Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic Series #1)

Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic Series #1)

by Sophie Kinsella

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“A hilarious tale . . . hijinks worthy of classic I Love Lucy episodes . . . too good to pass up.”—USA Today

Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it—not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. And lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from the bank—letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read. She tries cutting back. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something . . . just a little something.
Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life—and the lives of those around her—forever.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic to the Stars.

Praise for Sophie Kinsella and Confessions of a Shopaholic
“Kinsella’s Bloomwood is plucky and funny. . . . You won’t have to shop around to find a more winning protagonist.”People
“If a crème brûlée could be transmogrified into a book, it would be Confessions of a Shopaholic.”The Star-Ledger
“A have-your-cake-and-eat-it romp, done with brio and not a syllable of moralizing. . . . Kinsella has a light touch and puckish humor.”Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440334453
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/04/2003
Series: Shopaholic Series , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 33,399
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Sophie Kinsella is the author of the bestselling Shopaholic series, as well as the novels Can You Keep A Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, and Wedding Night. She lives in England.


London, England

Date of Birth:

December 12, 1969

Place of Birth:

London, England


B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, Oxford University, 1990; M.Mus., King's College, London, 1992

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Ok. don't panic. Don't panic. It's only a VISA bill. It's a piece of paper; a few numbers. I mean, just how scary can a few numbers be?

I stare out of the office window at a bus driving down Oxford Street, willing myself to open the white envelope sitting on my cluttered desk. It's only a piece of paper, I tell myself for the thousandth time. And I'm not stupid, am I? I know exactly how much this VISA bill will be.

Sort of. Roughly.

It'll be about ... £200. Three hundred, maybe. Yes, maybe £300. Three-fifty, max.

I casually close my eyes and start to tot up. There was that suit in Jigsaw. And there was dinner with Suze at Quaglinos. And there was that gorgeous red and yellow rug. The rug was £200, come to think of it. But it was definitely worth every penny — everyone's admired it. Or, at least, Suze has.

And the Jigsaw suit was on sale — 30 percent off. So that was actually saving money.

I open my eyes and reach for the bill. As my fingers hit the paper I remember new contact lenses. Ninety-five pounds. Quite a lot. But, I mean, I had to get those, didn't I? What am I supposed to do, walk around in a blur?

And I had to buy some new solutions and a cute case and some hypoallergenic eyeliner. So that takes it up to ... £400?

At the desk next to mine, Clare Edwards looks up from her post. She's sorting all her letters into neat piles, just like she does every morning. She puts rubber bands round them and puts labels on them saying things like "Answer immediately" and "Not urgent but respond." I loathe Clare Edwards.

"OK, Becky?" she says.

"Fine," I say lightly. "Just reading a letter."

I reach gaily into the envelope, but my fingers don't quite pull out the bill. They remain clutched around it while my mind is seized — as it is every month — by my secret dream.

Do you want to know about my secret dream? It's based on a story I once read in The Daily World about a mix-up at a bank. I loved this story so much, I cut it out and stuck it onto my wardrobe door. Two credit card bills were sent to the wrong people, and — get this — each person paid the wrong bill without realizing. They paid off each other's bills without even checking them.

And ever since I read that story, my secret fantasy has been that the same thing will happen to me. I mean, I know it sounds unlikely — but if it happened once, it can happen again, can't it? Some dotty old woman in Cornwall will be sent my humongous bill and will pay it without even looking at it. And I'll be sent her bill for three tins of cat food at fifty-nine pence each. Which, naturally, I'll pay without question. Fair's fair, after all.

A smile is plastered over my face as I gaze out of the window. I'm convinced that this month it'll happen — my secret dream is about to come true. But when I eventually pull the bill out of the envelope — goaded by Clare's curious gaze — my smile falters, then disappears. Something hot is blocking my throat. I think it could be panic.

The page is black with type. A series of familiar names rushes past my eyes like a mini shopping mall. I try to take them in, but they're moving too fast. Thorntons, I manage to glimpse. Thorntons Chocolates? What was I doing in Thorntons Chocolates? I'm supposed to be on a diet. This bill can't be right. This can't be me. I can't possibly have spent all this money.

Don't panic! I yell internally. The key is not to panic. Just read each entry slowly, one by one. I take a deep breath and force myself to focus calmly, starting at the top.

WHSmith (well, that's OK. Everyone needs stationery.)

Boots (everyone needs shampoo)

Specsavers (essential)

Oddbins (bottle of wine — essential)

Our Price (Our Price? Oh yes. The new Charlatans album. Well, I had to have that, didn't I?)

Bella Pasta (supper with Caitlin)

Oddbins (bottle of wine — essential)

Esso (petrol doesn't count)

Quaglinos (expensive — but it was a one-off)

Pret à Manger (that time I ran out of cash)

Oddbins (bottle of wine — essential)

Rugs to Riches (what? Oh yes. Stupid rug.)

La Senza (sexy underwear for date with James)

Agent Provocateur (even sexier underwear for date with James. Like I needed it.)

Body Shop (that skin brusher thing which I must use)

Next (fairly boring white shirt — but it was in the sale)


I stop in my tracks. Millets? I never go into Millets. What would I be doing in Millets? I stare at the statement in puzzlement, wrinkling my brow and trying to think — and then suddenly, the truth dawns on me. It's obvious. Someone else has been using my card.

Oh my God. I, Rebecca Bloomwood, have been the victim of a crime.

Now it all makes sense. Some criminal's pinched my credit card and forged my signature. Who knows where else they've used it? No wonder my statement's so black with figures! Someone's gone on a spending spree round London with my card — and they thought they would just get away with it.

But how? I scrabble in my bag for my purse, open it — and there's my VISA card, staring up at me. I take it out and run my fingers over the glossy surface. Someone must have pinched it from my purse, used it — and then put it back. It must be someone I know. Oh my God. Who?

I look suspiciously round the office. Whoever it is, isn't very bright. Using my card at Millets! It's almost laughable. As if I'd ever shop there.

"I've never even been into Millets!" I say aloud.

"Yes you have," says Clare.

"What?" I turn to her. "No I haven't."

"You bought Michael's leaving present from Millets, didn't you?"

I feel my smile disappear. Oh, bugger. Of course. The blue anorak for Michael. The blue sodding anorak from Millets.

When Michael, our deputy editor, left three weeks ago, I volunteered to buy his present. I took the brown envelope full of coins and notes into the shop and picked out an anorak (take it from me, he's that kind of guy). And at the last minute, now I remember, I decided to pay on credit and keep all that handy cash for myself.

I can vividly remember fishing out the four £5 notes and carefully putting them in my wallet, sorting out the pound coins and putting them in my coin compartment, and pouring the rest of the change into the bottom of my bag. Oh good, I remember thinking. I won't have to go to the cash machine. I'd thought that sixty quid would last me for weeks.

So what happened to it? I can't have just spent sixty quid without realizing it, can I?

"Why are you asking, anyway?" says Clare, and she leans forward. I can see her beady little X-ray eyes gleaming behind her specs. She knows I'm looking at my VISA bill. "No reason," I say, briskly turning to the second page of my statement.

But I've been put off my stride. Instead of doing what I normally do — look at the minimum payment required and ignore the total completely — I find myself staring straight at the bottom figure.

Nine hundred and forty-nine pounds, sixty-three pence. In clear black and white.

For thirty seconds I am completely motionless. Then, without changing expression, I stuff the bill back into the envelope. I honestly feel as though this piece of paper has nothing to do with me. Perhaps, if I carelessly let it drop down on the floor behind my computer, it will disappear. The cleaners will sweep it up and I can claim I never got it. They can't charge me for a bill I never received, can they?

I'm already composing a letter in my head. "Dear Managing Director of VISA. Your letter has confused me. What bill are you talking about, precisely? I never received any bill from your company. I did not care for your tone and should warn you, I am writing to Anne Robinson of Watchdog."

Or I could always move abroad.

"Becky?" My head jerks up and I see Clare holding this month's news list. "Have you finished the piece on Lloyds?"

"Nearly," I lie. As she's watching me, I feel forced to summon it up on my computer screen, just to show I'm willing.

"This high-yield, 60-day access account offers tiered rates of interest on investments of over £2,000," I type onto the screen, copying directly from a press release in front of me. "Long-term savers may also be interested in a new stepped-rate bond which requires a minimum of £5,000."

I type a full stop, take a sip of coffee, and turn to the second page of the press release.

This is what I do, by the way. I'm a journalist on a financial magazine. I'm paid to tell other people how to organize their money.

Of course, being a financial journalist is not the career I always wanted. No one who writes about personal finance ever meant to do it. People tell you they "fell into" personal finance. They're lying. What they mean is they couldn't get a job writing about anything more interesting. They mean they applied for jobs at The Times and The Express and Marie-Claire and Vogue and GQ, and all they got back was "Piss off."

So they started applying to Metalwork Monthly and Cheesemakers Gazette and What Investment Plan? And they were taken on as the crappiest editorial assistant possible on no money whatsoever and were grateful. And they've stayed on writing about metal, or cheese, or savings, ever since — because that's all they know. I myself started on the catchily titled Personal Investment Periodical. I learned how to copy out a press release and nod at press conferences and ask questions that sounded as though I knew what I was talking about. After a year and a half — believe it or not — I was head-hunted to Successful Saving.

Of course, I still know nothing about finance. People at the bus stop know more about finance than me. Schoolchildren know more than me. I've been doing this job for three years now, and I'm still expecting someone to catch me out.

Reading Group Guide

1. Becky has a serious shopping addiction! Clothes, makeup, shoes—you name it, she loves it! Do you have a shopping addiction? Where is your favorite place to go shopping? What store can’t you walk by without “just taking a peek” at the fabulous merchandise!

2. At the beginning of Confessions of a Shopaholic, Becky just had to have the Denny & George scarf. Have you ever made a crazy impulsive purchase like that? What’s the most fun purchase you’ve ever made? Have you ever had to borrow money for a shopping spree?

3. Becky is obviously addicted to shopping, but she’s got other things going for her as well. What are some of your favorite characteristics about Becky? Do you have friends that remind you of any of the characters in Confessions of a Shopaholic?

4. Becky decided to follow David E. Barton’s Controlling Your Cash in order to reduce her spending. Do you think the tactics listed in the story were reasonable? How could Becky have better managed her financial situation? What ways do you budget yourself and save up for special things you want to splurge on?

5. When Becky was a store assistant at Ally Smith, she hid a pair of zebra print jeans from a customer—then got fired! Do you have a funny or embarrassing dressing room story? Have you ever done something extreme like Becky to “stake your claim” on a piece of clothing?

6. Becky’s relationship with Luke constantly changes throughout Confessions of a Shopaholic. Hot and cold, on and off, you never know what you’re going to get with the two of them. How do you think the development of their relationship enhances the story?

7. Zebra print jeans, pink boots, and a shimmering gray-blue scarf—it seems that Becky has a style all of her own! How does Becky’s shopping obsession add to the story? What’s your style like? Do you have a favorite outfit?

8. Tarquin and Becky’s date was quite interesting to say the least. Pizza and champagne, a $5,000 check to a made-up organization, and some sneaking around on Becky’s part! Do you think Becky handled herself appropriately? What’s the most memorable date you’ve ever been on?

9. Becky seems to tell a lot of “little white lies,” from lying about a broken leg, to making up a dead aunt, and even telling her parents she has a stalker! How does her lying affect her relationships to her friends, family and colleagues in the story? What’s the most exaggerated “little white lie” you’ve ever made up to get yourself out of trouble?

10. Do you think that Becky can serve as a role-model for young women? What lessons did you learn about relationships, responsibility, friendship and honesty?

11. Becky lands a front page news article, a spot on a morning television show, and a date with her dream guy all in the course of a couple days. Is this too good to be true? Can you believe Becky’s luck? Do you think Becky has changed by the end of the story? Have you ever had a perfect day like Becky’s?

Customer Reviews

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Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic Series #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1595 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tuesdays with Morrie was a coping with death self-help book in disguise...Bridget Jones's Diary was a relationship self-help book in diguise...and Confessions of a Shopaholic is a financial self-help book in disguise. If you love shopping, you have to read this book, if you're a woman, you have to read this book! It'll make you laugh out load and you won't be able to put it down, unless there's a 50% off sale at Harrod's, hehe, so I strongly urge you to pick up this book at your local Barnes and Noble, mine was 20% so in a sense I was actually saving money, hehe, maybe get a reg. mocha frap w/ whip cream and choc. oh but must watch diet.. V. bad, but the novel is V.v. good
XXXOOOBookwormOOOXXX More than 1 year ago
onfessions of A Shopaholic is a cute and witty story about something more of us would probably care to admit to. The allure of tempting eye-candy all around us in whatever your particular weakness is (in Rebecca's case FASHION) and the ease of charging it to a credit card. It's panic time when the bills come in and Rebecca knows how to creatively dodge the bill collectors. Throw in a little romantic comedy and you are hooked on Rebecca's story. I really enjoyed it and want to read Sophia Kinsella's other books. I really enjoyed this book, it was hard to believe someone could be so addicted to shopping, it was entertaining. he interplay of characters is what makes the book enjoyable, from Becky's roommate, to Luke, to the bank manager, to Becky's parents. They are real people and that makes the story enjoyable to me. The writing is also clever and overrides the obnoxiousness that Becky occasionally engenders. The first book in the series is a good start and makes a good foundation, leaving room for growth. If you're looking for a light read, give it a try!  
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was the first book i read from the author but once i did i absolutely fell in love with the entire series. Loved Becky's quirky personality
Guest More than 1 year ago
i really loved this book. the characters r all so fun and just an easy fast read. they gelled very well and reading very easy to fall into.
Sher_Prox More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It's super fun and even acts like a self-help book at times.
Miranda.Bouck More than 1 year ago
I liked the book, but for some reason, I just couldn't get into her writing style. I've got the rest of the series that I plan on reading and hope that I can swallow the writing style to really get into the plot.
Sunflower690 More than 1 year ago
I absoulutely enjoyed this book. I found it very entertaining and Ms Kinsella's witty style kept me laughing! I plan to read all of the shopaholic series. For me it was a welcome escape from a long day!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I started it last night and stayed up till 3 a.m. to finish this book! I really enjoyed this book ~~ it was funny, lighthearted and cute! I laughed out loud in some places and found myself shaking my head in other places. Rebecca is a girl who overdraws her bank account and maxes out her Visa card. I am not a big shopper (unless you call shopping for books a shopping spree ~~ then I am!) of clothes but it was funny just to hear her describe her clothes like she is posing for Vogue or Cosmo or even 17. Her justification for buying things are hilarious and the scene where she was trying to make curry made me laugh so hard! (I'm a cook and that scene just cracks me up because I've done the same thing she did!) Sophie took a character riddled with anxieties and insecurities and made her so likeable ~~ you can't help but laugh at some of her excuses. She has a vivid imagination which really carries the book through. I can see why some of the critics didn't care for this book ~~ it does sound like something from a fashion magazine, but Sophie is a good, clean writer. I really enjoyed this book and would like to read more of hers. Her sense of humor is a lot like mine and it is a refreshing read! I recommend it for a light, easy reading and if you're looking for humor, this book has it all.
Smrtgrl1889 More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a quick, funny and romantic read for summertime or really anytime, this is the perfect book. I found myself laughing outloud nearly every page and i really came to love Becky and her problems. This book has a little bit of everything from romance, fashion, humor, and family, but my favorite part was Becky's incredible sense of style. For anybody who loves fashion, be sure to pick this book up... you won't regret it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a quick, fun read that doesn't require much attention but will definitely keep you entertained and laughing. You may find yourself wondering if people like the main character really exist, but it won't matter because it's just that entertaining. And if you love to shop like I do, you'll appreciate the comedy even more! )
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's funny the previous post mentioned Bridgett Jones, because that's exactly who I picture as Rebecca and of course Hugh Grant as Luke. Having not read a book in years (I usually stick to newspapers and magazines - short attention span) I decided to give it a try. I didn't want anything too deep, nothing with violence, drugs or the mandatory black dress and sex that every romance novel describes in great detail. I must 'confess', it was the fun pink book cover and script that got my attention. The first couple chapters had me thinking 'oh come on' quite a bit, but once I got into the whole British thing and pictured Renee Zellweger playing the part, I really had fun with it. That's the way I would describe the book - fun. After I finished, I read ...Takes Manhattan which was equally as fun!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the book in a constant state of "what is WRONG with this girl???" Never once did I want her to succeed. I don't remember ever reading a book where I wished the main character would not live happily ever after. I don't feel like she ever really matured throughout the storyline.
Solitaireyqueen More than 1 year ago
I didn't enjoy this book as much as the other reviewers. I found Rebecca to be somewhat annoying after awhile, but the ending was satisfying to me. Sophie Kinsella has a lightweight writing style that kept me interested even though I was losing patience with Rebecca. I guess I don't have the patience for self-centered 25 year olds (even though I was one a very long time ago!). I was looking for some fluff to read and that's what I got.
Jen23257 More than 1 year ago
I didn't know the movie was a mix between the first book and the second. I was only half way through the first book when I watched the movie. I then finished the first book and loved it so much better than the movie! T The book itself if witty and funny. You're reading as if you are listening to her inner thoughts. It can get a little annoying after awhile but just put the book down and come back to it later. Overall it's a cute book and an easy read.
songofthestars91 More than 1 year ago
Sophie Kinsella creates the most charming characters that will have you laughing throughout the entire novel. Even though there were a few slow bits, I couldn't wait to dive into the imaginative mind of Rebecca Bloomwood time and time again. This novel was a fun read that easily took my mind off of my own problems and allowed me to explore the girly world of glamour. I recommend the Shopaholic books to any girl or woman who loves to laugh, shop, or both.
Jabr More than 1 year ago
Confessions of a Shopholic is a true girlie book. It is a modern day novel that women of today's generation can truly relate to. It has some funny parts that you will find yourself laughing at. It makes you wonder how your own shopping habits are?.
ahance More than 1 year ago
OK so I started this book because I wanted to see the movie-but needed to read the book first. And it is a good read! It is a little confusing since it takes place in London and I don't know the money difference so I didn't really know the prices or any of that but all in all it was a great and easy read! I was so looking forward to reading the rest of the set but when I read the teasers to them I was slightly disappointed. They felt like the same book just with small changes-like she goes to America in book 2 she gets married, she finds her long lost sister, and has a baby. I just can't seem to read the rest of the series.
readaholicIL More than 1 year ago
I just love Sophie kinsella's books. I have read every book she has written. She is an easy writter, very witty. she will make you laugh through out her books. Confessions of a shopaholic is a must read for anyone who wants to just sit back and relieve any strss you had that day. once you start reading this book you really don't want to put it down till the end. if you haven't read any of sophie kinsella books try this one, you won't be disappointed.
hjhoosier More than 1 year ago
Hillarious knock your socks off reading!
Kaileigh More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because I have a severe addiction to shopping and since the movie is coming out, I figured I might as well read the book. The book was ok. Definitely relatable a lot of times. I think I was looking for more when it was just a light, easy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the second you open the book, you are sucked in to the hillarious thoughts of Rebbeca Bloomwood. I couldn't put the book down. I absolutley hated finishing it, I just wanted the story to continue!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was better than I expected. I actually bought it at an airport to have something to read on the plane...and ever since i couldn't put the book down. Definite easy read and would recommend to any teenager/young adult.

I'm definitely going to continue reading the Shopaholic series.
Angels5 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I read of Sophie Kinsella's and let me tell you it was great. Perfect for the beach or the pool. I totally related to the main character, she was adorable, it was very fun yet truthful at the same time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hilarious story introducing Becky as the diva of shopping. Can't wait for the movie to come out (curious to see the casting of characters and if it is as detailed as the book). Great entertainnig/fast read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone that loves to shop will completely fall in love with this book. This book will enlighten you, make you laugh, and mature along with Becky Bloomwood. Great Summer Read.