I am so sorry to say that I found this book intensely disappointing. While Emily Gray gave us another superb performance with her fantastically versatile voice and manner the story just did not hold up. This was not a good investment of my time and while I may very well listen to the first shopaholic again (which would make 3 times now), I definitely do not plan to listen to this installment again.In this installment of the Shopaholic we return to find our Becca living with the love of her life in New York.. We don't journey with her, it just happened. We don't get to experience any of her discovery of life in a new country we just read that it happened. She gets what seems to be the most cookie cutter version of the gay neighbor yet (like someone stolen right out of Will and Grace, only not nearly as appealing) and their relationship seems odd to say the least. The Becca that we left behind in volume one was learning how to stand for herself and face her problems and bad habits and making a true success of herself in England. That lady is left behind in this book for a woman who just follows her man, leaves her hard won work success completely, and has done a complete reversal with her bad habits. She is exactly back where she began in book one, she lies and sneaks about to accomplish her obsession. Only this time she is actually a worse shopaholic since she is also using Luke's money to do it. There is a long, extremely convoluted bit of nonsense that centers around her wedding. It is foolish and completely unbelievable. Furthermore, the whole yarn (or is it yawn) spun about the location of the wedding, where and when to have it and so forth is completely unneccessary. Not only does it not help the story, it drags the whole story down. Painfully. There is also a new element to the story, foul language. For some reason, Becca begins dropping the F bomb more and more towards the end of the story. Why? I have no idea.
The story of the Shopaholic was a fantastic Yeah, Girl power kind of story. Becca wasn't some malicious, gold digging harpie. She was just a sweet girl who got carried away and completely overwhelmed. The first book was really about her personal journey of self discovery. Through it all we knew that this girl yearned to get it right. She may not have learned her lessons easily but once learned she took them to heart. Becca had a sense of compassion that really shined through and helped her to become a better person. She also had a strong, if somewhat misguided, sense of self. Even when she was at her lowest Becca did not allow the Lukes of this world to mistreat her.All of that is gone with book two. That strong girl has vanished and been replaced with someone who is so easily swayed that she allows her neighbor and just about anybody else to tell her what to do and how and when. She even allows her future mother in law to abuse and disrespect her beloved parents, something that the Becca from book one would never have allowed. The sense of inner strength that the first Becca radiated so strongly is completely gone and the lessons learned right along with it.
I am sorry to say I don't have a favorite scene from this volume. The story was so absurd and unbelievable it quickly became uninviting as well. I finished it because I paid for it, not because I enjoyed it.
Unfortunately I do not consider my time spent listening to the story well spent, as truth be told, by the time the story ended I didn't even like any of the main characters. But I must say that Emily Gray gave a fantastic performance, despite her difficulty with male character voices, she draws you in and makes each character full and believable.
I loved Sophie Kinsella's first Shopaholic so much I don't know, maybe I will try another of her books later on down the road. But I definitely will be on the lookout for more performances by Ms. Gray. In fact I would love to hear her voice on books by MC Beaton, she would be an interesting change of pace for the Agatha Raisin books for example and be absolutely perfect for her Edwardian series. She would also be a fun choice for ED Baker's books, Once Upon a Curse for instance.
I have listened to this book three times already and am sure I will listen to it many more times in the future. I have shared it with family and friends and alike. The book is funny, irreverant, sweet and insightful. William Shatner speaks so easily and so freely in this book you actually feel more like a friend listening to another friend share stories rather than a reader. He doesn't hold back either. Mr. Shatner shares some real personal insights and experiences and doesn't shy away from talking about his Star Trek relationships, epiphanies and even failures.
Listening to this book is almost like having a heart to heart with one of the most successful actors on the planet. In this book he shares triumphs, life lessons and some truly funny stuff. As an actor this book holds lessons that are invaluable. As a pure straight up fan this book is simply priceless.
The standout character in this book is quite simply, William Shatner. He holds a mirror up to himself and his life and reveals to us the man, the actor, the husband, the creative mind, the grandfather. He shows himself as a real human being, flaws and all. Mr. Shatner is proud of his accomplishments, his highs and his lows and is not afraid to learn from all of it. In this book he shares his lessons and his fantastic, sardonic sense of humour and above all else: his intense gratitude for the life he lives. This man is a fighter and he makes you want to be one too.
While Mr. Shatner is a fantastic writer, clear, concise and capable of weaving many a fantastic mental picture with his words alone hearing his actual voice is the absolute icing on the cake. I hate to admit this, I am a voice actress after all, but this is one book that absolutely NO ONE else could have read as successfully. Mr. Shatner uses both his superb writing style and his intimate
William Shatner in his own words, the story of a gifted man.
I bought this book because I have been a fan of Mr. Shatner's from Captain Kirk all the way to Denny Crane and beyond. I thought it would be a great laugh. I was seriously surprised by how genuinely open he was in this book and how willing he was to lay his life wide open for readers to see. Listening to this book was like having one of Oprah's Lifeclasses/Master Classes shared with me in a private session. Very refreshing. It was a pleasure and an honor and I would highly recommend this reading experience to absolutely anyone of any age.
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