Sunday, January 23, 2011

Books I've Read: Mini Shopaholic

I've adored Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series ever since a friend of mine introduced me to it. They're fun, easy-to-read books, and I thought Rebecca Bloomwood was charming and easy to relate to. Until now.

Sadly, I think Mini Shopaholic is proof that the adventures of Becky Bloomwood & co. need to end. In this installment, we find Becky, her husband, Luke, and their daughter, Minnie, living with Becky's parents. Every time they find a house to buy, the deal somehow falls through, and to make matters worse, the Bank of London has gone bust, causing a state of panic and forcing people to cut back on expenses. Of course, Becky is incapable of cutting back and decides instead to throw a vulgarly expensive surprise party for Luke (one that she can't afford), and hi-jinx ensue.

Becky's irresponsibility and impulsive nature could very easily be excused earlier on in the series: she's young and reckless, but she's also twenty-five, and very few of us have it totally together at that age. But when you're twenty-nine and married with a toddler, shouldn't you grow up just the teeniest bit? Isn't it time you carefully planned your finances and didn't make such expensive, impulsive buys? That's the big problem I had with this installment: Becky is no different now than she was in Confessions of a Shopaholic. She's still hopelessly addicted to shopping (as evidenced in the opening scene when her brat of a daughter wants an expensive toy pony and she relents), and when she finds herself in tricky situations, she lies and schemes instead of just coming clean and telling the truth. She's even diagnosed with a shopping addiction and agrees to therapy, but when the book ends, surprise, surprise! Her husband's PR company magically lands a movie-star client who wants him to work with her out in Los Angeles for a few months, so the whole lot of them decides to go, effectively excusing Becky from getting the therapy she needs. And when a rich benefactor decides to step in and pay for Luke's surprise party, Becky doesn't learn any sort of lesson regarding budgeting or fiscal responsibility.

Reading this book was maddening, which is a shame since I love this series, and adore Kinsella. Hopefully this will be the last of the Shopaholic books--I just can't stomach reading about a forty year-old Becky Bloomwood gallivanting around, buying over-priced clothes and trying to make some ridiculous fantasy come to life. I just can't.

I give it one star.


  1. I thought the book was cute, but not up to par with the rest of the series. I think I'm still peeved with the movie not being as close to the books. The first few books have a special place in my heart. I'm hoping Kinsella lets Becky live out her life not in the books anymore. I love her books under Madeleine Wickham - I'm hoping she releases more of those.

    P.S. - Thanks for the plug! :o)

  2. You're welcome! I actually like all the books in the series except for this one. In the other books, her behavior could easily be explained, but I think that now that she's a mother, she should grow up just a little. Like I said, I hope that this is the last book in the series, because I can't read about forty-year old Becky still acting like she did at 25.