Sunday, October 3, 2010

Romping Along In Good Humor

Well, I've got a new crop of books for you, product of the last days (as promised, I think).  I'm kind of tired right now, but I think it's best to get right down to it, don't you? :) So without further ado (gosh, not really my most original or spicy turn of phrase)... My first read of the last days was Sophie Kinsella's Mini Shopaholic, #6 in the series.   I actually had totally forgotten to check when a new one of these was coming out but it happened to be displayed on the library website, so I reserved it and my wonderful mother actually went and picked it up for me (don't I have the best mother? :)) But anyway, of course I wasn't the only one interested in this book, so I discussed it with Huvi, even though I warned her that would affect the freshness and spontaneity of my review... but what can I do? I am putty in her hands :)

So... the Shopaholic series isn't exactly prime reading for me in any case, as may be indicated by my ignorance of the publishing date.  But I always read them, because having started, I haven't had any reason to stop.  The first book was somewhat romantic, which of course was the chief attraction, but since then the romance has been at best sporadic (well, actually it's been there sporadically in every book - more on that in a bit).  But the main attraction to these is actually that they're funny.  Funny because Sophie Kinsella just has great comic timing.  And of course, I'm not averse to reading about London girls living the high life surrounded by D&G, Fendi, Chanel and all that other stuff :)

So that's the good part of these books.  The bad part is that Becky Bloomwood is a first class idiot.  She is completely irresponsible, getting herself in spending trouble in every book, but that's not even the worst of it.  She's also compulsively dishonest with herself and others, until you just want to scream at her, stop it! just be sensible for once.  I mean, it's just difficult to sympathize with her when she's so clearly doing something idiotic.  So even though everything always works out in the end, it can get pretty tough to slog through all the schemes and disasters that make up the Becky Bloomwood Brandon life. 

But what about Becky's and Luke's relationship, which could potentially be the best part of the book? First off, I like Luke - I don't think he's mean (expressed opinion of my sister) - I think he's just much too reserved.  Which is a problem for the Brandon marriage, but doesn't make me hate him.  Especially because he may be too reserved, but Becky tends to hide things from him as well (things like credit card bills and whatnot...) so the lack of communication is really both their faults.  But - and this is where the sporadic romance comes in - that lack of communication actually makes for some decent angst... and the occasionally re-declaration of love and devotion to spice things up for the old married couple :) So I guess I should really complain... but these characters do make you scream with their stupidity here as well.

So much for the series in general? What to say about this book... Two things I guess, one for each of the subplots in the book.  #1 is the newest Brandon, Minnie, now age 2 and a SPOILED ROTTEN BRAT.  So obviously the proud parents need to deal with that... and they do, in a matter of speaking.  But two things - Becky Bloomwood is a *horrible* mother - I mean other people can control her daughter, but she never makes the slightest push to do so.  And that is never acknowledged at all, or dealt with - as far as the book is concerned, Becky's parenting skills are just fine.  And guess what? (spoiler) Apparently, Minnie isn't even a little terror, just a spirited toddler! To which I say, my toddler *better* not have that much spirit! So even though I never have much interest in parenting stories, I'd say this one was worse than average.  At least it never gets too tense... Which is more than I can say for the other subplot.  If it can even be dignified with that title... Becky's big plans in this book are all dedicated toward throwing Luke a spectacular surprise birthday party.  The amount of trouble she ends up getting into, the harebrained schemes that don't work out... it's the same as every other book but this time it's about something that TOTALLY DOESN'T MATTER! Sorry for the abuse of caps, but this annoyed me.  I mean, seriously, when I read the book jacket I was like, umm... where's the plot? I'm sure something else happens... but nothing does. It's just about throwing a party.  But I guess the plus side is no matter how tense it all gets, it just can't be that bad... be who cares anyway?

Actually I got the feeling that this book was mostly filler anyway, kind of like the 5th Harry Potter.  Life goes on, setting the stage for some new scenes in Book 7 (wow, Book 7), but there's not much crucial development.  And do we care? Well not much, after I get over my annoyance with all the above things I just complained about.  After all, I'm not exactly a stickler for meaning in literature :) I'm not sure why it even bothered me that this book was about a party... maybe just because there is so much tension... and you know I don't like tension :) But the point is, after all that, the book was still fun to read! Because guess what? Sophie Kinsella knows what she's doing.

Verdict: 3.5/5
Food: There's a lot I don't like about it... but I still enjoy it in the end - is there *any* food like that? Maybe tropical mike and ikes.  They are *not* my favorite flavor - kind of weird and somewhat too sweet... but you know, they're still pretty good

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