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‘The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic’ book review: A laugh riot from start to finish

‘The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic’ book review: A laugh riot from start to finish

I read ‘The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic’ by Sophie Kinsella during high school. It’s the first book in the Shopaholic series. I still have a copy of the book, and it’s the one I read back in school. The pages are a little yellowed and the smell is heavenly. I read it again recently when I was bored and, 20 years later, the book holds the same appeal. I couldn’t stop reading it. Becky is such a frivolous but endearing character. I now want to rewatch its movie adaptation, starring Isla Fisher as Rebecca Bloomwood, that came out nine years after the book’s release. It’s every bit as hilarious as the novel. 

Alternatively titled ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ the story follows Rebecca (Becky) who loves to shop. Whether she can afford it is another matter altogether. Becky is a financial journalist. She tells other people how to manage their money. In reality, she doesn’t have a grip on her finances. The answer to all her problems is retail therapy. She knows it’s not a good habit but she can’t stop. This gets her in messy situations which get even messier when she tries to find a way out of them. As her unpaid overdrafts become unmanageable, will Becky be able to find a solution? And what about her desire to find true love? 

In addition to her shopping addiction, Becky’s tendency to spew out absurd lies without thinking to explain her silly purchases lands her in difficult situations. In funny moments, she manages to position herself in embarrassing ways. She comes across as rather dramatic. It endears her to the reader. You know she’s not bad at heart but perhaps just down on her luck. You can also see that she’s not losing hope, that she’s trying to pull herself together. You realize there’s a Becky in all of us and that relatability, I believe, is what makes the book series work. 

The other books in the series are as funny. Reading them in order helps you keep track of what’s happening in Becky’s life but you can pick up a book at random and it will still make sense. I loaned ‘Shopaholic and Sister’ to a friend who had never read the series before and she loved it. Now, she has borrowed a couple of more books in the series. Read the book (and the rest of the series) if you want a lighthearted read that doesn’t require you to exercise your brain muscles.


The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic

Sophie Kinsella

Published: 2000

Publisher: Black Swan

Pages: 317, Paperback