As I had mentioned in a previous post, I’ve challenged myself to completing a series – something I can’t seem to recall that I’ve ever done! Call it lack of interest, declining excitement, or plain old commitment issues, over the years I’ve found that I just can’t get through a series! I had picked Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series and now that I’m 3 books into the series I figured I’d put together a little compilation of my thoughts!
Confessions of a Shopaholic – Book 1
So I have to admit, I had already read this book back when it first came out and I’m pretty sure this book introduced me to the lighthearted genre of Chicklit. I decided to re-read it, you know, just to be thorough.
The book follows the financially unsteady life of Rebecca (Becky) Bloomwood who is a writer for a financial magazine (oh the irony). Becky can’t seem to say no to things she very well can’t afford and her way of dealing with her mounting bills is shove them in her underwear drawer. Enter Derek Smeath, the bank manager who finally wants to set things straight with Becky’s financials and cue the rollercoaster ride that Becky goes through to avoid him. Somewhere along the way, enters a highly successful entrepreneur, Luke Brandon, who takes a liking to Becky and her odd ways. Becky seems to have this whole “dodge Mr. Smeath and continue my uncontrollable spending” until she doesn’t and ends up hiding away at her parents place. While her life is falling apart, she ends up writing a freelance piece on how a large bank robbed her neighbours of a huge financial windfall which does so well that it leads to a segment on national TV where she’s pit up against Luke Brandon himself who just so happens to be representing that bank! Anyhow, all ends well and Becky was such a hit that she ends up having her own standing financial series on the show which earns her a bit more money. Eventually, she’s able to pay off her bills and everything seems to end ok. Lesson learned … time to move on… but then I realized there’s another 6 books like this haha!
I thought the book was a quick paced read (perhaps because I had already read it and watched the movie!) I must say that I couldn’t really relate to her need to spend – do I like buying stuff, sure I do, I’d be lying if I said I don’t! But to shop to that excess where you can’t just walk by a store without going in and buying something is a bit extreme. I really do feel she has an addiction – there’s probably a rehab facility that can help with that … right?
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan – Book 2
In this book Becky and her new boyfriend, Luke, move to Manhattan so that Luke can expand his business. Becky has some great prospects in Manhattan as well for her work so the two of them decide to go there for a few weeks to check out opportunities for Becky while Luke continues to establish his businesses roots in Manhattan. Becky of course sees this trip a little differently where she able to explore the ample shopping opportunities sprinkled with a little bit of prospect searching. I kind of felt like there should have been a Shopaholic Book 1.5 because it was a very quick transition from starting to properly date Luke to getting ready to move abroad with him. Maybe that the completely risk-averse voice that I have been “blessed” with speaking, but it was a bit too quick (perhaps because I literally read the books one after another). Had I left some time in between, I might have felt psychologically that enough time had passed.
In this book we continue to see how creative Becky can get in justifying her spending where we find her buying things because their need could arise down the road and she’s just being prepared. We’re also introduced to Luke’s stone cold mother and we get a small glimpse of another side of Becky – one that stands up for herself and comes off to be slightly more mature than her childish shopping and spending habits make her out to seem. You get a better picture of her genuine care for Luke and as he suffers a bit of business related drama, you start thinking “hey, maybe there are more sides to this character”…
This book was a bit ho-hum for me. I still don’t feel I’m able to relate to Becky and while there are some laugh-out-loud moments, overall, I was a bit underwhelmed by this one.
Shopaholic Ties the Knot – Book 3
I was excited to read this book because it arrived at the library just in time for my 1-year wedding anniversary. I was excited to live through another wedding experience with Becky but what I was left feeling was major withdrawal from my own wedding and a lack-luster experience with Becky’s latest adventure ..
With things going well in New York, this episode has Becky’s best friend ready to walk down the aisle with her boyfriend (and distant cousin), Tarquin. Of course, this is not the highlight of the book because our very own Becky gets engaged! While Becky’s spending patterns are still something left to be desired, in this book we learn about her inability to face things head on! I don’t know what annoys me more about Becky – her inability to curb her spending or her constant strategy of avoidance.
Becky’s soon to be mother-in-law all of a sudden takes an interest in Becky and her upcoming nuptials and hires a wedding planner to plan the most extravagant wedding for the couple. Meanwhile, back in England, Becky’s mom has gone straight into party-planner mode and is also making arrangements for Becky’s big day which just so happens to be on the same day.
We follow Becky as she plays both sides of the coin and just can’t put her big girl panties on to tell one side or the other what kind of wedding she actually wants – she doesn’t want to let anyone down. Becky gets up to her normal antics and comes up with an elaborate way to try and accommodate both sides.
As I re-read this part of my post, I see how all of a sudden I’ve turned into a bitter person haha! I feel like I’ve picked the wrong series to commit to … I just can’t relate to Becky and her inability to be a big girl. She lives in a fantasy world for the most part and it seems like “real life” just doesn’t exist for her. I’m sure I’m just reading too much into this character – I mean I don’t expect too much substance for what’s supposed to be a light-hearted read, but when the premise of each book explores the same story line, it becomes harder to continue to enjoy the series.
I hope Kinsella is able to conjure up some more interesting story lines for the following 4 books …