Author : Kevin Kwan
DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that this review and audio reading contains strong language – not for sensitive readers or listeners!
Sex and Vanity is the classic story of a girl from a highly traditional background, now growing up in modern mainstream society. She meets the intriguing and scrumptious-sounding George Zao while she is still in the process of figuring out who she is. A tale as old as time – great connection, bad timing. It’s easy to recognise the agonies of young love in their story, particularly when reading Lucie’s train of thought.
“Did he kiss me or did I kiss him? Fuck, I think I kissed him first. Why did I kiss him? Why oh why oh why? Did it really happen? How much did Charlotte see? Why did she show up at that very moment? Where is George now? What is he thinking right now? What must he think of me now? Did he kiss me or did I kiss him?”
Kwan’s writing is so fresh and simple. I love how he takes you straight to the heart of each character, with graphic descriptions that sometimes made me laugh out loud. Here’s one:
“…an Asian lady in her fifties…She was wearing a fuchsia sarong wrap dress and an enormous black-and-white-striped hat…..Charlotte paused, momentarily caught off-guard…Who was this curious woman with the flying saucer hat, too much eye shadow and quasi-English accent?”
For the society and fashion conscious, Sex and Vanity is littered with references to fashion history and popular brand names (I’m sure there is a fancier way to refer to them but I’m not a fashion brand kinda gal myself). I did enjoy the little foot notes at the bottom with more info for the less fashion conscious among us, from a brief reference to Stéphane Boudin, an interior designer to a Bond girl reference to a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Vogue fashion closet intern.
All in all, a light read and great fun. Highly recommended if you just want to get lost in a book and tune out the world for a while.
***** – Highly recommended
**** – A good, entertaining read.
*** – You might enjoy it, but it was not for me.
** – I only finished it because I can’t bear to leave books unfinished.