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Shopaholic & Baby, by Sophie Kinsella & Katherine Kellgren (Narrator)

Shopaholic & Baby

Maybe it takes a shopaholic to love a shopaholic, or maybe Becky Brandon is just a universally endearing character. In Sophie Kinsella's latest Shopaholic saga, Becky is not only delighted that she's pregnant, she's thrilled that she now has new shopping pursuits-baby clothes, baby furniture, even a baby doctor. When she hears that celebrity obstetrician, Venetia Carter provides new mothers with lotus water births, Thai massages and designer goody bags, she moves heaven and earth to become one of her patients. Come to think of it, Becky does a lot of heaven and earth moving -- getting the perfect house, complete with separate shoe room, trying to save her marriage, trying to rescue her husband's company, and trying to revitalize her employer's business. (She's the head personal shopper at a London department store, what else?) Even this human dynamo eventually encounters obstacles that seem insurmountable.

Kinsella has created a character who at first seems ditzy, shallow and self-centered, but who evolves into a resourceful, sensitive friend, wife and mother. Her antics are laugh-out-loud funny and predictably unpredictable. After weepingly writing 17 pages of angst to her "unfaithful" husband, she suddenly decides that she can forgive him if he agrees to meet her at the top of a tall tower at midnight. Since she has trouble staying awake, she scratches out midnight and substitutes 6 p.m. Not being aware of any tall towers in London, she decides the top of the OXO building will be perfect for a romantic rendezvous.

Katherine Kellgren's narration is perfect. Her range of voices spans from the gravely cockney of the private investigator to the Queen's English of the society mavens. She is able to infuse Becky with manic energy in one breath and deliver Venetia's languid saccharine balm the next.

Did I like this book? Absolutely! It's fun, and it's a perfect escape from all the serious concerns of real life. Becky is like a 21st-century Lucy Ricardo, full of comical, exasperating, hair-brained ideas that sound impossible to everyone but her. Shaking my head and laughing as I listened to her in the car, I must have looked like one of those bobble head dogs found in a back window.

Ruth Mormon

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