Becky’s One Hundred and Seventy-First Book Review: “Mini Shopaholic” by Sophie Kinsella

“Mini Shopaholic” by Sophie Kinsella is the sixth book in the Shopaholic series where Becky is facing her wildest challenge yet – a toddler. It definitely makes for an interesting read to observe Becky as a mother. In a lot of ways, Becky Brandon née Bloomwood has always been a bit childish herself and part of what makes her so charming is her innocence and imagination. For example, she frequently finds herself swept away by her own daydreams. But there are some things that she does that make you question how well Becky would do having a whole other person completely dependent on her to exist. That being said, Becky does her best at being a mom and it is really entertaining to see all the challenges she faces with Minnie. Watching Luke try to juggle two shopaholics is even more enjoyable.

The book opens on Becky out Christmas shopping with her two-year old daughter, Minnie. Like her mother, Minnie is determined to get what she wants, especially when it comes to shopping. While fighting with Minnie about buying a toy pony Becky finds herself with an unwanted audience. In order to save face in front of a judgmental parent, Becky quickly determines that Minnie can buy the pony if she uses her own pocket money. After explaining the whole concept of saving up money to buy things you want, Becky tells Minnie that she can buy the pony but that she’ll have used all her pocket money up. Then the sales woman tells Becky that the pony is one of a set and asks if she wants the other one. Of course the judgmental parent observes all of this and makes a comment about how it is too bad that Minnie already spent her pocket money. “…she says to Minnie with one of those tight, unfriendly smiles which proves she never has any fun or sex. You can always tell that about people, I find.” (Mini Shopaholic, pg 14). I love how Becky reacts to such things. Instead of giving up on this, Becky explains to Minnie how overdrafts work and proceed to buy the pair of ponies based off this idea. Shopaholic in training.

In addition to dealing with the trials of raising a mini shopaholic, there is a financial crisis going on in England during “Mini Shopaholic” and because of this, everyone is being careful with their money. The entirety of the population of England is cutting back – including the Bloomwood family. It’s pretty funny reading about the challenges that everyone finds themselves in during “Mini Shopaholic”. At one point Becky’s mom, Janice, Becky, and Jess go shopping together at the pound shop and Becky finds herself in awe of her ever-thrifty sister, Jess. “I stare at her, gobsmacked. In fact, to be honest I feel a teeny bit affronted. Here we all are, feeling really virtuous because we’re shopping in the Pound Shop. And Jess has to trump everyone by not shopping at all, ever. That’s so typical of her. Next she’ll probably invent some form of anti-shopping. Like antimatter, or antigravity.” (Mini Shopaholic, pg 151). Becky’s reaction is after Jess reveals that she has begun bartering for goods or services when she needs them instead of spending any money.

Without giving anything away, I will say that at one point in “Mini Shopaholic” Becky finds herself in a rather humiliating situation. “…I’ve never felt so humiliated in my whole entire life.
Actually, on second thought, maybe I have. But this is definitely equal with all those other times.” (Mini Shopaholic, pg 297). I love this. Becky is really funny but also she speaks the truth. She constantly finds herself in embarrassing situations and always manages to save face somehow.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely – this book was just as much fun if not more so than the earlier books in the series. Watching Becky Brandon née Bloomwood grow as a character first into a girlfriend, then into a fiancée, then into a wife, and then into an expectant mother, it’s been really entertaining. Becky is full of life and wherever she goes, hilarity ensues. Reading about her dealing with a two-year old version of herself is really hilarious. I love the series and I am eager to read the next book in the series “Shopaholic to the Stars”.

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Becky’s One Hundred and Sixty-Fifth Book Review: “Shopaholic Takes Manhattan” by Sophie Kinsella

“Shopaholic Takes Manhattan” by Sophie Kinsella is the second book in the Shopaholic series and it is just as wonderful as the first. Rereading this series reminds me why I fell in love with Sophie Kinsella’s writing in the first place. Her books without fail make me laugh aloud, no matter how many times I have read the book previously. I must have read the Shopaholic series at least five times and I still found myself giggling at the crazy escapades that Becky Bloomwood goes on.

SPOILER ALERT: I’M ABOUT TO TALK ABOUT THE END OF THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SHOPAHOLIC SERIES

When we last left Becky Bloomwood in Confessions of a Shopaholic, she had taken a new job as a financial advisor on a television show, Morning Coffee and she had recently begun dating Luke Brandon. At the beginning of “Shopaholic Takes Manhattan” Becky is amped up about her new career in television and still happily dating Luke Brandon. She has taken on a ‘philosophical’ attitude towards her career. ““People who want to make a million borrow a million first.”
Honestly, I must have a naturally entrepreneurial mind or something, because as soon as he said it, I felt this amazing chord of recognition. I even found myself murmuring it aloud. He’s so right. How can you expect to make any money if you don’t spend it first?” (Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, pg 15). I loved this. The Becky Bloomwood philosophy: if you want to make money, you have to spend it. A lot.

I find myself able to relate to Becky pretty well on most accounts. The biggest change you would have to make is trade out clothes/shoes for books. Replace shoes with books in the following quote and you’re describing me, Becky Bentrim. “What is it about shoes? I mean, I like most kinds of clothes, but a good pair of shoes can just reduce me to jelly. Sometimes, when Suze isn’t at home, I open my wardrobe and just stare at all my pairs of shoes, like some mad collector.” (Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, pg 17). It’s true. I have an addition to books. And it is reflected so well in Becky Bloomwood’s addiction to shoes and clothes.

I really enjoy how the Shopaholic series is written. There are letters throughout the novel along with the prose narrated by Becky. These letters are almost always replies to Becky Bloomwood’s absurd letters. When she discovered that she would have to deal with a new banker her reaction was pretty priceless. This is the reply she received when she wrote a letter to her former bank manager about her new bank manager. “I am sorry to hear that you are having such difficulties dealing with John Gavin. May I assure you that he is not a heartless android programmed to make your life miserable. If you ever were cast out on the street with nothing but a pair of shoes, I’m sure he would be concerned, rather than ‘laugh evilly and walk away’.” (Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, pg 131).

There is a part of me that finds Becky Bloomwood’s inability to take responsibility for her actions to be frustrating. At the same time, she is such a fun, relatable character that you cannot help but forgive her. Another thing that I really enjoy about the shopaholic series are Becky Bloomwood’s parents. They are so sweet and in a lot of ways remind me of my own goofy parents. “God, I love my parents. If I told them I’d committed murder they’d soon find some reason why the victim had it coming to him.” (Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, pg 225). Honestly, I really feel like my parents would do the same – supportive to an insane degree.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely – I love the shopaholic series. It is so much fun to just sit down and spend some time in Becky Bloomwood’s world. Her trials and tribulations make following her story ridiculously entertaining. She is such a fun character that you can’t help but want to be in her life learning about what crazy adventures she is going to go on next. Although Sophie Kinsella’s books fall into the category of ‘chick-lit’ I do believe that this series could be picked up and enjoyed by anyone.