(Published as Shopaholic Abroad in the UK)
by Sophie Kinsella, contemporary (2002)
Delta, $10.95, ISBN 0-385-33588-1
These two books are about Rebecca Bloomwood, a shopaholic stumbling her way into glamor. There's a third book coming out soon in July in the UK, where Bex ties the knot with her millionaire boyfriend, but I look forward to that book as much as I look forward to a prolonged affliction of hives.
In book one, Confessions, I'm charmed by the first few chapters. Rebecca "Bex" Bloomwood just cannot stop shopping, even when the bank is chasing after her. In book one, she stumbles and shops her way through bankruptcy as she tries to get more money to finance her sprees. Hey, I tell myself, I spend too much on stuff every month too (guess what stuff), so I can understand.
But Sophie Kinsella is like a bad stand-up comedienne who doesn't know when to stop even when all she has is one single joke she tells and retells to death. Bex just cannot stop shopping even when the world is coming down around her. This is the one single joke the author will repeat in two books and will no doubt continue to do so in book three.
What happened to character development? In book two, the story starts off with yet another series of missives from banks and creditors, and Bex is still foibing the same "hee hee" airheaded excuses to keep them at arm's length. By the end of book one, she gets a plum new job that gives her a bigger salary (whether she gets the job by luck or by her own abilities is still up in the air), and in book two, gee, she still hasn't gotten a clue in her air-filled head.
To top off the insult, we have handsome millionaires chasing her and she going "Omigosh, shall I? Shall I?" in that typical "Don't I look like Brigette Jones, suckers?" way that makes me scream for someone to dab this stupid wench in barbecue sauce and toss her into a pit of rabid rabies-carrying pit bull terriers.
So, okay, the first few chapters of Confessions are cute, but as the author continues flogging her dead horse of a joke, things become really painful. Maybe with the royalty checks she's been getting, Ms Kinsella can spend some time and shop around for some new ideas, hmmm?
Rating: 51 for Confessions and 16 for Manhattan - lots and lots of points deducted for Manhattan for not knowing when a novelty is no longer a novelty
Confessions Of A Shopaholic at Amazon.com
Confessions Of A Shopaholic at Amazon UK
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan at Amazon.com
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan at Amazon UK
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