Newest Review: ... really relate the the main character as i myself am a shopaholic, so Sophie Kinsela had built a connection was right from the start. S... more
Retail Therapy Addiction
The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella
Member Name: luckyarchers
The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella
Date: 06/01/06, updated on 13/10/13 (888 review reads)
Advantages: Fast paced, laugh out load, humorous light read.
Disadvantages: Inflation will change the relevance of amounts of money mentioned.
I first read this book soon after it was published about 5 years ago. I still laughed at it the second time around. In it Rebecca tells us the story of her compulsive shopping habit. During some parts I cringed at her behaviour, and in others I sympathised, but whichever I was doing, I found it comical. I grew to like her and hoped she would find a sensible way out of her troubles.
The story opens with a letter from the Graduate Marketing Manger of Endwich Bank, whose slogan on every letter they send out is "Because We Care". This congratulates Ms Rebecca Bloomwood on becoming a recent graduate of Bristol University. As a reward for this they offer her a free extended overdraft facility for two years of £2,000.
Two years later the Bank writes to remind her that this free overdraft facility is about to end, she has exceeded the initially agreed amount and now owes them £3,794.56. They ask her to telephone to arrange a meeting concerning this matter. She doesn't go to meet them, but tells them first that she has broken her leg, and then, as soon as this has been given time to recover, that she has glandular fever. Unfortunately when the bank phones her home and asks to speak to her during office hours, her flat mate says she is at work. After that amazingly quick recovery from glandular fever, Rebecca needs to come up with another idea to try to stall them.
Soon after this she realises that she has mounted up £949.63 on her credit card, which she can't pay.
But she carries on trying to daydream her way out of financial trouble with hopes about Visa bills being addressed to the wrong person,resulting in her bill being paid off by someone else, who has much less outstanding than her, while she reciprocates by paying the smaller bill. Of course, if that doesn't happen, there is always the National Lottery.
Rebecca thinks she has had a disappointing beginning to her work life and hopes it will soon change. After leaving university she looked for a job as a journalist. She would have liked a job with a national newspaper or a fashion magazine but, as she puts it, she "fell into" a job in personal finance. She starts off in a very low paid job working for the Personal Investment Periodical, and despite learning little about personal finance, a year and a half later gets a slightly better job at Successful Savings. She thinks she must have got the second job by impressing them by arriving for interview with copies of the Financial Times and Investor's Chronicle.
Her job of advising others on personal finance matters is ironic considering her lack of knowledge of the subject, as well as the mess she is making of her own budgeting.
She gets adept at turning out articles based on press releases, which seem to impress most of the relevant people, but only most though. I will leave you to find out that part of the story.
I think Rebecca partially learnt the buzz that going shopping can bring from her mother, whose amusing shopping habits I can relate to, but she needs to learn to stick to a sensible budget for these shopping trips, like her mother and I do, despite being tempted. (OK I will admit to just occasionally trying to justify a ridiculous purchase.) If readers don't realise the importance of self-control at the start of the book, they should by the end. Why do people say they "save" money by shopping at sale time, when they wouldn't have bought the purchase at all had they not gone?
As this story is fast paced, all of the above parts of the plot happen in the first 60 pages, and I have left out many amusing episodes of this first part, so there is plenty more for you to experience both here and throughout the rest of the book.
The author, Sophie Kinsella, who is a former financial journalist, would like readers to know that she only occasionally finds herself queuing up outside clothes shops which are having sales, and that she has an excellent relationship with her bank manager! She is reported to be addicted to shoes, Eastenders and pancakes with maple syrup.
This is the author's debut novel and, due to its success, the first of a series of Shopaholic books. It is desirable but not essential to read them in order. Apart from this series Sophie Kinsella has also written Can You Keep a Secret, in which I thought the humour was less realistic than this series. Her latest book, The Undomestic Goddess, has been recently released in paperback and I hope to buy it this weekend.
I recommend The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic to those who want a humorous light hearted read, who understand the "highs" of retail therapy, appreciate that there can be a funny side to office life, and are happy to have this sprinkled with a little romance. This is one of the best books of its genre.
I think all women's clothes shop managers, especially, should be given a copy of this to read as part of their training.
Paperback: 319 pages
Publisher: Black Swan (14 Sep 2000)
Summary: This is the first in a funny series of books about a shopoholic called Rebecca.