Friday, August 17, 2012

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

The Undomestic Goddess is a classic story of mistaken identity with a twist.

The story is set in London where Samantha Sweeting is working as a high powered lawyer at the best law firm, hoping to become the youngest partner, a goal she has been working toward since her childhood. And her work load has come with its share of stress not leaving her a night or weekend to herself.

When her dream of becoming partner becomes a reality she is elated, that is until she realizes she has made a mistake that will cost a client millions. In a fit of utter disbelief she drunkenly boards a train and ends up on the doorstep of a random home. The woman who opens the door happens to be expecting a new maid from an agency and suddenly Samantha has found a new job.

Samantha, a girl who can't figure out why a vacuum needs a bag and has never cooked anything or done her own laundry has to learn how to be a housekeeper. In the process she finds love, happiness, and a world she never knew existed.

I really loved this book. I picked it up because the author also wrote the Shopaholic series, which I loved. My first thought was that it would be a funny, easy read just for entertainment, but what I found was a little more than that. The characters are so well developed that I found myself in London struggling along with Samantha to clean this impossibly large house and juggle making gourmet meals. I remember having similar feelings when I was first married. Thankfully, my mother actually taught me the basics of cooking and cleaning before I moved out.

I was so delighted to find a story, not strictly of feminism where a young lady beats the odds and makes it in a high powered career, but one that shows that it's okay to find joy in the less stressful environment of caring for a home. I feel as though feminism makes society look down on those who decide to be house wives or stay at home moms. And I loved riding along on Samantha's journey to find the life that was really more fulfilling for her and ignoring what the rest of the world thought.
On top of that, I connected with the stress that Samantha felt at work and the juxtaposition of pride in a home cooked meal and well kept house. I loved her discovery of finding a world outside a cubicle, and noticing simple things like the beautiful flowers in a garden. And living life slowly and meaningfully instead of so fast paced and full of task after task.

I think too many of us live in that fast paced world and lie to ourselves that we love the pressure. But we don't know what we're missing on the other side. Kinsella beautifully portrays the other side and how tempting it can be. She gave me the assurance that I needed that I can be happy as a stay at home mother and housewife.

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