The Undomestic Goddess
by Sophie Kinsella
genre: chick-lit, romance
High powered lawyer Samantha Sweeting had never made a mistake, and then she made a big one. Her one mistake cost her firm one million pounds. Unable face her mistake, Samantha runs away. In a trance, she gets on a train and finds herself in the middle of nowhere. One lie after another and she is hired as a housekeeper for a family who has no idea who she really is. She’s an absolute disaster in the kitchen, has never ironed in her life, but manages to pick up domestic skills while learning about life, love, and friendship.
I loved this book. I’ve recommended it to several people, especially my friends who have gone onto Law School. This is my third or fourth time reading it and it never gets old. I actually forgot some of the little twists, The Undomestic Goddess is so full of them.
In many ways, Samantha reminds me of myself. While I know how to do a laundry and iron, I wouldn’t know a whisk from a spatula in the kitchen, much less the more complex tools. While I never wanted to be a lawyer, I have always wanted to be in business and I think my mom still worries about me working too hard and turning into the pale husk of a person that Samantha is in the beginning of the book. One difference between Samantha and me is her persistence. Don’t get me wrong, I’m stubborn, but I don’t think I would have kept up the charade as long as she did, or come up with some of her ways around doing the chores.
My one and only complaint comes at the end when Samantha faces a major life decision between two life-paths. It never seems to occur to anyone that she doesn’t have to pick one or the other. While there really is no way to have both, there are other paths. It would be like a straight A student graduating high school trying to decide between working at McDonalds or going for their medical degree. One is the easy path and they know they will be bored and unfulfilled. The other is intimidating, something they are skilled in, but lack passion to pursue. Not a single character stops and says (in this example) “why don’t you go to college or trade school?” None of the characters sees the possibility of a more balanced medium alternative to the two decisions. It actually made me sad for the characters that their world is so black and white.
Even with that complaint, it’s a wonderful book. It made me laugh; it made me cry. It does have some mature spots, so I would advise pre-screening it for younger readers. I love the transformation Samantha goes through; The Undomestic Goddess could almost be considered a coming of age story. It reminds us that you’re never too old to grow and change.
5 out of 5 stars.