Book Review: I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella


All of Sophie Kinsella’s books revolve around the same type of protagonist – a British female in her 20-30’s who is fairly quirky with a very active imagination (which is often put to use concocting elaborate stories to defend herself against some mishap she’s gotten herself into, to which she doesn’t want to own up). Though they also have an immature and an almost uneducated way of speaking, they’re college graduates – and generally (either through merit or luck) have a pretty decent or otherwise cool job.

Basically, if you like one of her books, you’re going to like them all. I’m not going to critique the similarities between all of Kinsella’s protagonists because, obviously, people keep reading her books regardless of that fact – and that’s ultimately the point, isn’t it? I happen to be one of those people as I have thoroughly enjoyed reading every one of her books – some of them more than once. I’ve Got Your Number is no different. Poppy, the protagonist of this book, is out having dinner at a hotel with her friends where she loses both her engagement ring and her cell phone (as if just one of those wouldn’t be bad enough!). She doesn’t want her fiance to know that she lost the ring, so she gives her cell phone number – instead of her house number (do people even have “house phones” anymore?) – to the hotel staff. Of course, soon after this, her cell phone is stolen.

Fortunately, at that moment, she finds a cell phone in the trash (“finders keepers”) – and decides to use it for a replacement, giving the number out to the hotel staff and all of her friends. As it turns out, the cell phone belonged to the assistant of a busy public relations exec, but he allows her to keep the phone temporarily – as long as she promises to forward all of his e-mails and messages to him. Of course, as she is also unable to mind her own business (another common trait of Kinsella’s protagonists), she finds herself reading all of his correspondences and reaching her own conclusions about his personality.

Obviously, this book is more about the story between Sam (the PR exec) and Poppy than it is about Poppy and her fiance. Through this strange predicament they’ve found themselves in, it gives them a unique and stress-free way of getting to know one another without even intending to do so. The two spend the majority of the book conversing through text messages – sometimes silly and sometimes serious.

One new aspect to this book (as opposed to Kinsella’s other books) was Kinsella’s use of “footnotes” – which Poppy found fascinating thanks to her fiance’s family’s (scholarly types) frequent references to footnotes. Under the assumption that it will make her seem intelligent, she decides to use them throughout the book. As I was reading I’ve Got Your Number in e-book format, the footnotes were easy enough to flip through (all you have to do is tap the number and it takes you right to the corresponding footnote at the end of the chapter) and, although some most of the footnotes were pointless, they were clearly a comic relief (not that this book really needed it – the entire book is essentially comic relief to the dramatized life Poppy lives).

That same attitude towards her future in-laws is also a point of dissension, given that the story is supposedly being told from Poppy’s point of view. She [Poppy] makes a point of telling the reader that she doesn’t really know anything about the topics her fiance and his family discuss and, when they ask her questions, she bemoans that she needs a dictionary to know what they’re talking about. Yet, interspersed throughout the book, Poppy uses words like “tetchily,” “rictus,” “riposte,” and “anodyne”. Clearly, Poppy does have some mastery of uncommon vocabulary – which contradicts her statement.

Like most of her books, I’ve Got Your Number is a light-hearted, quick read that keeps you entertained. Though it isn’t intended to be a thought-provoking book that “makes a statement”, the fact that the majority of the conversations Poppy has are through e-mail and texting via that cell phone is a testament to the times – hitting the mark for the way many friendships and relationships are facilitated these days. I’ve Got Your Number is a novel for this generation.

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