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Spent: Memoirs of a Shopping Addict Hardcover – May 14, 2010
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"Cardella, now in her late 40s, has an elegant, serious voice in Spent; a bauble-decked shopaholic straight out of a frothy chick lit novel, she's not. Clothes...are described earnestly, and she casts the fashion industry...in an occasionally deeply unflattering light. But Spent is less an indictment of an industry as a whole and more an examination of Cardella's own vulnerability to its particular pitfalls: insecurities placated by dressing well and buying luxe, as well as an exhausting run with a fast crowd."―Sarah Haight, Women's Wear Daily
"In this intimate and revealing portrait, Avis Cardella unapologetically invites us to bear witness to the devastating effect that her mother's sudden death had on her life, and the ensuing serious shopping addiction that temporarily took away her fragility and numbness and bolstered her shaky sense of self. It came with a very high price, however. Spent is a cautionary tale for the millions of women who try to build a sense of themselves based on fashion or images presented in the media--and don't realize that 'in the process of trying to create a new self, another self that is more central may be annihilated'."―April Lane Benson, Ph.D., author of To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop
"For anyone who has felt the thrill of snapping up a bargain or buying something extravagant, this glimpse of the far side of shopping's emotional kicks can be fascinating."―Malcolm Ritter, San Francisco Chronicle
"bracing... Avis Cardella's "Spent" relates how the author's "compulsive shopping habit" pushed her to the brink of financial and existential bankruptcy. This riveting, painfully candid memoir exposes the dark side of the belief that we are what we wear."―Caroline Weber, The New York Times Sunday Book Review
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Top Customer Reviews
I could not put this book down!
But (and of course this is one of the book's main themes), a life of privilege-- the house in the Hamptons, the parties, the glowing skin, the eighty Cosabella thongs--happiness does not make, and her honest attempts to portray that deserves mention. And at least she doesn't fabricate situations for dramatic purposes. She simply tells her story, unusual in an age when memoirists all too often present fiction as fact. She also deserves praise for writing about shopping addiction in the first place, especially as the disorder is given little credence as a subject worthy of exploration. Is it because women are primarily the ones afflicted? Except for the occasional feature on Oprah, the culture marginalizes what it deems this and other "women's issues." By the end I did feel more sympathy than I was able to muster at the beginning; I just wish the writing itself had been more compelling. I was left feeling like I'd read a conversational magazine article more interested in presenting information than captivating readers with an original voice.
This memoir is beautifully and honestly written. She makes no excuses and places no blame on others. She makes choices based on her need to anesthetize her feelings about her loss. She becomes involved with rich, powerful men and enters the world of freelance fashion writing, while climbing the ladder of the rich and famous, spending all she has and then more while she seeks to numb her grief.
The author carefully addresses her different relationships and how they each served a purpose. Her downward spiral takes a couple of decades and her uphill climb is a process.
As our country is pushed into recession, "Spent" is written in a timely manner. Although full of designers the average woman may have heard in passing but would not be able to identify, the reader can identify with loss and searching for healing.
I really enjoyed the book. The author has a unique voice and writes with feeling and reason. She is able to connect her ideas and experiences clearly and finds healing and change within herself. She admits to slipping along the way, but her strength to admit her own choices are to blame is empowering.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Cute and funny book to relax or to motivate you! Very funny parts in the book and is fun to just read by the pool!Published 22 months ago by Jac+Mac
Though the writing is sharp and clear, I just couldn't bring myself to give a damn about this woman. Read morePublished on January 14, 2014 by Bibliofiend
The first few times through the travail of recognizing one really is a shopping addict are enlightening and informative with the combination of personal anecdote and somewhat... Read morePublished on March 21, 2013 by Liz Dunbar
I'm surprised by the mixed reviews of this book as I really enjoyed it.
I've never been addicted to anything so nothing in the book hit on any nerves for me, although I... Read more
I think people need to take responsibility for their own actions and choices. So if you are that insecure about yourself to have buy things that are well over your means, then... Read morePublished on July 1, 2012 by just me
An excellent, 'must read' book; focusing as it does on both social milieu and inner causal factors, it moves the flashlight focus, accurately unto: "An Examined Life",... Read morePublished on November 27, 2011 by pythagoras
If you're struggling with a shopping addiction, you will face yourself on these pages. For everyone else, this book isn't particularly special or a must read. Read morePublished on November 5, 2011 by Amanda Chacon
I'm glad I got it from the library. It's just bad. I can't even finish it. I can't feel anything for the author. Read morePublished on May 8, 2011 by Tree Hugger