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Spent: Memoirs of a Shopping Addict Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 14, 2010
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Cardella, a former model, is a freelance writer in the areas of fashion, photography, and pop culture, but her résumé is rather peripheral to the main thrust of her memoir: her long and debilitating addiction to shopping. This subject has become quite hot lately, with other memoirists confessing their own addictions (not to mention the wildly popular Shopaholic novels by Sophie Kinsella); Cardella’s own story is interesting but ultimately adds little new insight to the subject. It’s the usual story: an addiction to shopping, the relentless acquisition of things she didn’t need (and often never wore or used), was both the result and further cause of problems in her personal life. Cardella openly describes the disastrous effects her addiction had on her life, but readers familiar with the subject may get a general feeling of déjà vu: this is a traumatic story but not a unique one. On the other hand, readers coming to the subject for the first time may be mesmerized by the very idea that you can become addicted to something as seemingly inconsequential as shopping. --David Pitt
"These are the confessions of a real shopaholic, riveting to read and painfully self-aware. Avis Cardella speaks truth to power--the power of delusional thinking that is peculiarly female in nature. As in: Never mind that I'm already 20 grand in Visa debt, I desperately need that Prada suit to make my life-to make ME-perfect. If this sounds scarily familiar, what you need even more desperately is a copy of Spent, right now." (author of I Don't: A Contrarian History of Marriage Susan Squire )
"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." (Women's Wear Daily Sarah Haight )
"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." (San Francisco Chronicle Malcolm Ritter )
"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." (The New York Times Sunday Book Review Caroline Weber )
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I've never been addicted to anything so nothing in the book hit on any nerves for me, although I...Read more