Two-year-old Minnie is precocious, intelligent, wily --- and a mini shopaholic. A product of her environment, Minnie wants everything she sees and knows what she likes; as long as it has a designer label, it’s “miiiiine.” I invite you to join Sophie Kinsella for the shopping spree of your life.
Minnie has an allowance of 50 pence per week. Remember, she istwo years old. Her mother is Becky Brandon, the original dyed-in-the-wool shopaholic, who keeps a diary of her daughter’s purchases. Able to borrow against future allowance allotments, Minnie --- by the end of the book --- has spent her allowance until 2013. In one day, she has bought six identical dolls, designer shoes, clothes, and toys with which she will never play. Spoiled? Well, maybe. Nanny Sue to the rescue!
Minnie’s christening is an amazing ceremony. She first visits all the guests in their pews and charms the ladies to relinquish their designer handbags. With five of them on her arm, she strolls up to the pulpit and proceeds to empty each one in front of all the guests.
Meanwhile, Becky wants another baby. Just think of the purchasing power another little one would give her: a new pram, baby bedroom furniture, linens, infant clothes…the possibilities are endless. After all, she just found designer clothes on sale for Minnie to wear until she’s 21! She definitely needs new shopping territories to conquer.
Luke is Becky’s incredibly understanding and forgiving husband. After he questions her about two identical sweaters, each costing 100 pounds, she promises him that she will “wear it so many times, it’ll totally pay for itself.” Luke responds, “How many would that be? Twice.” The only difference in the two articles of clothing is the placement and color of a button.
When the Bank of London crashes, Becky and her family are forced to control their spending. Becky decides to barter for the services, food and other amenities she needs for Luke’s surprise birthday party. She trades her designer bags, clothes, shoes, etc. and receives such items as a tent (complete with black and green mold), a fire eater and canapés. She is so excited about the prospect of bartering that she writes to the Central Monetary Unit for Monetary Policy and advises them to solve the national budgetary crisis by bartering with France for goods and services. This is Becky’s way of “going green.”
Becky visits the Pound Shop, much like our Dollar Stores here in the U.S. Astounded by the bargains, she buys 17 bags of goodies, mostly because everything is a pound. How could she be expected to resist? Having trouble controlling her shopping, she finally elicits the help of her doctor, asking him to issue a prescription to “buy a few little things for the sake of her health.”
By far the most hysterical part of MINI SHOPAHOLIC is when Becky explains that her Internet shopping spree is due to “sleep shopping.” Sixteen coats, all the same color and size, arrive, and she even tries to blame the incident on Minnie. This is one of the most entertaining books I have read in years. Sophie Kinsella has the formula for humor down to a science. Despite a three-year gap between Shopaholic novels, she still has the science of shopping in the bag.
Reviewed by Marge Fletcher on September 21, 2010