Sunday, February 1, 2015

Book Review: Shopaholic to the Stars

Am I tiring of the character of Rebecca Bloomwood Brandon? Please, say it isn't so. I've loved her for so long, but this book just didn't thrill me. As with the short story I reviewed last month, Becky's character merely comes off as shallow and childish. I'd say this was my least favorite installment of the Shopaholic series (and apparently I'm not alone, as many of the reviews on Amazon show).

Becky has moved temporarily to Hollywood so her husband can represent a famous actress, Sage Seymour. Becky has stars in her eyes as she imagines her own career as a personal stylist taking off. The only problem is that it isn't exactly taking off. Even though she's offered a spot with Sage's rival, things seem to spiral out of control and she is caught up in the whirlwind of the Hollywood gossip trail.

I kept hoping for some classic Kinsella humor to shine through. I kept turning pages, waiting for things to pick up, but somehow I never felt any more connected to the events or conundrums Becky finds herself in.  I kept hoping to catch glimpses of the Becky I adore (the ditsy, sweet-hearted girl who somehow gets herself into scrapes and manages to work her way out with greater understanding and growth), but instead kept seeing a totally self-absorbed, irresponsible Becky.

Perhaps it was just because the focus was Hollywood. I'm not exactly a fan. The scenes at the rehabilitation center were so contrived and the scenes on the red carpet equally disappointing. I tried and tried to get into it, but it all fell flat. The children, both Becky's daughter and her best friend's kids, felt like an addendum as the adults go about their business free of the concerns of caring for them. Somehow they finagled a spot in a day care facility thanks to the intervention of a dreaded previous enemy.

Kinsella ends the book with a teaser for the next installment, leaving it hanging where Becky's father and her best friend's husband have disappeared off to Las Vegas for some unknown reason and Becky and Suze are headed off to find out why and where the men have gone. To be honest, I don't know if I'm all that excited about this aspect of the story development. It doesn't suck me in. Perhaps, it is best when she sticks with Becky in her native environment of Britain. I don't know. All I can say is that this American installment of Becky's adventures turned out to be a real let-down. I don't even know if I'd grant it three stars. Perhaps Becky's moment in the spotlight has really and truly come and gone.

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