Continuing with my addiction to weakly structured chick-lit, I decided to read Sophie Kinsella's Confessions of a Shopaholic before my inevitable viewing of the same-named chick flick. Having seen Kinsella's brightly covered novels gracing the bestseller shelves of the bookstores for a couple of years, it was not a hard sell to convince me to pick up the first "stand-alone" novel in the Shopaholic series. The fact that this particular piece of chick-lit made it to the silver screen gave me the impression that it must be really great writing.
The bottom line is this; I felt like Bridget Jones was writing about her younger years. While Kinsella's writing has a very distinctive Brit accent that I truly appreciate, the writing is otherwise un-notable. It is a conversational monologue about a young woman's struggle with the in-between age. Not quite prepared to take on the responsibilities of adulthood, but desiring all of the perks, Rebecca Bloomwood prattles on about her dull job, her shopping addiction, and her life plan that changes daily, per whim.
As the main character, Rebecca Bloomwood is the most developed of the many characters in Shopaholic. However, to say that she is a well developed character would be inaccurate. Despite the conversational writing, Rebecca remains a shallow and vain, rather two dimensional character. I suppose it was the purpose of Sophie Kinsella to illustrate the amount of personal growth Rebecca experiences throughout the novel, but I found her to be an unbelievable caricature. The other main characters of Shopaholic take up surprisingly little space. It's hard to know what we're meant to think of some of the various people in Rebecca's life because Kinsella has spent so little time describing them and their relationships.
I will give Kinsella props for kicking the tired old romance plot to the curb. While Rebecca Bloomwood does experience a little heart-twittering from time to time, the focus is on her own self-involved problems. It seems that every female writer is sucked into one of two writing options these days; romance or all-female girl power. Kinsella writes a refreshingly new storyline that is truly about a young woman and not about a young woman's quest for love. Though I can only imagine what the subtle romance plot line will turn into in Hollywood's hands.
I am admittedly curious to see how Hollywood will interpret this bit of fluff, but that's where my interest in the Shopaholic series ends. This paperback will be added to the stack of chick-lit I have read and almost as quickly forgotten.