A series of chick-lit novels written by British author Sophie Kinsella, Shopaholic stars Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood), a (predictably enough) shopaholic. The first book starts out with Becky smack-dab in the middle of her addiction, living in a flat with her best friend Suze in London. Every book focuses on Becky's struggles in life, which she manages to survive with flying colors (or, more specifically, talent she doesn't realize and a lot of luck).The series is quite funny and written in absorbing first-person prose, though it suffers from unrealism and Moral Dissonance. Despite that, it is a big seller in the chick-lit department. A movie based on the first book was released in February 2009, retitled Confessions of a Shopaholic and set in New York City. The characters:
Becky Brandon, a former financial journalist turned personal shopper (which basically comes out to fashion consultant for normal people)
Suze Cleath-Stuart, Becky's artistic best friend and former flatmate
Luke Brandon, the creator of the PR company Brandon Communications; later Becky's boyfriend and husband
Graham and Jane Bloomwood, Becky's caring but quarrelsome parents
Jess, Becky's frugal, long-lost sister who's more than just 'careful' with her money
Tarquin Cleath-Stuart, Suze's distant cousin and later husband who used to have a crush on Becky
Tom Webster, Becky's next-door neighbor who doesn't seem to have much luck with romance
In order, the series is as follows:
The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (UK)/Confessions of a Shopaholic (North America)
Shopaholic Abroad (UK)/Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (North America)
Their next-door neighbour Janice is also this to her son, Tom. After he gets married to Becky's half sister Jess, Janice goes out of her way to secure herself a grandchild. To the point of hiding their contraceptives and trying to trick Jess into taking pre-natal vitamins.
Biggus Dickus: Supposedly, Tarquin is quite generous in this area.
City Mouse: Becky is this when she returns from New York to live back at home with her parents in a quiet English village.
Creepy Doll: Elinor's baby gift for Minnie is an antique china doll (a rather impractical gift for a newborn baby). Becky describes it as having "ringlets and scary eyes, like in a horror film." She ends up selling the doll on eBay after Jane decides it's too spooky to have in the house.
Darker and Edgier: Shopaholic and Baby is notably more serious than the previous books, and shows Becky growing up and actually learning from her previous mistakes.
It's for a Book: After learning that she's pregnant, Becky writes a letter to Harvey Nichols, asking them a "hypothetical research question" about whether a woman who gave birth in their store would be eligible to receive free clothes for life.
Jerkass Has a Point: The 'evil' debt collector in the second book, John Gavin, actually has a point when he gives the reason for denying Becky an extended overdraft.
John Gavin: "This is Becky Bloomwood who has had her overdraft limit extended six times in the last year. And who each time has failed to keep within those limits. This is Becky Bloomwood who has consistently lied, who has consistently avoided meetings, who has treated bank staff with little or no respect, and who seems to think we're all here solely to fund her appetite for shoes. I've looked at your file, Miss Bloomwood. I know the picture."
Suze does comment that one benefit of marrying him is that she doesn't have to change her last name.
Lethal Chef: Becky tries making her own curry to save money on takeout meals. It's incredibly, painfully hot. Becky and Suze only manage to eat a few bites before Suze decides to order takeout after all.
Mistaken for Gay: Jane and Janice, when they accompany Becky to her birthing class in Shopaholic and Baby.
Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Becky's parents don't believe her when she says she's dating Luke, the head of a big PR company.
One Drink Will Kill the Baby: Averted. When Becky is upset about Luke and Venetia Carter, Suze tells her to drink some wine to calm down, saying, "Just a sip won't hurt the baby."
Pair the Spares: Tom and Jess. Tom has had a crush on Becky ever since they were children, and ends up marrying her half sister instead.
Suze and Tarquin
Photographic Memory: Luke is said to have one of these. We never see if he actually does—chances are Becky's just exaggerating.
Rich Bitch: If her fashion sense is anything to go by, Alicia.
Running Gag: Becky daydreams leading her to thinking that she'll be known as 'The Girl in [insert clothing item here]'
Played with in Shopaholic Ties The Knot; she instead thinks that she'll be known as 'The Girl Who Changed Elinor Sherman'
Scrapbook Story: The trope is taken partway: Chapters begin with letters and other documents.
Status Quo Is God: In each book, we see Becky learning a heartwarming Aesop about love, family and not spending too much etc...only to find that she reverts back to her shopaholic ways in the next one. However, there are some changes and continuity nods—Becky learns thriftiness in one book and in the next is still seen doing a few things thriftily.
Unlimited Wardrobe: Despite not being a TV character, Becky somehow manages to wear different clothes every single day. Indeed, it's a wonder how it all fits in Suze's wardrobe in the first two books.
In The Movie, as well as the second book, it does not fit in the wardrobe until Becky vacuum-packs it all, and even then it falls out when the closet door is opened.