I am happy to report that Shopaholic did not disappoint and was in fact extremely irritating. It followed a fairly standard pattern: Single white female without a vestige of self-contol in some key area (could be eating, spending, fashion sense, etc.) goes through a difficult spell caused by said lack of self-control but emerges triumphant due to the loyalty of her super cool friends and her own pluck.
Here's the spoiler: Girl in her twenties with a low-paid job has no - wait for it - self-control over her spending. She gets piles of dunning statements from the banks and ignores them, going shopping to feel better. Her attempt to save results in her spending even more money as she equips herself in style to make her own lunches and coffee. Not that I'm some kind of genius financial planner or anything but I found myself yelling, 'STOP SPENDING, WOMAN, YOU'RE IN DEBT YOU SILLY COW!!' Of course, typical of the genre, she has a loyal and rich best friend who lets her live in her trendy apartment for very low rent. Anyway, her attempts to earn more turn out badly and she completely messes up the lives of her parents' neighbors with her own incomepetence and disinterest in others but not to worry - by the end of the book this very average girl has a high-paying TV career and is dating a multi-millionaire, after dumping another multi-millionaire.
Although, to be fair it wasn't quite as irritating as Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner (which appropriately enough means 'Jennifer Crybaby' in German), which I read a couple of years ago. I have to admit it got off to an unusual and creative start, with the overweight heroine's boyfriend writing an article about how it feels to date a fat girl. I thought that was a cool twist and figured this would be the story of someone who changes their life through hard work and discipline, and with luck a final satisfying humiliation of the crappy boyfriend. But no, the heroine continues to mope around, although she somehow manages to parlay her mopeyness into a BFF relationship with a famous actress, who takes her on fabulous, all expenses paid vacations and introduces her to handsome movie stars. Naturally, the richest and handsomest movie star falls for her but he's not quite what she's looking for so she ends up marrying a wonderful, kind, considerate doctor instead, who is also completely crazy about her. Totally believable. Oh, and did I mention she's pregnant? Of course, it goes without saying that her friend the actress decorates their new home with a gorgeous designer nursury as a wedding present.
Side comment: This is obviously just silly because my mom was once best friends with one of the Young and the Restless actresses and I got, like, a sweater for my birthday and a date with Michael Damien. Which was quite nice and I think a bit more realistic, don't you? Or when was the last time Julia Roberts outfitted your house with $50K worth of Pottery Barn furniture? So, nice fantasy but I prefer heroines that work for their happy ending.
I am also reading The Reader by Bernhard Schlink for book club, although I am reading it in German (Der Vorleser) and it's a bit too serious for my taste. I know, I'm hard to please. But frankly, the affair of a teenage boy with an older woman, told from the perspective of the boy, isn't exactly my go to genre. And finally, I am meandering my way through The Self-Aware Universe by Amit Goswami, which is a fascinating juxtaposition of classical and quantum theory that concludes that consciousness, rather than matter, is the underlying fabric of the universe. In other words, matter doesn't cause consciousness, consciousness causes (or collapses the wave function of) matter. I'll probably revisit this one in a later post because the implications are pretty interesting. Maven - your husband might like it.