Confessions of a Shopaholic
Sophie Kinsella. Dial Press, $14 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-385-33548-5
Add this aptly titled piffle to the ranks of pink-covered girl-centric fiction that has come sailing out of England over the last two years. At age 25, Rebecca Bloomwood has everything she wants. Or does she? Can her career as a financial journalist, a fab flat and a closet full of designer clothes lessen the blow of the dunning letters from credit card companies and banks that have been arriving too quickly to be contained by the drawer in which Rebecca hides them? Although her romantic entanglements tend toward the superficial, there is that wonderful Luke Brandon of Brandon Communications: handsome, intelligent, the 31st-richest bachelor according to Harper's and actually possessed of a personality that is more substance than style. Too bad that Rebecca blows it whenever their paths cross. Will Rebecca learn to stop shopping before she loses everything worthwhile? When faced with the opportunity to do good for others and impress Luke, will she finally measure up? Rebecca is so unremittingly shallow and Luke is so wonderful that readers may find themselves rooting for the heroine not to get the man--although, since Shakespeare's time, there's rarely been any doubt concerning how romantic comedies will end. There's a certain degree of madcap fun with some of Rebecca's creative untruths; when she persuades her parents that a bank manager is a stalker, some very amusing situations ensue. Still, this is familiar stuff, and Rebecca is the kind of unrepentant spender who will make readers, save those who share her disorder in the worst way, pity the poor bill collector. (Feb. 13) Forecast: This is a well-designed book, with a catchy magenta spine, and a colorful and kinetic double cover--which will attract many browsers. Major ad/promo, including national NPR sponsorships, will enhance sales, despite the novel's flaws.
Reviewed on: 02/05/2001