I don’t remember when I got into reading Sophie Kinsella but it was one of the stand-alone books that got me hooked to her and her writing. Shopaholic series, of course, was discovered post that. My first book of the series was printed out on A4 sheets by an acquaintance, bundled up together, and delivered to my doorstep. Books weren’t a big part of my family’s lifestyle back then (nor is it now, for them, not me), and spending money on such expensive novels was considered unnecessary. Nevertheless, my mother always encouraged me to read and it was she who found this money-saving way to get me my first ever Shopaholic book. I was in awe (early teenage crush on Becky and Luke *heart eyes*)and read deep into the night. That was just the beginning. Cut to years later, on a date with my beloved husband in a bookstore, I recently found out that a new book in the series is out. Seeing the MRP and sighing at no discount, I dropped it back onto the shelf and left crestfallen. But with the lockdown probable, I splurged online and received it before things turned drastic. Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella is the 9th book in the series and the charm hasn’t worn off. Not for me at least. I read this 350+ pages book in under 3 days with a toddler demanding my attention all the time due to curfew. Phew…what a ride!
Rebecca Brandon has been given the task of hosting her first-ever Christmas party and she is speechless. With her parents moving to the “edgy” Shoreditch in London, who else is going to host, if not her. Torn between all the shopping she could do for the party and respecting the suggestions people are giving her, Becky is driving herself nuts in arranging a super Christmas for all. Though she is enjoying herself, keeping up with everyone’s demands is crazy, where the hell is she supposed to find a vegan turkey for her half-sister Jess! And coming to her, Jess seems preoccupied with something all the time, not that she was all chatty before, but now she has almost gone shut. With her husband Tom not in the country yet, Becky finds her behavior suspicious. She has more to doubt when she helps a fellow mom figure out her life after her husband leaves her for a younger woman. Both Jess and this woman show similar patterns. Could Jess’s marriage be taking a wrong turn? Then there are Janice and Becky’s mum. Both seemed to have dived headfirst in living their lives without each other when they have been friends even before Becky was born! And Suze has gone out and offended Janice. How is Becky supposed to throw a Christmas party when her guests aren’t on talking terms!? And ah, how can I forget to mention the lame ex-boyfriend turned rock God Craig who is taking an unusual interest in Becky, and his girlfriend Nadine, who is equally interested in Luke. Could they be wanting to indulge Becky and Luke with themselves, after all the internet says some things about them. Lastly, Becky’s little Minnie and her school teacher who assigns them complex craft projects all the time…Phew…Becky has her hands and house, literally, full.
Within a span of 2 months, Becky finds her life-changing colors like a kaleidoscope. From a happy party guest to a panicky host, Becky has to figure it all out on time until someone else figures out her inability to get things together and move. Not to mention that one thing she’s been longing for since Minnie was a baby. How will she survive all this?
When I first read Sophie Kinsella, what struck me the most was her writing. The way she wrote, so lucid and light, got to me. Her stories have a way, funnily emotional, dramatically suspenseful, and chaotic, they’re always a potpourri. All the characters are so different from each other providing a myriad range of color to the story. The confident Suze, the lost Tarkie, the experimental Graham and Jane, the practical Janice, the uptight Jess and oh, so dreamy Luke…and not forgetting Becky, her characteristics alone puts a Pantone shade card to shame. Her addiction to shopping anything and everything doesn’t let her stay stress-free but she does manage to spread cheer by her goodness. I wouldn’t call her confident but she is resolute enough to go to any lengths for her loved ones whether it be saving them or buying them a Christmas present. Then there is little Minnie, so wise for her age. Give it to the author for keeping the characters alive till now and not dimming them out one after the other to make space for more. Being a Shopaholic series fan, I will always love what Becky has to do and show me. Her going into overdrive with her credit card while shopping and finding best deals, which according to her is like money saved, and money saved is money earned, so basically, she is earning money while she is spending it is so so ROFL. I wonder how she and Luke aren’t in debt with all that money she “earns”. While being OTT with everything she does, Becky does have a heart of gold. I can’t wait for the next book in the series since this one ended on a real cliffhanger.
Sophie Kinsella has once again written a wonderfully heartwarming story. The way she can manage to cause misunderstandings and chaos out of simple conversations before sorting them out (or not) later is hilarious. At times, I get a hint of what’s going to happen and still enjoy the reading because then I get to say, “I told you so” to Becky, though she never listens and also, it feels so proud that I know my Becky so well even after so many years! Haha. Kinsella is definitely my go-to author in times of lowness and quarantine. LOL. Reading her is like escaping from my own world and entering the world she has created. Like Becky says, Stupid. Real. Life. And so do I.