confessions of an ……aholic

when people talk about confessions of a shopaholic, the new york times bestseller by sophie kinsella, they usually smile benevolently at her shopping antics, they’ll tell you how hilarious the book is: what a great piece of chicklit!

i’m gonna take a different tack here.

this book is a very clear description of the life of any addict. while the writing is not nearly as good as the widely acclaimed parched, an account of the writer, heather king’s, struggle with the bottle, i think shopaholic is better in showing what an addict experiences. in pretty neon letters.

open the book just about anywhere and you’ll find …

lying: becky, the main character, invents a dying aunt in an attempt to get out of paying a debt to her bank.

self-righteousness: when the bank manager reacts rather coolly to that ploy, becky goes, “has this man got no heart?”

scheming to get something for nothing: becky gets a job at a clothing store. “if only there was some way that i could get all the nice clothes – but not have to do the scary work.”

entitlement: “i should be earning forty grand, like elly, and buying all my clothes at karen millen.”

dejected: “i feel a bit thrown … i don’t have a game plan, i don’t have prospects. maybe i’m hopeless, too. maybe i should rethink my career. oh god, this is depressing.”

self-delusion: becky spends a few days trying to cut back her spending, with disastrous results (e.g., she spends a lot of money on a cute pocket book in which she notes her expenses.) now she decides to Make More Money. “the only small thing – tiny niggle – is, i’m not sure how i’m going to do it … but now i’ve decided to go ahed with it, something will turn up. i’m sure of it.”

and there’s more. the short-lived, desperate attempts to act differently; the excitement when she’s right in the middle of practicing her addiction; the cluelessness she has around people who truly have her best in mind; the need to appear other than who she really is, etc. etc.

it’s like a chicklit version of the stories in the big book, the main book of alcoholics anonymous.

i have to confess that i haven’t had the patience to read all of confessions of a shopaholic but it looks like poor becky never gets it that her life could be easier.

she never gets it that her short-lived moments of excitement could be replaced by deeper, more long-lasting joy; that her superficial, often tense relationships could relax and turn into strong friendships; that her constantly niggling fears could end and she could become a courageous woman; that her nervous self-delusion could make room for insightful self-knowledge.

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

3 thoughts on “confessions of an ……aholic

  1. Nickie

    I’ve never read this particular book, mainly because I’m not a huge fan of Chick lit. In a way, it’s a good thing to make people aware of what addiction may look like, but I’d much prefer a book that showed that there is hope and healing from the harmful effects of addiction. I find in general that disabilities, illnesses or diseases aren’t well represented by literature. Hopefully, as we become more sensitive to the needs around addiction, we’ll have more hopeful literature.

    Thanks for this review. I learn new things from you every day.

  2. Nickie

    I’ve never read this particular book, mainly because I’m not a huge fan of Chick lit. In a way, it’s a good thing to make people aware of what addiction may look like, but I’d much prefer a book that showed that there is hope and healing from the harmful effects of addiction. I find in general that disabilities, illnesses or diseases aren’t well represented by literature. Hopefully, as we become more sensitive to the needs around addiction, we’ll have more hopeful literature.

    Thanks for this review. I learn new things from you every day.

  3. Steve Harold - Alcohol Hypnosis mp3

    In my experience addiction often comes from the habitual use of a substance or behaviour that distracts the person from some feeling or emotion which is not pleasant. The distraction becomes an escape, even if short-lived and the as the subconscious accepts this way of coping it becomes easier and easier to turn to the escape strategy which in turn makes it addictive.

  4. Steve Harold - Alcohol Hypnosis mp3

    In my experience addiction often comes from the habitual use of a substance or behaviour that distracts the person from some feeling or emotion which is not pleasant. The distraction becomes an escape, even if short-lived and the as the subconscious accepts this way of coping it becomes easier and easier to turn to the escape strategy which in turn makes it addictive.

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