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Friday, December 17, 2010

'Mini Shopaholic' Shopaholic #6 by Sophie KINSELLA

Received from the publisher

From the BLURB:

Nothing comes between Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) and her bargains. Neither act of God nor budget crunch can shatter her dreams of wall-to-wall Prada. Every milestone in her well-shopped life (travel, long-lost sister, marriage, pregnancy) inspires new vistas to explore in the name of retail therapy. But now she faces her greatest little challenge yet: Becky’s two-year-old daughter, Minnie.

While motherhood has been everything Becky dreamed it would be—Baby Dior, Little Marc Jacobs, and Dolce & Gabbana for toddlers—adorable Minnie is wreaking havoc everywhere she goes, from Harrods to her own christening. Her favourite word is “MINE!” and her penchant for Balenciaga bags, Chanel sunglasses, and online purchases has no rival under age five.

Becky is at her wits end. On top of this, she and her husband Luke are still living with her parents. Thankfully it appears house buying attempt number four is a go! Until a huge financial crisis causes panic everywhere, and nobody wants to shop—not Becky’s personal shopping clientele, not her friends, nobody. And with Luke in the doldrums, it’s time for Becky to step in—with a party: A surprise birthday party for Luke (on a budget) is the perfect antidote to everyone’s woes. At first.

Sophie Kinsella is the pseudonym of Madeleine Wickham, and author of the ridiculously popular ‘Shopaholic’ series. So popular in fact, that the first book ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ (‘The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic’) was turned into a movie in 2009.

In ‘Mini Shopaholic’ Becky Bloomwood is learning about the curveballs and pitfalls of motherhood amidst the recession; she’s trying to pinch pennies but still determined to throw her husband, Luke, a birthday-bash he’ll never forget. Between celebrity super-nannies and getting booted out of Santa’s Grotto, Becky and co have their work cut out for them. And Becky’s own little terror is not making life any easier – Becky’s going to have to learn how to pry the Balenciaga bag out of Minnie’s sticky little hands. . .

‘Mini Shopaholic’ is the sixth book in the series. I was reading ‘Mini’ as a stand-alone, having never read Kinsella’s previous instalments. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything from previous books, because I got the impression that the addition of Minnie to Becky’s life has been like a door opening in the series. I felt that motherhood was one task Becky had never handled, nor been prepared to handle. Kinsella is writing about motherhood from the perspective of a woman who is still growing and learning herself.

Becky’s penny-pinching is both hilarious and cringe-worthy. She barters with her husband and tries to justify shopping for Baby Dior. Becky certainly lives up to the series title – she is a shopaholic of epic proportions and a seemingly bottomless pit of sales and ‘two-for-ones’. Her shopping frenzy could have made Becky come across as vain and flighty, but Kinsella writes the double-edged sword and shows how much stress Becky puts herself under with her lying and secret stash of purchases. In the end you feel just a little bit sorry for Becky and her habit.

But above all else Becky is likable. Underneath the shopping frenzy and frazzled mummy she is an endearing bosom buddy to read. Becky is very relatable on a number of levels – as a first time mother drowning in toddler tantrums, a wife eager to please her hubby and a career-driven woman afraid of the big C-B (cut back) in the GFC (global financial crisis).

I was suspiciously endeared to Becky’s little darling, Minnie. Yes, she has a catch-call of “MIIIIIINE!” that will make you cringe, and she makes a scene at Santa’s Grotto that will have you considering tying your tubes. . . but I actually think that Kinsella could have pushed Minnie to be a little more awful. As it was, I found myself chortling through so many of Minnie’s tantrums and Becky’s mortified-mummy scenes that I liked Minnie for her comedic timing more than I hated her bratty ways.
“Nanny?” Mum’s voice is instantly sharp. “What nanny? What are you talking about?”
She manages to make ‘nanny’ sound like ‘serial killer’.
I hardly dare look at her.
“We just thought. . . it might be a good idea, to try and get some expert help. . .” I cough. “I mean. . .”
“Minnie’s spoiled,” puts in Luke flatly. “She needs some structure and regulations.”
Mum looks mortally offended.
“She’s not spoiled by you, Mum, obviously,” I add hurriedly. “It’s just. . . they have these amazing people called Ultimate Nannies who help to raise a well-balanced, accomplished child. They’re qualified in martial arts and everything.”
I was very impressed with my most foray into the zany world of Shopaholics. Becky is an endearing and ludicrous heroine who is learning to live with life’s imperfections. . . an hilariously uplifting summer-read.

5/5

2 comments:

  1. Great review! I keep wondering if I should read this series, glad to see you enjoyed it!

    I didnt understand one thig... she has one or two kids?? whose POV is the story told from?? the quote you added confused me LOL

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  2. @ Larissa - she has one kid, a toddler. And it's told from Becky's perspective. I kept hearing good things too, glad to read it lived up to the hype.

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