Becky’s One Hundred and Sixty-Ninth Book Review: “Shopaholic & Baby” by Sophie Kinsella

SPOILER ALERT: THIS IS THE FIFTH BOOK IN THE SHOPAHOLIC SERIES AND THEREFORE THERE ARE DETAILS ABOUT THE EARLIER BOOKS THAT MAY BE REVEALED

“Shopaholic & Baby” by Sophie Kinsella is the fifth book in the Shopaholic series starring the endlessly entertaining Becky Brandon (neé Bloomwood). I really enjoy these books and I would even if the main character and I didn’t share a first name. There is something about Becky’s world that is so much fun to dive into and get lost in for a while. Reading these books is such a comfort – it’s almost like meeting up with an old friend that still has the uncanny ability to make you laugh. That’s what Becky Bloomwood is to me.

At the end of “Shopaholic & Sister” Becky and Luke find out that they are expecting a baby. When “Shopaholic & Baby” begins Luke and Becky are at the doctor finding out if everything is okay with the baby.
“I take a deep breath. “Actually, I did have one question, Dr. Braine.” I hesitate. “Now that the scan results are OK, would you say it’s safe to … you know…”
“Absolutely.” Dr. Braine nods understandingly. “A lot of couples abstain from intercourse in early pregnancy.”
“I didn’t mean sex!” I say in surprise. “I meant shopping.”
“Shopping?” Dr. Braine seems taken aback.
“I haven’t bought anything for the baby yet,” I explain. “I didn’t want to jinx it. But if everything looks OK, then I can start this afternoon!”
I can’t help sounding excited. I’ve been waiting and waiting to start shopping for the baby. And I’ve just read about this fabulous new baby shop on the King’s Road, called Bambino. I actually took a bona fide afternoon off, especially to go!
I feel Luke’s gaze on me and turn to see him regarding me with incredulity.
“Sweetheart, what do you mean, ‘start’?” he says.
“I haven’t bought anything for the baby yet!” I say, defensive. “You know I haven’t.”
“So…you haven’t bought a miniature Ralph Lauren dressing gown?” Luke counts off on his fingers. “Or a rocking horse? Or a pink fairy outfit with wings?”
“Those are for it to have when it’s a toddler,” I retort with dignity. “I haven’t bought anything for the baby.”
Honestly. Luke’s not going to be a very good dad if he doesn’t know the difference.” (Shopaholic & Baby, pg 13). I loved this quote. It really paints the picture of just how quirky Becky is and how Luke reacts to her oddities.

In addition to expecting a baby, Luke and Becky are house hunting. Their escapades during this, more specifically Becky’s, are quite amusing. At one point they find their dream house and are preparing to make an offer when they find out the owners have already accepted another offer. Becky however, refuses to accept that. ““Luke!” I lift a hand. “Stay there!” I feel like Obi-Wan Kenobi telling Luke Skywalker not to interfere because he doesn’t understand the strength of the Force.” (Shopaholic & Baby, pg 39). She’s ridiculous in the best way.

One thing that is a consistent in “Shopaholic & Baby” is Becky’s complete denial about her pregnancy and what it means. Of course, I do not have any frame of reference personally, but I think that her attitude towards the whole situation is pretty amusing. “I mean, obviously I don’t mind. I’m creating a beautiful new human being and all that. But still. If I were God, I’d make it OK for pregnant women to have cocktails. In fact, I’d make it healthy to have cocktails. And your arms wouldn’t swell up. And there wouldn’t be any morning sickness. And labor wouldn’t exist….
Thinking about it, I’d pretty much have a whole different system altogether.” (Shopaholic & Baby, pg 59). Then again she shares a similar thought process about thirty pages later. “…To be honest, I’m in denial about this whole birth business happening at all. I’m half hoping they’ll invent some new labor-substitute device by the time I reach my due date.” (Shopaholic & Baby, pg 89). Although I have yet to be pregnant myself, I am pretty sure that if they did somehow come up with another system where labor is moot, I might be on board with that. Especially considering my pain threshold is almost nothing.

In addition to all the pre-baby drama and house hunting drama that Becky is experiencing in her life, it’s nothing compared with the fact that she believes that Luke’s ex-girlfriend who happens to be their OB-GYN is after Luke. Much hilarity ensues because of this. There’s also the very real fear that when you’re expecting that your husband will lose interest. But that doesn’t slow down Becky. I really like the fact that although the book is largely comedic in style that there are still many real emotions and real situations that Becky has to deal with. She just has a funny way of doing that. I think that is part of what makes Becky so relatable. She is coping with real situations, however exaggerated they may be.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. I am of the mindset that each Shopaholic novel is better than the next. But still, that doesn’t take away from the rest of the series. I love following Becky’s adventures and adding pregnancy and a potential extramarital affair just makes “Shopaholic & Baby” that much more exciting.

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