Recently rereading Nicholas Sparks's Dear John got me thinking about all those other novels I've read that really, well, stuck. I read lots of books, and although most of them are at the very least entertaining, so many turn into mere background noise once the last page is turned. That having been said, I wanted to reread something memorable -- but also light after the all-too-sad Dear John -- and ended up turning to Sophie Kinsella's Confessions of a Shopaholic. This book is one of those conversationally written, candy-coated yet weirdly sympathetic stories that begs you to devour it in one gulp. That's how I read it the first time, one summer day when I was in college. What's the appeal? Well, although this tale is a cautionary one, it has the curious power to make me want to shop even more! Scary, I know. But I guess that's a testament to Kinsella's story telling prowess. As wrong as heroine Becky Bloomwood often is, you can't help but root for her. I guess that's because she represents fun and whimsy and possibility in a world that doesn't readily offer those things. Here are some passages that struck me in my rereading so far:
Becky Bloomwood on how she, the consummate shopaholic, ended up becoming a financial journalist: "Of course, being a financial journalist is not the career I always wanted. No one who writes about personal finance ever meant to do it. People tell you they "fell into" personal finance. They're lying. What they mean is they couldn't get a job writing about anything more interesting. They mean they applied for jobs at The Times and The Express and Marie-Claire and Vogue and GQ, and all they got back was "Piss off" ' (Kinsella 10).
Becky Bloomwood on the power of shopping: "That moment. That instant when your fingers curl round the handles of a shiny, uncreased bag - and all the gorgeous new things inside it become yours. What's it like? It's like going hungry for days, then cramming your mouth full of warm buttered toast. It's like waking up and realizing it's the weekend. . . . Everything else is blocked out of your mind. It's pure, selfish pleasure" (Kinsella 27).
Candy-coated maybe, but kind of realistic, no?