Confessions of a Shopaholic
(2000), a contemporary romance novel by Sophie Kinsella, follows a young woman who’s shopping obsession leads her into debt and relationship problems; she will lose everything if she doesn’t stop spending. The first book in the Shopaholic
series, the book is popular with its fan base. A New York Times
bestselling author, Kinsella’s books are available in more than forty languages. Confessions of a Shopaholic
was her breakout novel and the first of her books to hit the global bestseller lists. It is now a major motion picture
Rebecca, or “Becky,” Bloomwood is a twenty-something woman living in London, England, during the 1990s. A writer for Successful Saving
magazine, she hates the boring, monotonous articles she spins. She dreams of writing for a glossy magazine or fashion websites, but escaping Successful Saving
feels like an impossibility.
To outsiders, Becky has everything she could want. She has a stunning flat in a very posh part of London, she gets to write all day, and she has countless friends who invite her to great parties. The problem is that these people don’t know the truth about Becky. She is living a life she can’t possibly afford. She has a major problem—she is a shopaholic.
Early in the novel, Becky gets her Visa bill in the mail. She knows she can’t pay it. She hides it in a drawer with her other unpaid bills. When the phone rings, she ignores it, because it will only be a credit card company or her bank looking for money. Becky considers what excuses she can use next time she is forced to answer the phone, but she knows that she can’t hide from her problems forever.
Ever the optimist, Becky decides to find new ways of making money. She takes on odd jobs, such as part-time shop work and freelance gigs, but she can’t make ends meet. Instead of saving the extra money she makes and paying her bills, she goes shopping for new clothes. Her debt problem is spiraling out of control.
Meanwhile, Becky focuses her energy on the man she fancies—Luke Brandon, a successful businessman. Although he is dating someone else, Becky hangs on in the hope that he will realize he loves her instead. Her roommate, Suze, tells her to stop wasting time on Luke and to find someone else. Becky asks Suze if she knows any rich men, and Suze suggests her cousin, Tarquin.
Becky dates Tarquin briefly. She doesn’t fancy him, but she wants his money. When she sees that Tarquin is attracted to her, she decides to break up with him because she doesn’t want to hurt him or risk her friendship with Suze. Unlucky in love again, Becky returns to her dangerous spending habits.
Tarquin, however, isn’t finished with her. He wants to stay friends and offers to help Becky with her debts. Becky doesn’t want his help because she doesn’t want to owe him anything. She doesn’t tell Suze about his offer because she doesn’t want Suze to know how bad her financial problems are. What she doesn’t know is that Suze already knows—it’s obvious enough when she sees Becky’s mail.
As the debts pile up, Becky decides she needs a vacation. She doesn’t have money, obviously, so she goes home to her parents. They ask her what is wrong, and why she is so anxious, but she can’t admit the truth to them. More than anything, she fears disappointing her parents. They only want the best for her.
In the meantime, Becky gets an angry call from Luke. She is responsible for causing some of his clients to lose investments because she gave them bad advice in her magazine. Becky feels like her life is spiraling out of control and that she’s losing everyone. However, another publication, Morning Coffee
, reads her advice in the magazine and asks her to interview with them. Becky agrees because she knows that things can’t get any worse.
Becky meets with executives at Morning Coffee
. While she is at their office, she meets Luke. Luke confronts her about what happened to his clients. For once, Becky stands up for herself. She tells Luke that his clients acted irresponsibly and that she offered them sensible advice. Her tenacity surprises Luke, and he is forced to back off.
Meanwhile, Becky is offered a spot on the Morning Coffee
’s daily television program. She doesn’t celebrate for too long, because she bumps into her nemesis—Derek Smeath, her bank manager. She has two choices. She can run away, or she can deal with her problems. She asks Derek if she can schedule a meeting to discuss her finances, and he is happy she is finally taking responsibility for herself.
At the end of the book, Luke asks Becky out to dinner. It’s not clear if he’s single or not, but he makes it obvious that he fancies Becky. She has impressed him by acting like an adult instead of behaving like a little girl. Becky spends the night at his place, and what becomes of their relationship is explored in the next book.