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Book Review – Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Book Description:

Sophie Kinsella has dazzled readers with her irresistible Shopaholic novels—sensational international bestsellers that have garnered millions of devoted fans and catapulted her into the first rank of contemporary storytellers. Now her beloved heroine Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) returns in a hilarious tale of married life, toddlerhood, and the perils of trying to give a fabulous surprise party—on a budget!

Becky Brandon thought motherhood would be a breeze and that having a daughter was a dream come true: a shopping friend for life! But it’s trickier than she thought. Two-year-old Minnie has a quite different approach to shopping. Minnie creates havoc everywhere she goes, from Harrods to her own christening. Her favorite word is “Mine!” and she’s even trying to get into eBay! On top of everything else, Becky and Luke are still living with her parents (the deal on house #4 has fallen through), when suddenly there’s a huge financial crisis.

With people having to “cut back,” Becky decides to throw a surprise party for Luke to cheer everyone up. But when costs start to spiral out of control, she must decide whether to accept help from an unexpected source—and therefore run the risk of hurting the person she loves. Will Becky be able to pull off the celebration of the year? Will she and Luke ever find a home of their own? Will Minnie ever learn to behave? And . . . most important . . . will Becky’s secret wishes ever come true?


I’ve been a fan of Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series ever since the very charming first book Confessions of a Shopaholic. But with this latest installment of Mini Shopaholic, I feel that Becky Brandon née Bloomwood has overstayed her welcome. Sophie Kinsella trots out all the same old, same old for Becky – and honestly – what I found cute about her in the first book, I just totally find annoying in this sixth book.

When I first met Becky, she was a fresh college graduate in her early 20s still finding her way in the world. It was easy to forgive her harmless lies, silly schemes, and laugh at her childish efforts to extricate herself from credit card debt, especially as Becky showed a lot of heart and backbone in the end. Rebecca Brandon is now supposedly a mature, married woman juggling a high-powered husband, a challenging 2-year-old toddler and a thriving career, but she’s still exactly the same flighty, shallow & thoughtless character, and it isn’t cute or funny anymore. Not only is she still in denial about her shopping addiction, she is still in the immature habit of weaving fantastical stories and continues to tell outright lies to her husband, family, friends and colleagues to get herself out of messy spots. How can Sophie Kinsella not allow her main character any sort of growth and development through the years? Where I used to laugh with Becky, I now find myself rolling my eyes in irritation.

My other problem with this latest in the series is that the plot is exceedingly thin and boring – the main points are: 1) Becky worries whether her daughter is spoilt while continuing to indulge in extravagant shopping excursions for the toddler, and 2) Becky tries to organize a surprise (and lavish) birthday party for her husband Luke even while on a non-existent budget (and while the entire country goes into recession). Becky being Becky, she basically muddles her way through and makes a mess of things before a surprising ‘fairy-godmother’ character appears to wave her magic wand and make everything all right again.

So, is there anything nice I can say about the book? Well yes, Sophie Kinsella still has the ability to write really funny comedic moments every now and then that can still make me giggle out loud (although that is few and far between on this book), and I did find myself looking at some minor characters in a new light – like the humble but fabulously wealthy aristocrat (and apparently sexy to the gays) Tarquin Cleath-Stuart (Remember him? He was Becky’s bumbling suitor in book 1 who married her roommate). I wouldn’t mind an off-shoot book where Kinsella concentrates on the Cleath-Stuarts at all (with a cameo from the designer Danny). Another character I’d like to learn more about is Luke’s estranged biological mother Elinor (who is shown in a more sympathetic light in this book).

But at this point, I think I’m done with the series, especially as the next book seems to have more of Becky flying back to the United States again while yet again escaping from learning any permanent life lessons. I foresee the same gags and money problems, and secrets blowing up in Becky’s face again. The only way that Sophie Kinsella can save the series for me right now is by sending Becky into shopaholic boot camp and have her character grow up for a change. Yes, we all love a flawed character, but we expect some change to occur in said character too.

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella is available on Amazon as a Kindle Edition ($9.99), Hardcover ($13.99), Paperback ($10.20) or Audiobook ($19.80).

You can also get the ebook for $9.99 everywhere else (Sony eBook Store, BooksOnBoard, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.)

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