by Sophie Kinsella

February 2001
ISBN: 0-385-33548-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Dell Publishing
Trade Paperback

Becky Bloomwood is in a near-constant state of financial stress. Though she works as a financial journalist, she has no idea how to manage her own personal budget. Becky has never met a sale or deep discount that she can resist. Shopping is her hobby, her sport. Shopping exhilarates her as much as her job and lack of a boyfriend contribute to her boredom. Becky dresses in designer clothes and buys certain financial publications because they enhance her image. She is very superficial and coasts through life.

As a result of all the spending, Becky’s finances are in shambles. The creditors begin to circle her in the earliest pages of the book and Becky creates grandiose schemes and lies to avoid the vultures. Still, she cannot resist the designer clothes, the thrill of the shopping hunt. Attempts to save money result in her spending more and soon, Becky finds herself in a constant state of chaos. As she concocts more and more outrageous lies, she begins to face some truths about her happiness.

Eventually, Becky finds the strength to make some courageous changes in her life, even as she fights a serious attraction to Luke, who is as buttoned-up in personality and spending habits as Becky is free-spirited. Can she make the ultimate change to get her dream man?

Confessions of A Shopaholic is at times a disturbing portrait of a materialistic modern world and the heartwarming tale of a young woman in over her head. Becky manages to rise above some of her negative personality traits, becoming part Lucy Ricardo, part Bridget Jones and wholly amusing. As her schemes increase in scope and intensity, I found myself rooting for Becky to find her own way in life and discover that shopping is an activity and not a way of life. Ms. Kinsella has written a surprisingly thought provoking ‘beach read’. Her deft characterization of Becky and the many laugh out loud lines made this book great escapist fiction for me.

Reviewed in August 2003 by Bree.

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