Sophie Kinsella cites Jane Austen as a major influence on her writing, and her Shopaholic series in particular. It makes sense: Becky Bloomwood is, like Austen heroines, a quirky, endearing character with a fatal flaw – not pride, or predjudice, but a propensity to overspend. Kinsella’s books, like Austen’s, skewer contemporary society while guaranteeing a happy ending.
And it’s totally on-brand. Shopaholic titles are aimed directly at people who love Jane Austen (or think they would, if they get around to reading her.)
But I think Kinsella took some inspiration from another pioneering British woman author. One who might not resonate so well with her readers, being far too dark and dreary and depressing.
I read Good Morning, Midnight for Reading Rhys Week and in many ways it was a singular reading experience; but destructive heroine Sasha Jensen reminded me of something I’d read before. The fixation on clothes, accessories, and hair. The reliance on handouts from friends and family. The failed attempt at being a shopgirl. The time and effort spent on hiding from both her past and her future.
I thought it was all a coincidence till I got to the part where Sasha lies about knowing a second language to impress an employer. Just like Becky Bloomwood does in Confessions of a Shopaholic.
Then it dawned on me: Sasha Jensen is an older, broken Becky Bloomwood.
Don’t believe me? Let’s play a game.
Who said it: Becky Bloomwood or Sasha Jensen?
For each category, I chose one quote from Good Morning, Midnight, and one quote from Confessions of a Shopaholic. Can you guess who said it? Answers at bottom. Continue reading