Confessions of a Shopaholic
Ironically, Rebecca Bloomwood writes financial articles in a magazine called Successful Saving, although she could write an encyclopedia about all the things she doesn’t know about successful saving. “I shop, therefore I live,” is her motto. Or wait, maybe it was “I live, therefore I shop.” Shopping is her only hobby and a true addiction for her. Whenever something goes wrong she fixes her problems with a hefty dose of retail therapy; whenever anything is for sale she can’t resist. Two pairs of shoes, three pots of moisturizer, and wads of bills she can’t pay are all in a day’s work. No wonder her bank manager is stalking her.
She’s been in denial for a long time, but now it’s getting painfully obvious she needs to Cut Back or Make More Money. But she can’t fight her shopaholism and her career is stagnating. Even her attempt to bluff her way into a better job fails miserably. She knows two bachelors from the list of the fifty richest men in the country (how come I’ve never met any multimillionaires if they’re that easy to come by?) but she’s not likely to marry either one of them.
Her future is really bleak. She can do nothing to help herself. She’s destined to become bankrupt and homeless, to end up on the streets in despair. [sobbing].
Well, don’t be silly. Of course not. You can be quite certain she’s going to get at least three of the following:
- A scoop story;
- A respectable paycheck;
- A hold of herself;
- A nice guy; and
- An offer for a better job (at least a different job).
I don’t think I’m spoiling the story since the happy end is fairly easy to predict. Here’s the recipe: a ditzy, immature Londoner with career problems, an excessive fondness of clothes, and a tendency to avoid confronting her problems. Add a crush on a sensible, successful, impossibly rich PR-consultant Luke Brandon, some fashionable shop name-dropping, and lots of embarrassing situations. Let her struggle for two thirds of the book. In the last third a lot of things are suddenly, even a bit miraculously, going to get much better.
The romance stays lite because we don’t see too much of the hero. Luke Brandon could be a nice character but we don’t get to know him that well, which is a pity. His name was a bit unfortunate as I associated the names with Luke Perry/Dylan and Jason Priestley/Brandon, both of Beverly Hills, 90210 fame, and it was hard to picture him as an adult and not a teenager in high school.
If you’ve read Bridget Jones’s Diary, this book might be déjà-vu for you. Whether this is good or bad is ultimately up to you. Confessions of a Shopaholic is not as repetitive as Bridget Jones’s Diary was, but unfortunately, it’s not as funny either. We might laugh at Rebecca occasionally, but as she does not laugh much at herself we can’t laugh with her, and the humor doesn’t work as well as it could.
Maybe it’s just my strange sense of humor but I thought that the official letters from Rebecca’s creditors were the funniest bits in the book. Rebecca even gets some letters in Finnish. Never mind why she gets them, the bottom line is that nobody speaks that language. (Well, I do, but that’s beside the point.) I’m glad to tell you that the letters actually are written in correct Finnish – almost.
Confessions of a Shopaholic is an enjoyable, light little book. I liked Kinsella’s writing style, although I know all readers don’t enjoy the first person point of view. Some elements and plot twists are familiar from other books in this vein, but I haven’t seen shopping addiction taken this far in previous novels. However, if you didn’t care for Bridget Jones you probably won’t care about Rebecca either. The heroine is rather silly and mentions product names a lot, but that’s the whole point. If she behaved more reasonably and was less interested about shopping she would not be a shopaholic and this book would never have got past chapter one. It’s a quick light read, worth giving a try if the premise appeals to you, but clearly it’s not for everyone.