If you've ever paid off one credit card with another, thrown out a bill before opening it, or convinced yourself that buying at a two-for-one sale is like making
money, then this silly, appealing novel is for you. In the opening pages of Confessions of a Shopaholic
, recent college graduate Rebecca Bloomwood is offered a hefty line of credit by a London bank. Within a few months, Sophie Kinsella's heroine has exceeded the limits of this generous offer, and begins furtively to scan her credit-card bills at work, certain that she couldn't have spent the reported sums.
In theory anyway, the world of finance shouldn't be a mystery to Rebecca, since she writes for a magazine called Successful Saving. Struggling with her spendthrift impulses, she tries to heed the advice of an expert and appreciate life's cheaper pleasures: parks, museums, and so forth. Yet her first Saturday at the Victoria and Albert Museum strikes her as a waste. Why? There's not a price tag in sight.
It kind of takes the fun out of it, doesn't it? You wander round, just looking at things, and it all gets a bit boring after a while. Whereas if they put price tags on, you'd be far more interested. In fact, I think all museums should put prices on their exhibits. You'd look at a silver chalice or a marble statue or the Mona Lisa or whatever, and admire it for its beauty and historical importance and everything--and then you'd reach for the price tag and gasp, "Hey, look how much this one is!" It would really liven things up.
Eventually, Rebecca's uncontrollable shopping and her "imaginative" solutions to her debt attract the attention not only of her bank manager but of handsome Luke Brandon--a multimillionaire PR representative for a finance group frequently covered in Successful Saving
. Unlike her opposite number in Bridget Jones's Diary
, however, Rebecca actually seems too scattered and spacey to reel in such a successful man. Maybe it's her Denny and George scarf. In any case, Kinsella's debut makes excellent fantasy reading for the long stretches between white sales and appliance specials. --Regina Marler
From Publishers Weekly
Add this aptly titled piffle to the ranks of pink-covered girl-centric fiction that has come sailing out of England over the last two years. At age 25, Rebecca Bloomwood has everything she wants. Or does she? Can her career as a financial journalist, a fab flat and a closet full of designer clothes lessen the blow of the dunning letters from credit card companies and banks that have been arriving too quickly to be contained by the drawer in which Rebecca hides them? Although her romantic entanglements tend toward the superficial, there is that wonderful Luke Brandon of Brandon Communications: handsome, intelligent, the 31st-richest bachelor according to Harper's and actually possessed of a personality that is more substance than style. Too bad that Rebecca blows it whenever their paths cross. Will Rebecca learn to stop shopping before she loses everything worthwhile? When faced with the opportunity to do good for others and impress Luke, will she finally measure up? Rebecca is so unremittingly shallow and Luke is so wonderful that readers may find themselves rooting for the heroine not to get the manAalthough, since Shakespeare's time, there's rarely been any doubt concerning how romantic comedies will end. There's a certain degree of madcap fun with some of Rebecca's creative untruths; when she persuades her parents that a bank manager is a stalker, some very amusing situations ensue. Still, this is familiar stuff, and Rebecca is the kind of unrepentant spender who will make readers, save those who share her disorder in the worst way, pity the poor bill collector. (Feb. 13) Forecast: This is a well-designed book, with a catchy magenta spine, and a colorful and kinetic double coverAwhich will attract many browsers. Major ad/promo, including national NPR sponsorships, will enhance sales, despite the novel's flaws.
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