This book is alright as chick lit goes, but it is no better than heaps of other offerings out there. This is really disappointing, as Sophie Kinsella usually does produce something which is far better than the norm in this genre.
The problem in a nutshell is that Becky is no longer someone I can relate to. She is supposedly happily married but yet she manages not to communicate about anything important with her husband. He, nonetheless, seems to adore her. One wonders why, if they are such a perfect couple, she feels unable to tell him when his mother calls her or when she has lost her job, and he feels unable to tell her how he feels about being a parent or about having practically accepted an overseas job offer without even consutling her (of course she is THRILLED- like you would be, not.)
And, as she behaves in increasingly erratic (and, to me, annoying) ways, he just "looks quizzically" at her, or his mouth "twitches slightly". I am getting tired of those lines as well.
Becky used to be a kind and endearing person. Her contribution to the sum of human happiness in this book seems mainly to be to help women hide their excessive purchases from their husbands. Now THAT is really going to help you sleep easy at night.
Oh yes, she is mother to a two year old, but, although Minnie seems to be very annoying in many ways, Becky never has to deal with preparing toddler food, scheduling her life around a nap, a wetting accident, waking in the night, or anything that normal 2 year olds do. Minnie can even party until the early hours at Luke's birthday - just like real life, not.
I know that chick lit is not supposed to be like real life. It is escapism, but, to appeal to me, it should have at least a thread of real life in it. That is what makes it funny. But this book is really not all that funny at all.
Danny reappears, behaves badly, and is forgiven (presumably because he is now more succesful and famous than ever and what can be more important than being rich and famous?)
Elinor reappears, still behaves like she has a socialisation disorder and, it is hinted, may be ill (and about to die and leave all her money to Becky I suppose? More shopping coming up in the next book then?)
There also seem to be more and more brandnames splashed about in this book. Even though I have really enjoyed Becky's previous shopping exploits, I am just downright tired of why she "has to" have a new Valentino dress when it is made abundantly clear that she cannot find rooom for the unworn clothes she already owns. What is charming about this? (I began to suspect that people may actually be paying to have their brands mentioned in these books. The imaginary brands of previous books have mysteriously disappeared.)
Towards the end of the book Becky has an encounter with someone who suggests (not before time) that she may have a serious problem with her shopping habits. I hope the next book (I am sure there will one, no matter what) deals with her facing up to this, finding her inner Becky and being nice again, but, given where she is heading at the end of this book, I wouldn't count on it.
I have never missed a Sophie Kinsella book yet, but I don't think I'll bother with the next one, and I won't be passing this one on to friends like I did with prevous ones either. I wouldn't want them to think I was shallow enough to regard it as anything more than a harmless way to pass the weekend.