Even though I’ve been reading the Confessions of a Shopaholic series for awhile now, I thought that with the movie coming out (February 13, but who’s counting), it was time to have a little talk about it. If you’re one of my regular readers and are wondering what happened to my standards, I’ll ask you to step down from your ivory tower for a moment and entertain the possibility that contemporary, serial chick lit. might have a lot to say about us, our culture, and even how we handle sin in our lives. And you men, this isn’t all about designer handbags and shoes. But it is, just a bit.
From what I can tell from the previews, the Shopaholic books seem to have some pretty big differences from the movie, and there’s a chance that book one and two mix in the movie. So, I’m going to take some liberties and address themes that I saw represented in both books. Most noteworthy, Rebecca Bloomwood, the protagonist, hails from London, not New York, so you get to read the books with a lovely British accent, not to mention the fact that sweaters are called “jumpers.” Why is this important? Okay, it’s not really critical to my overall review, but I find these kinds of details highly important when books are made into movies.
Rebecca writes for a financial journal titled Successful Savings, a dead end job that she doesn’t enjoy one bit. Her main love is shopping, but sadly, her wages from journalism never quite seem to cover her monthly credit card bills. Inevitably, her debt piles up, and she’s faced with the irony of being a financial expert who can’t manage her own finances.
This would be pathetic if it weren’t so alarmingly familiar. No, I’m not saying that I have a shopping addiction (but I do sympathize with her brand name handbag obsession, even though I don’t splurge…I simply…drool). But any kind of sin works this exact same way.
Rebecca tries everything she can to overcome her sin. She hides it. She ignores it. She goes cold turkey, then binges. It’s shocking how familiar this is. Even if this isn’t your particular demon.
What’s refreshing about these books is that the heroine has a major problem, and she doesn’t find any easy answers. And she doesn’t find a magic cure at the end of each book, either.
These aren’t Christian books, so Rebecca isn’t giving her life to Jesus and getting his help with her spending issues (Actually, if this was your typical “Christian fiction,” she’s have all her shopping issues worked out by the end and be making her own clothes from homespun wool. And let’s not forget the obligatory salvation experience.). But in this story, Rebecca is living the life of every sinner who is fighting sin. Until you realize that Christ is the only answer, you’re left to your own pathetic devices.
Even the Apostle Paul struggled with sin. He knew what it was like to fight it. But he also knew to go to Christ for his help.
For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being. But I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin (Romans 7:21-25).
Rebecca Bloomwood may not be perfect. But neither was Paul. And let’s face it, neither are you. But it’s okay because we have a perfect Savior who loves us and sanctifies us, even if we struggle with a designer “jumper” addiction. Or what have you.