Thursday, August 5, 2010

A shopaholic's guide to Sophia Kinsella

British author, Sophia Kinsella of Confessions of a Shopaholic fame, writes fairly prolifically in the chick-lit genre. Her witty voice can leave you rolling on the floor. Although the Shopaholic series struggles with being formulaic--really, can Becky Bloomwood really grow so much throughout one novel only to regress so badly for the next?--the rest of her novels each have a slightly different plot twist that leave you wanting to know what she will do to resolve the conflicts.

Personally, if the only exposure you've had to Sophia Kinsella is Confessions of a Shopaholic, then you're missing out on her best work. If you saw the atrocious excuse for a movie, then you really ought to give her a second chance.

"Where to start?" you ask. Never fear, this Wise Lady is here for you!

Confessions of a Shopaholic is Sophia Kinsella’s most famous work, I'll use a rating system of shopping bags. One shopping bag indicates a poor showing; five shopping bags indicate a glorious gluttony of pleasure.

Remember Me?

Basic premise: Lexi wakes up in a hospital room in a body that does not exactly appear to be her own with a life that surprises her. She was in a car accident, and cannot remember the last three years of her life. With a new husband, career, style and house, she must discover who she really is.

Unique plot element: Partial memory loss and the feeling that you’re living someone else’s life

Read it if: You think that a career can’t buy you happiness.

Don’t read it if: You’re offended by cheating.

What I think: Remember Me? was mostly entertaining because I really wanted to know what had happened to her in the time she had lost. I did enjoy the twisting turning tale that Kinsella sent her on. I didn’t really connect to the main characters, but that might be because she had a hard time connecting them to herself.

Rating: 3 out of 5 shopping bags

Can You Keep a Secret?

Basic premise: Because Emma Corrigan fears that she is about to die, she confesses some of her most embarrassing secrets to a stranger on a flight. The next day, she turns up at the office to learn that the man was no stranger; he was her new boss! Like a mirror to her face, she must confront her lifestyle of lying and learn from the hilarious experience.

Unique plot element: A world where your boss really knows who you are

Read it if: You do not mind laughing aloud! Seriously, I got stopped by a woman at the hair salon because I was laughing so hard. She wanted to know what I was reading so that she could buy it because I was clearly enjoying it so much.

Don’t read it if: You’re a joy kill? You only like serious books? I am honestly at a loss.

What I think: If you couldn’t tell, I loved this book! When friends ask for recommendations, I almost always suggest Can You Keep a Secret?. I honestly can’t think of a reason a man or woman wouldn’t enjoy this lark of a novel. It is Kinsella’s best comedic work.

Rating: 5 out of 5 shopping bags

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan

Basic premise: Reformed shopaholic Becky Bloomwood moves to Manhattan with her boyfriend Luke. Giving up her profitable career, Becky reverts to her old ways. She must find the perfect career for herself in order to set her life back in order, both personally and financially.

Unique plot element: Shopping in a fashion mecca

Read it if: You like fashion and designers. You yourself love to shop.

Don’t read it if: You do not like to see your favorite heroines revert. You do not care for frivolous spending.

What I think: This book was my favorite of the Shopaholic series. Becky’s struggles seem honest, if silly. More importantly, the way in which she sets her world aright seem completely attainable, unlike the original Shopaholic book. You will enjoy this bok!

Rating: 5 out of 5 shopping bags

Shopaholic Ties the Knot

Basic premise: Twice reformed shopaholic Becky Bloomwood gets engaged to her handsome boyfriend Luke. She finds herself in a pickle trying to plan her wedding in two places.

Unique plot element: Wedding drama and an evil MOG

Read it if: You like all things wedding.

Don’t read it if: You don’t think that weddings should be extravagant.

What I think: I thoroughly enjoyed this book because I love weddings. However, it lacked a bit of believability because the major drama should have been solved by a stronger more even handed Becky. She keeps reverting to her old ways!

Rating: 4 out of 5 shopping bags

Shopaholic and Sister

Basic premise: Becky Brandon (now married to Luke) returns from their extravagant ten month long honeymoon where money was no object, and she participated in a bit of secret spending. She has to come to terms with her new life with Luke. On top of it all, she finds out that she has a long-lost sister.

Unique plot element: Long-lost sister who is nothing like her

Read it if: You love decorating. You really like Becky Bloomwood Brandon and don’t mind seeing her regress.

Don’t read it if: You’re getting tired of Mrs. Brandon’s antics. They will wear thin by this point in the series if you’re not careful.

What I think: I wish I had stopped with Shopaholic Ties the Knot, but I really was enjoying Luke Brandon’s yummy nature. Unfortunately, he isn’t the focal point of the novel, and he has every right to be pissed that Becky wastes her money. Skip this book unless you just really have to know how it all turns out for the Brandons.

Rating: 2 out of 5 shopping bags

Shopaholic and Baby

I haven’t read this one because I was too tired of Becky Bloomwood, and my Shopaholic source—my mom—lost it. I didn’t feel like it was worth my effort after Shopaholic and Sister to go to the library to acquire the final book.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree, although if you've read the rest of the series, you may as well read Shopaholic and Baby. It's more of the same, but an entertaining couple hours nonetheless. :)