Thursday, 18 September 2014

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella


This is the beginning of chapter 1, and as there is nothing here to suggest plot, character, theme, setting, or pathetic fallacy, I think we can assume what the tone of the novel will be. Ok? In its favor, it is short -  and dare I say - pithy?

The next line:

Don't panic.

It is so important that it is worth repeating:

Don't panic.

With panic in italics. Next line:

It's only a VISA bill.

And so we come to the cusp of an inciting event with some conflict. The bill has come; the fun is done. Then the narrator assumes she knows (sorry, I'm assuming this is a female protagonist, call it my sixth sense tingling or perhaps the pink cover is misleading me?) that the bill will be 200 pounds, but then when tallying up purchases it comes to 950 pounds. There was the rug everyone loved,  the Jigsaw suit (whatever that is - I'm beginning to think this book wasn't written with me in mind, which really isn't fair.), contact lenses, hypoallergenic eyeliner,

My question: How can anyone overspend without noticing it?

However, as the narrator wonders what she bought and thinking maybe her credit card was stolen there is a somewhat suspenseful scene here, as we eventually learn what her bill is. The problem is that I can't help think she has brain damage, like amnesia or something; she can't seem to remember buying anything. If this is just the narrator being silly, then this opening is silly, but if this lady has some serious mental disorder, than this is an interesting hook, and I don't mean a disorder of simply being addicted to buying things. That's something everyone struggles with to some degree.

In this narrator's defense, she does ask:

I'm not stupid, am I?

A little self-deprecation goes a long way in revealing character. The question though, that we all need to ask ourselves is do we want to invest the three or four days it will take to read this, if the character really is as stupid as she sounds?

First thing said:

"Ok, Becky?"

I was right the narrator is female.

The title is nice and works well with the opening, though the first line is, like, totally, forgettable, regrettable and redundant. That opening sentence is an utter and epic fail, but as it's only slightly better than a grunt, we can ignore it or skip it and get to line four which is where conflict makes an appearance.

This is a pass for the scene of overspending which everyone can relate to at some point in their lives.

Verdict: Pass

Rudy Globird

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