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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Confessions of a Shopaholic

    Lately it seems that mental disorders are lurking around every corner. It has become impossible to watch television without be bombarded by advertisements for anti depressants or anti anxiety medication, that succeed at nothing but nagging at our conscious, making us feel that something is wrong. Normally, if I felt tired I would just attribute it to a long night out with friends, now we immediately run to Web MD for a quick diagnosis. Well, I am happy to report that I recently came across a book that matches my symptoms and categorizes them into a mental illness I can live with.

    Some of the symptoms include impulsivity, anxiety, panic and severe feelings of regret or remorse. Yes, I am a shopaholic.

    My diagnosis came from the first book in Sophie Kinsella ‘s series, “Confessions of a Shopaholic.” The main character in the novel, Rebecca Bloomwood is a journalist for a financial magazine who advises her readers on how to budget their money more efficiently. The irony is that Rebecca is swimming in a sea of credit card debt that keeps getting worse.

    Rebecca, or Becky as she more commonly goes by, poses as a wealthy businesswoman living in an area that is the London equivalent to Soho in Manhattan. At first glance, it seems like Becky has everything; a nice apartment, designer clothing and a glamorous group of socialite friends. But underneath her clever disguise, Becky suffers from an illness that so many women including myself, are plagued by.

    Every morning Becky is greeted by a stack of bills and final warning notices from numerous credit card agencies. But not to worry, Becky has developed a system for dealing with this terrible nuisance that involves hiding the letters in her top dresser draw. Now that Becky can breathe, she finds comfort in thinking that she can’t possibly be expected to pay these bills because she will just tell Visa she never received the letter ? or letters.

    The constant lure of consumerism is everywhere. Even on her way to work, Becky is drawn toward brightly colored signs displaying that glorious four letter word; Sale. The temptation is an all too familiar one for Becky who can feel her feet moving towards the door to buy a $15 dollar lip gloss that she can’t afford. But to shopaholics like Becky, she just struck a deal and is now the proud owner of an adorable little make-up case.

    As the novel continues, Becky develops a filthy habit of telling little white lies to hide her disease. She even goes as far as to ask a sexy high profile businessman, in the middle of a press conference, to borrow 10 dollars to purchase a designer scarf for her “dying aunt.” Not even this humiliating stunt can discourage Becky from shopping.

    The lies have gone too far and Becky decides it is time for a serious life change. She tells her roommate that she took care of that large stack of bills ages ago and is now seeking professional help from a self-help book on how to manage her money more efficiently. She is turning over a new leaf by following the one simple rule that the author promises that if followed correctly, will give you the bank account of a millionaire. All Becky has to do is limit her spending to necessary items only. Simple.

    Things finally seem to be progressing in the right direction for Becky. But just as Becky begins to get a sense of control a curve ball is thrown her way. She finally comes face to face with one of the many bank managers who has been hassling her through letters and nasty voicemails and in a moment of desperation, finds herself telling one of the worst lies of all. With a new romance in the mist and a lie so huge even Becky can’t find her way out of, will this addict finally get the break she deserves?

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