character, Sylvie. As a reader, we get to see everything that went through her mind—including all the weird stuff that she thinks about. Which is totally hilarious at some point, but at times it can become quite frustrating to read as well. Aside from her relationship with her husband, Dan, we also get a glimpse of Sylvie's relationship with her parents—especially her father who was recently deceased due to a car accident. I'm not going to go into much details in this review so I won't spoil it, but one of the things that I liked was Sylvie's character development throughout the book. At the beginning, Sylvie was portrayed as someone who thinks she's got it altogether: happy family, great marriage, adorable children, and thriving career. Until she finally realized that something's wrong with the way she's living her life due to a revelation that she discovered later on in the story.

Since the book is written from Sylvie's point of view, it's a bit sad because we can't possibly know what's happening with Dan. It certainly does add an element of mystery because Sylvie kept speculating all of Dan's words and actions. The mystery keeps me intrigued and I'm always eager to finally know the truth behind it all! But I feel like Dan is often misunderstood, because Sylvie just assumed that she knows everything even when she doesn't.
"If life is like a box of chocolates, then getting married is like choosing a chocolate and saying, 'That's it, done,' and slamming the lid closed. When you make your vows, what you're basically saying is: 'That's all I want, ever. That one flavour. Even if it goes off. Yum. I can't even see any other flavours any more, la-la-la.'"
"I can't protect the girls forever, and I shouldn't. Stuff will happen in their lives that they don't like. Shit happens. And they will have to cope. We all have to cope."
Another thing that I really like from the story is the message it conveyed about marriage. One of the most important things that I learned was no matter how well you think you know your partner, never have any assumptions without confirming it with one another. And the next thing is, your good intention to protect your partner from the truth might not always be the best decision to make. Sometimes letting the other person know the hard truth and helping them deal with it is better than keeping it a secret from them. Because I believe that keeping a secret  from your spouse can lead to suspicion and distrust. Through a series of events, Sylvie and Dan each learned something and definitely changed for the better.

Aside from the marriage conflict, there are other issues happening at the same time; but everything tie in beautifully at the end. As I've mentioned earlier, all these events contributed to Sylvie's character development and growth. I was really pleased with her transformation. From a spoiled, well-protected Sylvie, into someone who finally figured out what she wants to do for herself without trying to conform to anyone's opinion about her; and she's finally brave enough to cope with difficult situations.
"Love is finding one person infinitely fascinating."
Overall, it's an entertaining and easy read. Even though it's not the best Sophie Kinsella's book that I've ever read, I still enjoyed it nevertheless. It's a book about marriage, family, and self-discovery that has an unexpected plot twist and a heartwarming ending. Sophie Kinsella's writing always managed to make me smile and laugh. Most importantly, the message behind her stories consistently serves as a valuable reminder for me. Definitely looking forward to her next book release! 😊😊
by.stefaniesugia♥ .


  1. Fans of Sophie Kinsella will enjoy her classic lighthearted prose, the outrageous antics, the go-get-’em transformation of her female protagonist, and the satisfying ending, with a bit of a twist.

    1. Indeed! I'm a long time Sophie Kinsella's fan as well 😊😊


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