If you’ve been reading my blog consistently, then you’re probably sick of all these Sophie Kinsella books I’ve been reading.
I read what I can get, and lately these books have been the most interesting reads available on the OverDrive Media Console app. I’ve loved Sophie Kinsella’s fun and quirky writing style, so I might as well keep reading as long as she keeps writing fun fiction.
Anyways, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, also known as Shopaholic Abroad, is the sequel to Confessions of a Shopaholic. I loved the first one, and I was excited to see what new adventures Becky Bloomwood would have in the second one.
A Closer Look at the Story
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan picks up a few months where the first book ends. Rebecca had successfully paid off her debts, she had her own slot on a television show, and she was dating the oh-so-successful Luke Brandon.
It sounds like a fairy-tale situation, and in the first book, it definitely was.
However, this book shows the “ever-after” part of a fairy-tale. What seems ideal on the surface quickly turns sour because the characters needed to change and develop in order to adjust to their new situations.
While Rebecca may have paid off her debts once, she hasn’t changed her compulsive shopping habits and her need to anticipate the outfit needed for every potential situation (no matter how unlikely that situation may be). She is earning more money, but her horizons have broadened and so she spends even more money than ever before. She quickly finds herself back in debt, with a new debt collector who isn’t as lenient as the first one.
Furthermore, the book doesn’t have the fairy-tale ending as the first one – no miraculous happenstance pulls her out of her problems. She has to come up with her own solution and stand on her own two feet.
One of my biggest issues with the first book was the lack of character development. In the first book, Rebecca changed a little bit and the rest of the characters hardly got enough screen time to develop at all. Additionally, it used a lot of happy happenstance to save Rebecca from a horrible life, almost like fate had stepped in and placed exactly what she needed in her lap.
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan fixes this issue.
Rebecca makes mistakes, that’s what makes her human, but she also works hard to fix them on her own. Occasionally her ideas of fixing the problem lead her into even bigger problems, but eventually she realizes that she is the only one who can save herself. She takes a hard look at what she wants to do in life, and she takes the appropriate steps to achieving that goal.
Additionally, we get to see more of the elusive Luke Brandon. In the first book, he was a prince charming. He was rich, handsome, and loved Rebecca for her flaws – but we don’t know who he is as a person. In the sequel, we see Luke is obsessed with work, had a difficult childhood, and tends to brood and stress over all the things he needs to do to keep his business successful. While he loves the idea of having Rebecca around, he often takes her for granted and leaves her hanging when an important call or meeting comes up.
Then there’s Suze, Becky’s best friend and flatmate. She doesn’t get as much time as Rebecca and Luke, but it’s a little more than the first book. We see Suze as an able-bodied woman who tries hard to keep Rebecca’s spending habits in check. She defends Rebecca against negative publicity, and she supports Rebecca when things get tough.
In Comparison to the Movie
When I wrote my first review on Confessions of a Shopaholic, I didn’t know there was a sequel book. So, I felt that the movie and the book told slightly different stories and I admired them for their differences.
However, after reading the sequel, I realized the movie covers scenes from both books. It meshes the two stories, giving it a well-rounded plotline and a more satisfying finish than if it had covered the first book alone. It tells the fairy-tale and the ever after, so we see how the characters develop naturally.
I think I enjoy the movie even more after reading this sequel than I did after reading the first book.
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan is as satisfying, if not more so, than its predecessor. I love Sophie Kinsella’s ability to tell a good story with just enough detail to feel real but not so much that’s it’s bogged down.
It tells a fun, romantic tale without making the romance the focus of the story. I think it’s a great read if you’re in the mood for a chick-flick type of book but don’t want a full-blow romance novel.
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