I recently finished reading Confessions of a Shopaholic which was lent to me among other Sophie Kinsella novels including, Gatecrasher, The Undomestic Goddess and Can You Keep a Secret.
I left Confessions of a Shopaholic to the very last since I had already seen the movie with Isla Fisher. I had no idea that the film had completely and utterly misrepresented the book. I mean, completely! I had enjoyed the movie but now that I have read the book, I will look at it differently.
So these are my confessions, describing the great injustice done to the novel. Let's just say that in some ways I'm glad I watched the movie first because otherwise I would have hated it. It is literally shocking how much the film differs from the book. What a tragedy. What I can't understand is why they decided to shift around the story so drastically?
Let's start with the book. In Confessions of a Shopaholic we have Rebecca Bloomwood, a Londoner and financial journalist who is completely and utterly addicted to shopping. Like any other addiction, she gets urges which drive her to spend, spend, spend. She loves how it makes her feel. She uses it as a tool to alleviate any negative feelings she experiences. Then ignores the consequences by hiding threatening bank letters and ignoring them altogether. The debt piles up over time and eventually becomes overwhelming.
Rebecca is a sweet girl who seems to be a very ironic character since her job is giving financial advice to others while she suffers from an increasing debt. Throughout the book we are faced with Rebecca's innermost thoughts about how much she loves shopping. She loves clothes more than anything. She knows all the best places and has a keen sense of style. She always thinks that the next item or accessory she purchases will make her the "it" girl.
She lives with her best friend Suze while her parents live outside of London on very frugal means. They are loving but have no idea how lost poor Rebecca is in debt. Through the course of the book she imagines different possibilities and outlandish solutions to her debt problem. She even attempts her father's advice to either "C.B." (Cut Back) or "M.M.M." (Make More Money).
The book overall is quite good and would appeal to many women since being a shopaholic seems to be a common problem these days. With such easy access to credit cards it's easy to go into debt.
Now the movie or should I say, the butchered version of the book. The book was chopped up and moved around, some of it even tossed altogether. I will discuss the differences.
First of all in the movie Rebecca Bloomwood lives in New York. They changed the very place she lives! Why, I don't know. It doesn't seem like that big of a deal to keep her in London besides British accents are sexy but okay. Second, her roommate is also her co-worker. This is not so, in the book her "co-worker" is actually a girl who works in another company whom she meets up with frequently to chat, named Elly. Her roommate is Suze.
Another big difference is that in the movie she starts off working as a journalist at a gardening magazine then gets a job as a financial journalist. Luckily the name is still Successful Savings.
Even her boss is different! Her boss in the book is Phillip, a sort of typical, bureaucratic boss but in the movie they make her boss Luke Brandon who is actually the owner of the entire magazine in the book. So very confusing! Not only have they changed cities and characters, but they actually change the course of events.
A couple of other changes include the press conferences. In the book she attends these often and one time runs into the editor of the Daily World, a tabloid. He spooks the company running the conference with tough questions while she watches in awe. In the movie Luke Brandon makes her ask tough questions. Another strange change. The event in the book is significant since later on she realizes that her parent's neighbours have been wronged by a financial company. So she decides to write an honest and scathing article for the Daily World to reveal the dangers of trusting financial companies. This catches Luke Brandon's attention since the company is a client of his. This causes Rebecca to be invited on a talk show to debate with Luke Brandon.
In the movie she ends up on a talk show but it's completely unrelated to the original reason. Somehow in the movie she ends up writing catchy little fashion themed articles about finance and becomes this enigma called "The Girl in the Green Scarf". So stupid. I hate that they actually dumb her down in the movie.
There are so many astonishing and glaring differences between the book and the movie that they are innumerable. Just as another example she adds on her resume that she's fluent in Finnish when she applies to be a futures broker in the book. Immediately the interviewer is pleasantly surprised and takes her to meet a Finnish client they hope she will work with exclusively. In the film Luke Brandon introduces her to some Finnish fans of her writing whom she manages to trick into believing she does speak Finnish.
In conclusion, the book and the movie might as well not even be related. They are different in almost every way. The only thing I can say remains somewhat similar is Rebecca Bloomwood's character. I do have to say Isla Fisher does a good job of capturing the panic and anxiety ridden Rebecca. Other than that, there's pretty much nothing connecting them.
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