Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella has been around for awhile but I picked it up recently on the suggestion of a few friends. I have to confess that I ripped through it, enjoying the plot line which kept me guessing at first, and is charmingly written in the first person, taking us directly into the perspective of a 20-something British financial journalist Rebecca Bloomwood who can't say no to a good sale.
What most struck me about this book is how it predated all of the suspense-driven plot that Stephanie Meyer has made famous in Twilight (but had already been done long ago with Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding). From the beginning of COAS, it's pretty clear that Luke Brandon is going to be the love interest and a good portion of the book my mind was churning over how the author was going the two main characters together. It was well done, reminiscent of a classic romance stories (such as my all time fave Pride and Prejudice), but with a fresh take on the modern girl.
The truth is, though, that Becky Bloomwood is initially a disappointing modern girl and I guess that's what kept me away from the book so long. I keep hoping that I'll come across a heroine with more depth than this - and at least in the case, Becky does develop or reveal a conscience - still haven't made up my mind about that.
I did appreciate the discussion about debt and it's a subject that could have been completely mishandled. Instead, here, Becky becomes sympathetic through her travails and the reader really does feel that she is struggling her way out of her financial woes. Naturally, nabbing a wealthy boyfriend helps, but by then it's clear that Becky will be able to manage on her own and Luke almost seems like some kind of cosmic reward for figuring out how to handle her finances.
All in all, a fun book, that works on several levels. It would be easy to dismiss COAS based on the title, but there is a depth here that makes it a great contemporary read and discussion book.