Sophie Kinsella has dazzled readers with her irresistible Shopaholic novels—sensational international bestsellers that have garnered millions of devoted fans and catapulted her into the first rank of contemporary storytellers. Now her beloved heroine Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) returns in a hilarious tale of married life, toddlerhood, and the perils of trying to give a fabulous surprise party—on a budget!Read more...
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Sept 2010
From the cover
OK. Don't panic. I'm in charge. I, Rebecca Brandon (née Bloomwood), am the adult. Not my two-year-old daughter.
Only I'm not sure she realizes this.
"Minnie, darling, give me the pony." I try to sound calm and assured, like Nanny Sue off the telly.
"Poneeee." Minnie grips the toy pony more tightly.
"Mine!" she cries hysterically. "Miiiine poneee!"
Argh. I'm holding about a million shopping bags, my face is sweating, and I could really do without this.
It was all going so well. I'd been round the whole shopping mall and bought all the last little things on my Christmas list. Minnie and I were heading toward Santa's Grotto, and I only stopped for a moment to look at a dollhouse. Whereupon Minnie grabbed a toy pony off the display and refused to put it back. And now I'm in the middle of Ponygate.
A mother in J Brand skinny jeans with an impeccably dressed daughter walks past, giving me the Mummy Once-Over, and I flinch. Since I had Minnie, I've learned that the Mummy Once-Over is even more savage than the Manhattan Once-Over. In the Mummy Once-Over, they don't just assess and price your clothes to the nearest penny in one sweeping glance. Oh no. They also take in your child's clothes, pram brand, nappy bag, snack choice, and whether your child is smiling, snotty, or screaming.
Which I know is a lot to take in, in a one-second glance, but believe me, mothers are multitaskers.
Minnie definitely scores top marks for her outfit. (Dress: one-off Danny Kovitz; coat: Rachel Riley; shoes: Baby Dior.) And I've got her safely strapped into her toddler reins (Bill Amberg leather, really cool; they were in Vogue). But instead of smiling angelically like the little girl in the photo shoot, she's straining against them like a bull waiting to dash into the ring. Her eyebrows are knitted with fury, her cheeks are bright pink, and she's drawing breath to shriek again.
"Minnie." I let go of the reins and put my arms round her so that she feels safe and secure, just like it recommends in Nanny Sue's book, Taming Your Tricky Toddler. I bought it the other day, to have a flick through. Just out of idle interest. I mean, it's not that I'm having problems with Minnie or anything. It's not that she's difficult. Or "out of control and willful," like that stupid teacher at the toddler music group said. (What does she know? She can't even play the triangle properly.)
The thing about Minnie is, she's . . . spirited. She has firm opinions about things. Like jeans (she won't wear them) or carrots (she won't eat them). And right now her firm opinion is that she should have a toy pony.
"Minnie, darling, I love you very much," I say in a gentle, crooning voice, "and it would make me very happy if you gave me the pony. That's right, give it to Mummy." I've nearly done it. My fingers are closing around the pony's head . . .
Ha. Skills. I've got it. I can't help looking round to see if anyone's observed my expert parenting.
"Miiiine!" Minnie wrenches the pony out of my hand and makes a run for it across the shop floor. Shit.
"Minnie! Minnie!" I yell.
I grab my carrier bags and leg it furiously after Minnie, who has already disappeared into the Action Man section. God, I don't know why we bother training all these athletes for the Olympics. We should just field a team of toddlers.
As I catch up with her, I'm panting. I really have to start my postnatal exercises sometime.
"Give me the pony!" I try to take it, but she's gripping it like a limpet.
"Mine poneee!" Her dark eyes flash at me with a resolute glint. Sometimes I look at Minnie and she's so like her father it gives me a jolt.
Speaking of which, where...
"Frothy fun . . . Faster than a swiping Visa, more powerful than a two-for-one coupon, able to buy complete wardrobes in a single sprint through the mall--it's Shopaholic!"--The Washington Post
"A page-turner . . . [Sophie] Kinsella at her most hilarious best."--Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"Screamingly funny." - USA Today