Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mini Shopaholic Shows Becky as a Mommy Who Hasn't Lost Her Love for Shopping

Some books are sweat-inducing reads. For most people, the books in question are suspenseful thrillers full of fast-paced action and chilling scenes of terror.

For me, this occurs while reading the Shopaholic series. The series does not make for the heaviest reading; author Sophie Kinsella rarely (read: never) writes about current events or controversial issues. A word about shopping is, in fact, in the title of each book in the series. But the series produces such a reaction in me because of its subject matter, not in spite of it. Somehow, I always begin to panic when I read about poor Rebecca Brandon (nee Bloomwood)'s escapades.

Mini Shopaholic is the latest release in the series. This sixth book finds Becky happily married to Luke Brandon, and blissful in mothering their precocious toddler, Minnie. Oh, and living in her parents house. Money doesn't seem to be an issue; the family is simply "between" houses and about to move into a home they've purchased. But, as usual, nothing seems to work out for Becky. The deal falls through, she and Luke seem to be growing apart, and Minnie. Well, simply put, Minnie is a bit of a terror. She is banned from several Santas' villages over the holidays. She won't take no for an answer. And she's constantly begging for unneeded toys while they're shopping. To make matters worse, her sister comes home for a visit and announces her marriage to the neighbor, prompting a whirlwind of activity by Becky's mother and the neighbors.

And then there is the small problem of the financial disaster -- total wreckage of the Bank of London, with PR disastrously being handled by (you guessed it) Luke and Brandon Communications. (Note: I guess Kinsella DOES sometimes include current events AND controversial issues in her books!) In the midst of all this chaos, Becky decides to do something to pull her marriage back on track; she's throwing a party for Luke. And not just any party. THE party of the year. Nothing held back, pulling out all the stops to impress their ever-growing guest list. And it's a surprise. But they're in financial trouble. So she'll do it from the pence shop?

Kinsella is by turns hilarious and (see first paragraph) entirely panic-inducing. I think that I panic while reading about Becky because I feel a kinship with her. Not that I know what it feels like to spend thousands of dollars on clothes -- but I'm excited for her as she shops and discovers "finds" that she simply MUST have. When she gets herself in over her head, I wonder, Could that ever happen to me?!  The answer is, no. An educator's salary does not lend itself well to shopping at Alexander McQueen and Manolo Blahnik. But one can dream...

If you want to know what happens in the end, why, you'll have to read it for yourself. Read the first chapter of the book on Kinsella's website by clicking the "Extract" tab. In addition to the Shopaholic series, Sophie Kinsella is also the author of several standalone novels, all of which I've read and enjoyed. I'm especially a fan of  Twenties Girl, which I reviewed last year. Kinsella has also written several books under her real name, Madeleine Wickham. And yes, the Shopaholic was immortalized in a 2009 feature film. But as I've never seen it, I can't make recommendations.

Want to read more after indulging in that excerpt? Purchase Mini Shopaholic or any other book by clicking below, and throw some pennies towards this blog:

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