I have a horrible habit of seeing the film adaptation before reading the book, but in the case of Confessions of a Shopaholic, I managed to read the book first – and after reading it, it made me want to see the film asap! I’m a sucker for chick lit as well, so I was well impressed when my mum bought me the Sophie Kinsella hit for a holiday read the other year. I’ve only just got round to reading it again, because I have a real lack of books (somewhere in the house are all the ones I had growing up and as a teenager, mind).
Confessions of a Shopaholic revolves around the life of central character: Becky Bloomwood. She lives in a flat in fashionable Fulham with housemate and best friend, Suze. She’s a financial journalist and has a very unhealthy obsession with shopping.
In some ways, I think we can all relate to her character and from experience I know if a girl says she hates shopping, she’s generally lying. As soon as I have money, I can’t help but spend it: shoes, bags, lingerie, clothes, make up – I literally buy anything and everything! I don’t think I would ever go to some of the extents of Becky though – I would never let myself get into debt or struggle to make ends meet because I like to shop, but then I guess I’m not addicted, it’s just something I enjoy doing.
Suze is very much the opposite of Becky. Her family are wealthy and bought her the flat, but she’s switched on. Despite still having an allowance from her parents, she lives within her means and often questions decisions Becky makes regarding money matters. I’d like to think she’s like that friend we all have – that one voice you have to hear to push you in the right direction, although at times it may be hard to hear; she’s that one friend that helps you out in your greatest time of need.
Becky is a single lady, looking to meet that certain someone and the novel tells of all her relationship disasters. There’s Tom, a neighbour from childhood who Becky once rejected. There’s Tarquin, Suze’s cousin who turns out to be the 15th richest bachelor in the country and then there’s Luke Brandon (of PR company Brandon Communications) who Becky eventually spends the night with towards the end of the book. In some ways, it appears she wants a man to help her fulfil that ‘high life’ lifestyle she craves and needs someone who can afford to keep her habit going – and help out here and there with the bills! That, or she genuinely wants to change and needs a man able to tame her of her unhealthy obsessions.
The main plotline follows the life of Becky as she tries to juggle her shopping addiction with work and general day-to-day life. She knows she’s in financial trouble, but doesn’t know who she can confide in and instead keeps the secret from everyone. This proves difficult when bills and ‘urgent’ stamped letters arrive at the flat, but the more the lies are spread, the more danger she finds herself in. Bank manager Derek Smeath constantly tries to arrange meetings, regarding her troubles – but Becky comes up with excuse after excuse. Although towards the end she breaks-through and finally admits she would like his help. You can’t help but feel sorry for Becky throughout the novel, although it’s obvious if she had some self-control she wouldn’t be in the predicament.
I thoroughly recommend Confessions of a Shopaholic, it had me laughing throughout, as well as sympathising. I’ve got another in the Sophie Kinsella ‘Shopaholic’ series and need to purchase the rest really. She also writes under the name Madeleine Wickham.
And I’ll leave you with a couple of my favourite lines:
I can’t cope with this anymore. It’s not fair. Why haven’t I got a boyfriend to buy stuff in Tiffany’s?
I have never spent so long getting ready for a date in my life. Never. The process starts at eight on Saturday morning... and only ends at 7:30 that evening
Rebecca Bloomwood advising the nation. And what are you advising them on? Finance! You are advising the British public on finance!