Review: Sophie Says by Judy Balan
Author: Judy Balan
Bridget Jones’ Diary brought in a whole new “type” of chick-lit. A type where the heroine (who is also most often the narrator) is an oval in a round peg or a rectangle in a square peg – just a wee bit off size and very slightly off shape, but essentially a very definite part of the 68.5% that are supposed to be average. These girls are most often between 28 to 32 years. They are either cynical or self-pitying (you may even stumble upon some who are both). They are all spunky. Usually they hate their job (which is most likely something associated with writing) but seem to be doing better than they imagine. They talk almost incessantly to themselves – seriously, many folks may address a random statement to themselves, but the way these girls carry on, they need no one else in their lives; definitely not for conversation. All books in this genre solidly head towards romance no matter how cynical or self-pitying the protagonist is. This genre has interestingly expanded to embrace fiction, semi-autobiographies and autobiographies.
Judy Balan’s Sophie Says is firmly entrenched in this chick-lit genre – not that this makes it any less entertaining.
In the true spirit of the genre, Balan’s Sophie is thirty, single, footloose and believing herself to be fancy-free. She is a self-styled Breakup Coach; that is, she blogs about how to break-up. An online test had identified her brain to be 71% male and she is very happy with that, thank you very much. She doesn’t want to “catch feelings”, something that she sees akin to “catching” a disease. She is a Breaker (as opposed to a Breakee) in her relationships and feels mostly disdain for Breakees and their drama. She is a good and dependable, though not the most empathetic or sympathetic, friend to her two BFFs, Dee and Bonnie
Along comes spider…a guy in her life; who weaves a web around her life and things start changing. Not only “things” but Sophie starts changing. She changes kicking and fighting against every little bit of change, but changes she does. It creeps up without her quite realising there has been a change, till it hits her smack in her face.
Balan manages to create likable characters and also hilariously encapsulate some very, very typical characters and events from the big, fat Indian family scene. Sophie’s story keeps you engaged; and just when it verges on becoming tedious, she introduces a twist that brings back your attention again. To her credit, Balan’s book doesn’t end as you expect it to – which in this genre is a very, very difficult thing to achieve.
If it is something light and fluffy that you are in a mood of, definitely pick this one up. It will entertain and even make you grin wide in many places while not taxing any brain cell.