The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic #1) by Sophie Kinsella Book Review

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Title: The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Pages: 369
Publisher: Dell Publishing Company
Publication date: 4th November 2003 (first published 2000)
Genre: fiction

About the book
Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighbourhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it—not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. And lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from the bank—letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read. She tries cutting back. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something . . . just a little something.

Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life—and the lives of those around her—forever.

The Shopaholic series is one that's been around forever (seriously, like 20 years!) but it's one I've never delved into, until now. I watched the movie years ago so I kinda knew the basics on the story and what to expect, but the books do differ quite a lot from the film, which is loosely based on books 1 & 2, but even then, the plot for the movie has been heavily modified so if you have seen the movie, just know that the books - in my opinion - are much better than the film.

The characters were really well written and I found Becky quite funny, if not extremely irresponsible for a 26 year old living in London, but it's one of those books that you go into knowing it's going to be a bit over dramatic and comedic, and that is certainly reflected in Becky's character. I couldn't relate to her character at all and her behaviour towards debt is ridiculous, but I did find her quite charming and the way she justified her shopping was hilarious in places.

I didn't completely love the way this book was written and was actually one of the poorer written books I've read this year, but then again, I've gotta remember that this book was written 20 years ago. It did come across quite 12-year-old's-diary-entry at some points and considering Becky is a 26 year old adult living independently in London (albeit with help from a friend), it was a bit of a contrast and at times she came across a bit childish given her age.

I will say this book has aged quite a bit for two reasons, the first being the fashion choices (Becky's biggest downfall is clothes shopping), and the second being the whole bank manager situation and the way that banks used to interact with their customers - obviously, everything is done online now and I can honestly say I've never asked to go into a bank for a scheduled appointment with my bank manager to discuss my finances. I'm not sure if this aspect has been over-emphasised, or if this is genuinely how things used to happen 20 years ago, but it did make the book feel a bit dated.

Overall, this wasn't a bad book, but I also wasn't completely sucked in. I liked Becky and found her funny and charismatic, and I will continue with the series, but I'm not in a mad rush to do so.

Verdict: ★★★

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