Remember being a ‘Shopaholic’?

  Young Londoner Rebecca Bloomwood is a shopaholic like the pope is religious. That is to say, the adjective doesn’t do her justice. She hasn’t met a high-end store she doesn’t like or a good-enough reason not to buy, buy, buy. She should know better; she’s a writer for a financial magazine. But even threats from credit card companies and her bank don’t deter her, until, predictably, she runs out of string, as the Brits would say.
   Cards frozen, cash gone, and bank managers on the hunt for her, Becky has good reason to believe she has ruined her life. But she finds salvation, financially and otherwise, when the story of a lifetime falls into her lap. The uproar that ensues turns her life around, in hilarious and unexpected ways.
   "Confessions of a Shopaholic" by Sophie Kinsella originally came out in 2000 in Britain, followed by publication here. It’s being re-released in paperback in advance of the movie, starring Isla Fisher as Becky, hitting theaters in February.
   Remember those quaint days, when America was on a spending spree the likes of which the world has never seen? Big houses, big SUVs, big closets, big handbags, and once you get it, throw it all out and start over? 
   The book was funny then, even as it poked fun at Westerners’ overwhelming urge to consume, to be of the moment, to live like we were rich, even though most of us weren’t. Reading it today, Becky’s story is more bittersweet, like watching newsreels of excited passengers boarding the Titanic. You know what’s going to happen. And those among us who heard the call of the malls, who knew the names of the hosts on the shopping channels and who sensed when a favorite catalog was about to show up in the mail wonder if we’ll ever hear that call again, or if we’ll ever again be able to answer.

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