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:
In order, the series is as follows:
- 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
- The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (UK)/Confessions of a Shopaholic (North America)
- Shopaholic Abroad (UK)/Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (North America)
- Shopaholic Ties the Knot
- Shopaholic & Sister
- Shopaholic & Baby
- Mini Shopaholic
- Shopaholic to the Stars
This series provides examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The Movie is pretty good.
- All Women Love Shoes: Becky and Suze fall into this. Jess doesn't, however.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents
- Mrs Bloomwood. When Luke finally asks Becky to marry him, Becky's mother shouts 'YES!' for her, at the top of her voice.
- 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. This increases even more with Mini Shopaholic.
- Deadpan Snarker: Luke, leading to many Crowning Moment of Funny moments.
- Genius Ditz: Becky comes across like this, she's actually pretty smart when she puts her mind to it.
- YMMV, but Becky in the film is flanderized to a happy go lucky airhead who doesn't have the depth or worries of Becky from the novels.
- Luke also suffers in the movie. He no longer challenges or grounds Becky's more eccentric aspects of her personality, and instead lets her walk all over him.
- "Friends" Rent Control: Averted. Becky falls behind with the rent when she's living with Suze, who often has to pay it for her.
- Hypocritical Humor: In the first book, Becky accuses her mother of wasting money by constantly buying new decor and appliances for the kitchen. Of course, Becky isn't exactly the poster girl for sensible spending.
- When Becky gets a weekend salesclerk job, she intends to purchase a particular pair of jeans with her employee discount, but a customer gets her hands on the jeans first. Becky thinks to herself that this is completely unfair because the customer would "probably wear them once and chuck them out — or never wear them at all!" Becky's own closet contains countless clothes that are unworn or that have been worn only once.
- Ice Queen: Elinor, Luke's birth mother is this.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every book has the word "shopaholic" in the title.
- 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."
- Karma Houdini: Becky, over and over again
- Averted in Shopaholic Abroad. When Alicia feeds info about her shopping addiction and financial irresponsibility to the Daily World, she loses her job, all prospects for future related jobs (and she never does work in finance ever again), Luke's respect, and the respect of nearly everyone in the US and Britain.
- Kissing Cousins: Suze and Tarquin, though they're distant cousins.
- 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.
- Let's Have Another Baby: Becky says this to Luke in Mini Shopaholic. Luke doesn't like the idea because they haven't bought a house yet and they already have their hands full just dealing with Minnie.
- Lots of Luggage: Becky will get hysterical if someone tells her to pack light for a trip. Her preferred method of packing is to include outfits for every contingency she can think of, no matter how unlikely it is. She also tends to shop a great deal during trips, so she usually returns home with more luggage than she left with.
- Mistaken for Gay: Jane and Janice, when they accompany Becky to her birthing class in Shopaholic and Baby.
- Mistaken for Pregnant: In the first book, Becky arrives at her parents' house in a distraught state, having finally realized that her debts are out of control. Before she can explain this to her mother, Jane says, "And I know that if it were a case of us looking after a ... a little one, while you pursued your career..." Becky interrupts by exclaiming that she's not pregnant. In Shopaholic Ties The Knot, Becky starts to tell her mother about problems with her upcoming wedding, and Jane makes a circling gesture with her arms and says she just needs to know "how much to let the dress out by." Becky again has to correct her mother and say that she's not pregnant.
- Mistaken for Servant: In Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, Becky wears a black skirt and a white blouse to a party where she barely knows anyone. The wait staff there are all wearing white shirts and black skirts or pants, so several party guests mistake Becky for a waitress.
- 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.
- Product Placement: In Shopaholic Abroad, Becky and Suze eat Kit Kats very often because a friend of Suze's got her lots of them. In Mini Shopaholic there's a Call Back to it as during the meetings with Elinor to plan Luke's surprise party, Becky comments that she doesn't know the function of a Kit Kat.
- Retail Therapy: Becky winds up in massive debt because she uses spending to cope with negative emotions, and the debt leads to more negative emotions and more spending.
- Rich Bitch
- If her fashion sense is anything to go by, Alicia.
- Venetia Carter.
- Elinor Sherman
- 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.
- Finally, in Mini Shopaholic, Becky makes a deal with Luke that she won't buy herself any new clothes until she's worn everything in her wardrobe at least three times. Jess comes around to help her inventory everything, and they conclude that even if Becky wears as many layers as possible, every day, she still won't be able to buy clothes until late October. This promise is made in early January.