As a writer and beta reader, I know it’s tough to make your main character’s life miserable. They’re our friend, after all. We invest in them emotionally and spend a lot of time in their heads. But most really great books require at least some suffering on the part of the protagonist for the sake of personal growth and sustained tension. This is especially true in romance because the genre requires a dark moment where all seems lost, right before the happy ending.
Sophie Kinsella is a master class in MC misery, balanced with tenderness, laugh-out-loud hilarity, and multiple plot threads all crashing down together on the character’s head like a vengeful curse. This story is a slow-motion train wreck in the most entertaining way. We cringe in horror as each new embarrassing disaster looms watching helplessly as it strikes. We laugh in horror as everything unravels in the worst (and funniest) possible unlucky outcome. Because the theme of the story is that we make our own luck. No one finds happiness pretending to be something they’re not.
Kinsella puts us right in Fixie’s head from the get-go with a strong voice and deep POV. Fixie’s a doormat without being wishy-washy or dull. She feels with her whole heart without being able to articulate it. She’s our disaster BFF we want to wrap up in a blanket fort and defend to the death from her own bad choices.
The deep POV is masterfully done, giving us Fixie as an unreliable narrator trying genuinely to make everyone around her happy, and with no idea the reader is looking at the self-centered users around her and muttering, “Oh honey…oh no…”
(And sometimes shouting, “YOU THROW THAT WHOLE MAN IN THE TRASH FIXIE FARR.” So I’ve heard. Ahem.)
Sophie Kinsella’s books can probably be found at your local library, or through her website at: