Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. No, it's not the most high-brow literature that I have ever consumed, nor is it the the most useless material I have ever read. This is the first in a series of many "Shopaholic" novels (there are five, at this point) that see Rebecca Bloomwood, financial journalist with the magazine "Successful Savings", try desperately to curb her shopping addiction which is leading her deeper and deeper into debt. She tries to quit cold turkey and ends up bingeing. She attempts to make more money and ends up throwing money away. Credit card bills and letters from the bank arrive and she tries every possible method of ignoring them - tossing them (still sealed) into a garbage truck passing by, collecting them (unopened) in a drawer in her bedroom, shredding them in the office paper shredder. Surprisingly, none of these methods work, and the banks hunt her down. Without saying too much, things do work out surprisingly well for Rebecca by the end of the book, but she does have to work for (almost) all of it.
As I was looking for an image of the cover, I came across this blog in which the writer, Amy, makes an interesting point. Well, actually, she makes a few interesting points, but I'm not so sure about the one that compares Rebecca to the apostle Paul... The point that I'm talking about is the aside that Amy makes when she mentions that if Shopaholic was a Christian work of fiction, she would have her life completely sorted out - she wouldn't be addicted to shopping anymore, she'd magically come into heaps of money, and she'd live happily ever after with her charming millionair husband. The fact that this series continues suggests, perhaps, that Rebecca's (fictional) life does not follow that pattern. The book may be about the mundane and frivolous experiences of a chronic shopper, but the experience of addiction is a common one. Kinsella writes about a fictional character who lives with very real problems and fears - and who knows that while some people have life handed to them on a silver platter, that's one thing you can never count on. Grow up, open the envelope, and start dealing with life.
Besides the fact that there may actually be meaning in this book, it's a lot of fun to read, and I read it cover to cover in just a few hours. I may or may not take the next one out of the library for my trip to Texas next week. :)