I have never made secret of the fact I’m a huge fan of the Shopaholic series of books by Sophie Kinsella, I even named it my favourite book series in my 30 day book challenge. I’ve always found the lead character Becky to be a little misguided but always intrinsically good and with the interests of those she loves foremost in her thoughts.
In this seventh installment in the series we begin with Becky planning a move to Los Angeles with husband Luke and toddler daughter Minnie. Her husband Luke has been offered the opportunity to work with Hollywood actress Sage Seymour and suddenly Becky visions herself schmoozing with A listers and being a stylist to the stars.
That truly is the crux of this book, Becky and her incessant need to be famous, lots of the old characters are back such as best friends Suze and Danny and her aloof mother in law Elinor but fundamentally this is about Becky trying to blag her way into the world of Hollywood Styling.
As I stated earlier what always made the other books work was Becky’s underlying goodness. Her misadventures were always righted by her heart of gold. Unfortunately in this book her heart of gold seemed to have lost somewhere along the way. Instead she comes across as entirely brainless, a very inattentive mother, completely self involved friend and uncaring wife. Surely the thing about writing about one character in various books is that they progress, grow and mature as they learn from the series’ adventures. Sophie Kinsella seems to have taken Becky backwards in maturity, she is someone who is supposed to be a loving wife and mother yet she spends the whole book flitting from film sets to stars houses and running around worrying about what classes she can take at her ridiculously expensive spa. It made her quite unlikeable in this book and my empathy levels dropped as a result. I just kept thinking who the heck was caring for her daughter whilst she swanned around L.A.
This book has no comparison to the earlier books in the series, it wasn’t about Becky Bloomwood the harmless, hapless Shopaholic getting out of scrapes but being a good friend. Instead she was Becky Brandon, self obsessed wannabe who ignored her friends and family for a cheap 5 minutes of fame and whilst that would have washed were she a young singleton it just grates when she’s meant to be a grown adult.
Clearly the cliffhanger at the end and the last page stating “Becky will be Back” means that another book is in the planing but I’m not sure, if it’s like this one, I’d be rushing to read it. I would also urge Sophie Kinsella to now consider if it’s time to retire her Shopaholic after the next book if she isn’t able to grow the character in new directions without losing the soul of what made her so loveable in the first place.