“Shopaholic and Sister” by Sophie Kinsella

The adventures of Becky Bloomwood, now Becky Brandon, continue. Becky and Luke are finishing up their monster round-the-world honeymoon (in a great scene, Becky has a moment of enlightenment when she runs barefoot across hot coals in pursuit of souvenir bracelets) and have to return to “real life.” But a huge surprise is waiting for Becky upon her return–she has a secret sister!

As others have noted, the basic premise of all these stories is the same: Becky can’t control her spending or her tendency to fib in order to avoid confrontation and spare the feelings of others. With the introduction of her sister in this book, another trend, one that ties this series in with other popular “chick lit” series (e.g., Twilight, 50 Shades), emerges: female relationships. These kinds of books are generally noted for their male-female relationships, normally with the heroine snagging a rich handsome husband, but equally important in my opinion, if less obvious, are the relationships between the heroine and her female friends and relatives. Part of their “coming of age” story is that of a woman finding her place in a community of other women, and negotiating her relationships with them. As part of the growing-up process, our heroines have to learn to recognize the similarities between them and other women, especially other women in their families, and that’s what happens here with Becky and Jess. Which is not to say that this isn’t largely a lighthearted description of Becky’s shopping trips and the crazy scrapes she gets herself into, because it is, but it’s also about something much more important (and female-friendly) than that.

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