Shopaholic Goes to Hollywood (And I Went with Her)

I’ve already confessed my literary sin of reading the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella. And since I recently went through a rough reading rut, during which I had no desire to read anything, Kinsella’s newest book in the series, Shopaholic to the Stars (2014), was the perfect antidote to my malaise. I’d had it on hold at the library for a while, and my turn finally came to take it home and laugh my pants off.

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The book centers around Kinsella’s indomitable protagonist, British style-maven Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) who has a shopping addiction and a personality much like that of Lucy Ricardo from I Love Lucy, one of my favorite shows. Becky is constantly getting into trouble because of her schemes, and her selfishness, but the books always end with a lesson learned and a feel-good reconciliation.

In this book, Becky and Luke move to Hollywood, temporarily, for one of Luke’s clients, a high-profile female celebrity. Becky wants to perform some meaningful work while she’s there and while their daughter Minnie attends a posh, upscale preschool. Becky sets out to be a celebrity stylist, but finds that it is harder to break in than she imagined. She finds herself in Lucy Ricardo–type situations, star struck and making a fool of herself in front of celebrities.  She sneaks around a production studio’s lot in the hopes of finding work as a stylist, dashes onto the forbidden red carpet, and confesses to being the victim of “petism” at a fundraiser to fight discrimination. (Apparently, her hamster was the source of the discrimination she experienced.)

Later on, Becky finds herself the sole witness to a shoplifting incident by a young celebrity, and the press won’t leave her alone. She attempts to use the attention to launch her career as a celebrity stylist, but all interviewers want is her story about the crime. She’s stuck in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.

All of these zany occurrences make the book fun and hilarious, although they are overtly comical and somewhat corny. I tend to be a serious and introverted person, but these books, despite their low-brow status, always improve my moods and get me laughing. Kinsella has a real talent for writing slapstick comedy in a way that I appreciate.

The only disappointment of this book is the end, which leaves a lot of loose ends. The Shopaholic books don’t usually do so, but I realized that the ending leaves questions of her father’s experiences and Suze’s husband’s going off the rails because the next book will be about Becky and Luke traveling to Las Vegas to solve those problems. It seems that Kinsella has already planned the next adventure, and it will be a stop in Sin City for the Brandons.

I can’t wait to read it.

What books constitute your “literary sins”?

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