Mini Shopaholic, a novel by Sophie Kinsella, published as a Dial Press Hardcover on September 21, 2010, 432 pages.
Curling up with a Sophie Kinsella book is like having a good friend whom you haven’t seen in years come to visit you, and the both of you laugh and laugh and laugh! Ms. Kinsella knows all too well the embarrassments of life, and what to do about them, which is mostly shopping as a remedy, of course! Unlike the rest of us (resigned to pragmatism), she has her protagonist
Becky Brandon shop and shop and shop and end up terrified by the bills, but somehow it always all turns out all right in the end!
This time Ms. Kinsella focuses on Becky’s shopaholic-in-training, her two-year-old daughter, Minnie, and how Becky attempts to plan a surprise birthday party for her husband Luke, who usually doesn’t even celebrate his birthday. Minnie is spoiled, or so everyone else implies (but mother Becky doesn’t believe it). Minnie goes around grabbing everything, toy ponies, Santa’s sled, and even all the handbags of her mother’s friends, which she turns upside-down while screaming “Miiiiiiiiiine!!!!!!!!!”, and Becky can’t stop her.
Becky also has more intrigues going than ten thousand barrels of monkeys! Normal everyday events (planning Luke’s party, evading a hired TV nanny, and going with her mother to the Pound Store – similar to American Dollar Stores) become sensational extravaganzas! Becky lies to cover up her “mistakes,” has secrets, and she blunders her way through, like we all do (although perhaps we’re not quite as dramatic about it as she is!). And her daughter Minnie has become a tad possessive, as she pulls ALL of her toys into bed with her each night, contentedly saying “Miiine.”
I find Becky and Minnie’s world believable, and because Ms. Kinsella has a great sense of humor, it’s easy to get lost in it, like Alice going down the rabbit hole just to discover the wackiness of everyday life itself. Will Becky be able to unweave all the webs of lies she’s woven? And come out ALIVE? We the readers are forever on the edge of our seats hoping that she does, and who cares if her stubborn little Minnie isn’t the best-behaved child in the world? After all, she’s only two! You will identify with and enjoy Ms. Kinsella’s forays into motherhood and all it entails.
Most of the Kinsella Shopaholic books are tomes (as is this one, at 432 pages), but when you’re immersed in them it feels like you’ve only been reading for a few moments when someone reminds you that a lot of time has gone by and dinner should be on the table. Will Becky get out of trouble – AGAIN? And – HOW? Usually she finally comes up with a clever solution! And is there even such a word as over-spending? Also, in the end, Mini Shopaholic is fun, fun away from the daily tedium of everyone’s lives. I don’t see how women got along without Ms. Kinsella’s books before she started publishing them! If you need a safe and happy romp (no messy affairs to wring your hands over here), I urge you to indulge. You’ll be glad that you did!
Reviewed by Christina Zawadiwsky
Christina Zawadiwsky is Ukrainian-American, born in New York City, has a degree in Fine Arts, and is a poet, artist, journalist and TV producer. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Award, two Wisconsin Arts Boards Awards, a Co-Ordinating Council of Literary Magazines Writers Award, and an Art Futures Award, among other honors. She was the originator and producer of Where The Waters Meet, a local TV series created to facilitate the voices of artists of all genres in the media, for which she won two national and twenty local awards, including a Commitment to Community Television Award. She is also a contributing editor to the annual Pushcart Prize Anthology, the recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association, and has published four books of poetry. She currently reviews movies for , music for , and books for .