catapult magazine

catapult magazine


Sophia Kinsella's Fairy Tale Romance


Jul 11 2004
10:12 am

On July 5, I sat at Briar Ridge pool and sped-read through a light comic romance novel, Sophia Kinsella?s Can you Keep a Secret? and thoroughly enjoyed it. I found myself laughing out loud at many parts and making nearby sun-worshippers jealous that they couldn?t see the humor I was seeing. The day before, I had re-read some Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale by Frederick Beuchner and it struck me that his section on our love for fairy tales has something to do with the pleasure of this book. It?s a Cinderella story of an ordinary woman who is overlooked at work, but the prince (CEO) of her company takes notice of her and starts courting her. The pleasure is anticipating that all the ridicule she receives will eventually be squashed when her co-workers, as they brag and kow-tow before Jack, ironically realize they are clueless about his true favorites. It?s so thrilling and there?s a part when true colors of her parent-favored cousin come out because of Jack?s hidden, then exposed, identity. Buechner talks about how part of the magic of a fairy tale is in the end: with revelation of everyone?s true identity and the shame that brings on some and the justice and relief that brings to others. The joy we find in fairy-tales, says Beuchner, points to the hope we have that God will bring this type of ending to the story of our lives.

Another interesting part in this book was about truth-telling and identity. Emma, or whatever her name, hides a lot of facts about herself, and is like the Julia Roberts character in Runaway Bride, who has no confidence in stating her true preferences and actions because she?s afraid she?ll get rejected for them. Because she happens to tell Jack all her secrets before his identity is revealed, she is able to experience a new level of freedom in their relationship. He knows all the dirt and not only does he not reject her, it may be the reason he is drawn to her: she?s a real human, the whole package. ?What does truth have to do with anything?? is a question her roommate asks in the middle of the book. A lot, for Emmafinds that even when her secrets are embarrassingly revealed to the public, that the initial pain of it gives way to a new-found confidence in living a more authentically ?Emma? kind of life. Great fun to read and good material for the following themes: boundaries, truth-telling, the fairy-tale dynamics of the gospel.