Wednesday, May 22, 2013

No one who writes about personal finance ever meant to do it

I am taking my sweet time when it comes to writing these book reviews. Not that I really have an excuse for this. Well, my excuse for not writing this review earlier this week was I was going to, and then instead decided to watch Mad Men and eat pie. Priorities, people.

I read Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella during my trip to Ireland/London because 1) vacations call for light and fluffy reads, 2) this takes place in London and I WAS GOING TO BE THERE, and 3) people that I trust for book recommendations said "I know this is a fluffy book about shopping and stuff, but it's better than it seems, and please ignore that movie they made." And thus did I read this light, fluffy, "chick lit" book about shopping. People were right, it was better than I would have assumed.

It's about finance writer Becky Bloomwood who is pretty much the last person you'd think you should be taking financial advice from. She is thousands of pounds in debt and just keeps on spending. She tries to only buy the necessities but that includes things like "that scarf she really really wants" or "shoes that are really an investment" and other such rationalization that keeps her in debt. She ignores warning letters from her credit cards and dodges phone calls from her bank, but at least she's a positive person.

Of course as seems to be a pre-req for "chick lit" it's a romantic comedy and thus there is a love story involving super rich big shot Luke Brandon of Brandon Communications. It's not that I don't like love stories, but this plot line I was very "meh" about. It plays out exactly as you know it's going to play out.

Becky is a very likable character, which is good because she's also shallow and kinda ditsy. I rooted for her, even when I wanted to strangle her because OMG get your financial shit together, lady. You do not need that scarf that is HOW MUCH? I never got less frustrated with her (just really irresponsible) financial decisions, but as you start to get to know her more you feel bad for her instead of angry. And you see how easy it is to feed this cycle of debt.

It was the quotes that pulled me in, so I think it's best to share a few of the ones I highlighted (hooray Kindle)

The FT is by far the best accessory a girl can have. Its major advantages are:
1. It's a nice color
2. It only costs eight-five pence
3. If you walk into a room with it tucked under your arm, people take you seriously. With an FT under your arm, you can talk about the most frivolous things in the world, and instead of thinking you're an airhead, people think you're a heavyweight intellectual who has broader interests, too.
Even better, although no one can see them, I know that underneath I'm wearing my gorgeous new matching knickers and bra with embroidered yellow rosebuds. They're the best bit of my entire outfit. In fact, I almost wish I could be run over so that the world would see them.
I'm as excited as a little kid on Christmas Day (or as me on Christmas Day, to be perfectly honest). 
See, she's adorable.

This is not a book that will make you think deep thoughts. You can probably guess the entire plot and every turn once you've read the first couple pages. Or even the summary on the back. It's unlikely I will pick up the rest of the Shopaholic series. But if you want something that is light and fluffy "chick lit," something to read while on a beach, this is an excellent choice.

Title quote from page 10, location 159

Kinsella, Sophie. Confessions of a Shopaholic. Dell, 2003. Kindle edition.