• Janelis Medina

Confessions of a Shopaholic Review

Updated: Jan 31, 2019

by Sophie Kinsella

Published 2000

*Spoilers Warning*

When I first read this book, I thought someone must be reading my own personal confessions. I know we all know the feeling of walking into your favorite store and finding those perfect earrings or perfect pair of shoes and coming up with every justification in the book why you need them. “These earrings are just perfect - they are silver with blue gemstones and my favorite color is blue - these would go perfectly with that sweater my mom got me for Christmas - and those shoes over there would only complete the look - I have to buy them both!” After your purchase, there’s that feeling of euphoria that you treated yourself with 2 new beautiful items… that is until the credit card bill comes at the end of the month! Confessions of a Shopaholic humorously navigates Rebecca Bloomwood’s chaotic shopping addiction.

This story begins with Rebecca Bloomwood living in her friend’s flat as she works as a financial journalist for Successful Savings - which should be a joke considering she is thousands of dollars in debt due to her uncontrollable shopping addiction. Even though she is thousands of dollars in debt, this doesn’t slow down her shopping habits as the stores call to her as she walks by, enticing her to come in and splurge because she can always just open up another department credit card to pay for the purchases.

During one of her commutes to a conference, she notices a green scarf in the window of a Denny and George shop - which she immediately decides she HAS to have. She requests that they put on hold until the end of the day so she can get her credit card (whichever one isn’t already maxed out). In the middle of the conference, Rebecca realizes she won’t have time to run to the office and get her credit card to buy the scarf and asks her friend to lend some money, however her boss Luke Brandon overhears her asking. Rebecca feigns an excuse about a sick aunt in the hospital and being short on the funds to buy her a gift, when Luke gives her the remaining funds, wishing her aunt good health. It isn’t until later that Rebecca learns that not only is Luke is a rich bachelor, but is also a kind and generous man and they begin to harbor feelings for each other.

While she is successfully staying above all this debt on the surface, she is actually constantly pursued by Derek Smeath, the manager of her bank who is trying to get her to repay her overdraft (we’ve all been there at least once). She is always creative in her excuses to avoid him such as she has a broken leg or a dead aunt (I guess the aunt is her go-to excuse) until he realizes she is purposely avoiding him with no intention to pay off her debt. She tells people that Derek Smeath is a stalker so other people can also cover for her until he tracks her down while she is appearing on a talk show in order to confront her on her outstanding debt - she has nowhere to run now! Thankfully, she gets a slot on the show and meets with Derek to set up a plan for repayment. Luke and Rebecca become a couple as Derek makes it clear that he will be keeping an eye on her.

Final Rating: 7/10

This is just such a light fun read that is perfect for a day in the park to enjoy. I think everyone is always a little guilty of shopping outside your means here and there which like Rebecca, if not monitored, can quickly spiral out of control. What I love most about this book is it makes Rebecca such a relatable character and such a likable character and after a while, you begin to feel one of her friends. There were times when I was reading that I was just like “You don’t need another dress!! Walk away!!” I also had to appreciate the irony of the woman drowning under thousands of dollars of debt writing articles to help others with their own personal finances.

This was also made into a movie into a movie in 2009 starring Isla Fisher as Rebecca Bloomwood. While I do think she did a good job of showing Rebecca Bloomwood’s inner struggle with shopping, my favorite scenes being when she talks to the mannequins of department stores encouraging her to make a purchase, overall the movie is only okay. While it is humorous and has the most epic confrontation when Derek Smeath questions her live on television about her $16k of debt, it just doesn’t hold the same charm that the book holds. Sophie Kinsella is an author I really enjoy when I am looking for a romantic comedy book that I know will have some overall message (like be wary of overspending) but deliver it in a funny and light-hearted way.

I can’t give this book a 10 because I just don’t think this is the most complex novel with a deep hidden message. There is no character development really for anyone besides Rebecca, and even Rebecca’s character development is a little stilted. It doesn’t really do a good job rooting for Rebecca and Luke either so we don’t really become invested in them as a couple. It can also get repetitive when Rebecca (once again) makes another purchase or decision that the readers know will come back and bite her in the ass later on. You would think that having such crazy credit card debt and working for a finance magazine she might at some point slow down. Instead the only thing it seems she learned from the magazine is the word “investment” as she claims every single purchase she makes is some kind of investment. It is just unrealistic in reality that someone could be this vapid.

Even with its faults, I would still absolutely read this book again because it is not meant to be taken seriously, it is meant to be a fun read, and it is. The excuses Rebecca uses get evermore ridiculous and the situations she gets into are just hilarious. When she’s in meeting with other figures in finance, she just kind of pretends to go along as if she knows exactly what they are talking about. I would recommend this book to fellow shopaholics - may we all stay clear of Derek Smeath.

For those interested in this tale without acquiring thousands of dollars of your own credit card debt, this is available for purchase on Amazon in Paperback or via Kindle.

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