Mini-shopaholic : a novel / Sophie Kinsella.
- 3 of 4 copies available at Evergreen Indiana.
0 current holds with 4 total copies.
View other formats and editions
|Location||Call Number / Copy Notes||Barcode||Shelving Location||Status||Due Date|
|Eckhart PL - Main||F KINSELLA sophie shopaholi bk.6 (Text)||840191001879884||Adult Fiction - Second Floor||Temporarily Unavailable||-|
|Newburgh Chandler PL - Bell Road Library||FIC KIN (SHOPAHOLIC) 6 (Text)||39206020383848||Fiction||Available||-|
|Newburgh Chandler PL - Chandler Branch Library||FIC KIN (SHOPAHOLIC) 6 (Text)||39206020383855||Fiction||Available||-|
|Starke Co PL - Schricker Main Library (Knox)||F KIN (Text)||30032010511571||ADULT FICTION||Available||-|
- ISBN: 9780385342049 (hb.)
- Physical Description: 414 pages ; 22cm.
- Edition: 1st ed.
- Publisher: New York : Dial Press, 2010.
While trying to deal with her mini-terror 2-year-old, financially strapped Becky Brandon attempts to plan a surprise party on a budget for her husband, Luke, and starts to come apart at the seams as she juggles the party, her precocious child, and her faltering personal-shopping business.
Search for related items by subject
|Subject:||Bloomwood, Becky (Fictitious character)
Mothers and daughters > Fiction.
Shopping > Fiction.
London (England) > Fiction.
Search for related items by series
OK. Donât panic. Iâm in charge. I, Rebecca Brandon (nÃ©e Bloomwood), am the adult. Not my two-year-old daughter.
Only Iâm not sure she realizes this.
âMinnie, darling, give me the pony.â I try to sound calm and assured, like Nanny Sue off the telly.
âPoneeee.â Minnie grips the toy pony more tightly.
âMine!â she cries hysterically. âMiiiine poneee!â
Argh. Iâm holding about a million shopping bags, my face is sweating, and I could really do without this.
It was all going so well. Iâd been round the whole shopping mall and bought all the last little things on my Christmas list. Minnie and I were heading toward Santaâs 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 Iâm 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, Iâve learned that the Mummy Once-Over is even more savage than the Manhattan Once-Over. In the Mummy Once-Over, they donât just assess and price your clothes to the nearest penny in one sweeping glance. Oh no. They also take in your childâs 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 Iâve 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, sheâs straining against them like a bull waiting to dash into the ring. Her eyebrows are knitted with fury, her cheeks are bright pink, and sheâs drawing breath to shriek again.
âMinnie.â 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 Sueâs book, Taming Your Tricky Toddler. I bought it the other day, to have a flick through. Just out of idle interest. I mean, itâs not that Iâm having problems with Minnie or anything. Itâs not that sheâs difficult. Or âout of control and willful,â like that stupid teacher at the toddler music group said. (What does she know? She canât even play the triangle properly.)
The thing about Minnie is, sheâs . . . spirited. She has firm opinions about things. Like jeans (she wonât wear them) or carrots (she wonât eat them). And right now her firm opinion is that she should have a toy pony.
âMinnie, darling, I love you very much,â I say in a gentle, crooning voice, âand it would make me very happy if you gave me the pony. Thatâs right, give it to Mummy.â Iâve nearly done it. My fingers are closing around the ponyâs head . . .
Ha. Skills. Iâve got it. I canât help looking round to see if anyoneâs observed my expert parenting.
âMiiiine!â Minnie wrenches the pony out of my hand and makes a run for it across the shop floor. Shit.
âMinnie! Minnie!â I yell.
I grab my carrier bags and leg it furiously after Minnie, who has already disappeared into the Action Man section. God, I donât 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, Iâm panting. I really have to start my postnatal exercises sometime.
âGive me the pony!â I try to take it, but sheâs gripping it like a limpet.
âMine poneee!â Her dark eyes flash at me with a resolute glint. Sometimes I look at Minnie and sheâs so like her father it gives me a jolt.
Speaking of which, where is Luke? We were supposed to be doing Christmas shopping together. As a family. But he disappeared an hour ago, muttering something about a call he had to make, and I havenât seen him since. Heâs probably sitting somewhere having a civilized cappuccino over the newspaper. Typical.
âMinnie, weâre not buying it,â I say in my best firm manner. âYouâve got lots of toys already and you donât need a pony.â
A woman with straggly dark hair, gray eyes, and toddlers in a twin buggy shoots me an approving nod. I canât help giving her the Mummy Once-Over myself, and sheâs one of those mothers who wears Crocs over nubbly homemade socks. (Why would you do that? Why?)
âItâs monstrous, isnât it?â she says. âThose ponies are forty pounds! My kids know better than to even ask,â she adds, shooting a glance at her two boys, who are slumped silently, thumbs in mouths. âOnce you give in to them, thatâs the beginning of the end. Iâve got mine well trained.â
âAbsolutely,â I say in dignified tones. âI couldnât agree more.â
âSome parents would just buy their kid that pony for a quiet life. No discipline. Itâs disgusting.â
âTerrible,â I agree, and make a surreptitious swipe for the pony, which Minnie adeptly dodges. Damn.
âThe biggest mistake is giving in to them.â The woman is regarding Minnie with a pebblelike gaze. âThatâs what starts the rot.â
Well, I never give in to my daughter,â I say briskly. âYouâre not getting the pony, Minnie, and thatâs final.â
âPoneeee!â Minnieâs wails turn to heartrending sobs. She is such a drama queen. (She gets it from my mum.)
âGood luck, then.â The woman moves off. âHappy Christmas.â
âMinnie, stop!â I hiss furiously as soon as sheâs disappeared. âYouâre embarrassing both of us! What do you want a stupid pony for, anyway?â
âPoneeee!â Sheâs cuddling the pony to her as though itâs her long-lost faithful pet that was sold at market five hundred miles away and has just stumbled back to the farm, footsore and whickering for her.
âItâs only a silly toy,â I say impatiently. âWhatâs so special about it, anyway?â And for the first time I look properly at the pony.
Wow. Actually . . . it is pretty fab. Itâs made of painted white wood with glittery stars all over and the sweetest hand-painted face. And it has little red trundly wheels.
âYou really donât need a pony, Minnie,â I sayâbut with slightly less conviction than before. Iâve just noticed the saddle. Is that genuine leather? And it has a proper bridle with buckles and the mane is made of real horsehair. And it comes with a grooming set!
For forty quid this isnât bad value at all. I push one of the little red wheels, and it spins round perfectly. Now that I think about it, Minnie doesnât have a toy pony. Itâs quite an obvious gap in her toy cupboard.
I mean, not that Iâm going to give in.
âIt winds up too,â comes a voice behind me, and I turn to see an elderly sales assistant approaching us. âThereâs a key in the base. Look!â
She winds the key, and both Minnie and I watch, mesmerized, as the pony starts rising and falling in a carousel motion while tinkly music plays.
Oh my God, I love this pony.
âItâs on special Christmas offer at forty pounds,â the assistant adds. âNormally this would retail for seventy. Theyâre handmade in Sweden.â
Nearly fifty percent off. I knew it was good value. Didnât I say it was good value?
âYou like it, donât you, dear?â The assistant smiles at Minnie, who beams back, her stroppiness vanished. In fact, I donât want to boast, but she looks pretty adorable with her red coat and dark pigtails and dimpled cheeks. âSo, would you like to buy one?â
âI . . . um . . .â I clear my throat.
Come on, Becky. Say no. Be a good parent. Walk away.
My hand steals out and strokes the mane again.
But itâs so gorgeous. Look at its dear little face. And a pony isnât like some stupid craze, is it? Youâd never get tired of a pony. Itâs a classic. Itâs, like, the Chanel jacket of toys.
And itâs Christmas. And itâs on special offer. And, who knows, Minnie might turn out to have a gift for riding, it suddenly occurs to me. A toy pony might be just the spur she needs. I have a sudden vision of her at age twenty, wearing a red jacket, standing by a gorgeous horse at the Olympics, saying to the TV cameras, âIt all began one Christmas, when I received the gift that changed my life. . . .â
My mind is going round and round like a computer processing DNA results, trying to find a match. There has to be a way in which I can simultaneously: 1) Not give in to Minnieâs tan?trum; 2) be a good parent; and 3) buy the pony. I need some clever blue-sky solution like Luke is always paying business consultants scads of money to come up with . . .
And then the answer comes to me. A totally genius idea which I canât believe Iâve never had before. I haul out my phone and text Luke:
Luke! Have just had a really good thought. I think Minnie should get pocket money.
Immediately a reply pings back:
So she can buy things, of course! I start to type. Then I think again. I delete the text and carefully type instead:
Children need to learn about finance from early age. Read it in article. Empowers them and gives responsibility.
A moment later Luke texts: Canât we just buy her the FT?
Shut up. I type: Weâll say two pounds a week shall we?
R u mad? Comes zipping back: 10p a week is plenty.
I stare at the phone indignantly. 10p? Heâs such an old skinflint. Whatâs she supposed to buy with that?
And weâll never afford the pony on 10p a week.
50p a week. I type firmly. Is national average. (Heâll never check.) Where r u anyway? Nearly time for Father Christmas!!
OK whatever. Iâll be there comes the reply.
Result! As I put away my phone, Iâm doing a quick mental calculation: Fifty pence a week for two years makes Â£52. Easy enough. God, why on earth have I never thought of pocket money before? Itâs perfect! Itâs going to add a whole new dimension to our shopping trips.
I turn to Minnie, feeling rather proud of myself.
âNow, listen, darling,â I announce. âIâm not going to buy this pony for you, because Iâve already said no. But as a special treat, you can buy it for yourself out of your own pocket money. Isnât that exciting?â
Minnie eyes me uncertainly. Iâll take that as a yes.
âAs youâve never spent any of your pocket money, youâve got two yearsâ worth, which is plenty. You see how great saving is?â I add brightly. âYou see how fun it is?â
As we walk to the checkout, I feel totally smug. Talk about responsible parenting. Iâm introducing my child to the principles of financial planning at an early age. I could be a guru on TV myself! Super Beckyâs Guide to Fiscally Responsible Parenting. I could wear different boots in each episodeâ
Iâm jolted out of my daydream to see that Minnie has dropped the pony and is now clutching a pink plastic monstrosity. Where did she get that? Itâs Winnieâs Wagon, from that cartoon show.
âWagon?â She raises her eyes hopefully.
âWeâre not getting the wagon, darling,â I say patiently. âYou wanted the pony. The lovely pony, remember?â
Minnie surveys the pony with total indifference. âWagon.â
âPony!â I grab the pony off the floor.
This is so frustrating. How can she be so fickle? She definitely gets that trait from Mum.
âPony!â I cry, more loudly than I meant to, and brandish the pony at her. âI want the poneeeââ
Suddenly I get a prickly-neck feeling. I look round to see the woman with the toddler boys, standing a few yards away, staring at me with her pebblelike eyes.
âI mean . . .â I hastily lower the pony, my cheeks burning. âYes, you may buy the pony out of your pocket money. Basic financial planning,â I add briskly to the pebble-eyed woman. âWhat we learned today is that you have to save up before you can buy things, didnât we, darling? Minnieâs spent all her pocket money on the pony, and it was a very good choiceââ
âIâve found the other pony!â The assistant suddenly appears again, breathless and carrying a dusty box. âI knew we had one left in the stockroom; they were originally a pair, you see . . .â
Thereâs another pony?
I canât help gasping as she draws it out. Itâs midnight blue with a raven mane, speckled with stars, and with golden wheels. Itâs absolutely stunning. It complements the other one perfectly. Oh God, we have to have them both. We have to.
Rather annoyingly, the pebble-eyed woman is still standing there with her buggy, watching us.
âShame youâve spent all your pocket money, isnât it?â she says to Minnie with one of those tight, unfriendly smiles which proves she never has any fun or sex. You can always tell that about people, I find.
âYes, isnât it?â I say politely. âThatâs a problem. So weâll have to think of a solution.â I think hard for a moment, then turn to Minnie.
âDarling, hereâs your second important lesson in financial planning. Sometimes, when we see an amazing one-off bargain, we can make an exception to the saving-up rule. Itâs called seizing the opportunity.â
âYouâre just going to buy it?â says the pebble-eyed woman in tones of disbelief.
What business is it of hers? God, I hate other mothers. They always have to butt in. The minute you have a child, itâs as if youâve turned into a box on an Internet site that says, Please add all your rude and offensive comments here.
âOf course Iâm not going to buy it,â I say, a little stonily. âSheâll have to get it out of her own pocket money. Darling.â I crouch down to get Minnieâs attention. âIf you pay for the other pony out of your pocket money at fifty pence a week, itâll take about . . . sixty more weeks. Youâll have to have an advance. Like an âoverdraft.â?â I enunciate clearly. âSo youâll basically have spent all your pocket money till youâre three. All right?â
Minnie looks a bit bewildered. But then, I expect I looked a bit bewildered when I took out my first overdraft. It goes with the territory.
âAll sorted.â I beam at the assistant and hand over my Visa card. âWeâll take both ponies, thank you. You see, darling?â I add to Minnie. âThe lesson weâve learned today is: Never give up on something you really want. However impossible things seem, thereâs always a way.â
I canât help feeing proud of myself, imparting this nugget of wisdom. Thatâs what parentingâs all about. Teaching your child the ways of the world.
âYou know, I once found the most amazing opportunity,â I add, as I punch in my PIN. âIt was a pair of Dolce and Gabbana boots at ninety percent off! Only, my credit card was up to my limit. But did I give up? No! Of course I didnât!â
Minnie is listening as avidly as if Iâm recounting The Three Bears.
âI went round my flat and searched in all my pockets and bags, and I collected up all my little coinsâand guess what?â I pause for effect. âI had enough money! I could get the boots! Hooray!â
Minnie claps her hands, and to my delight, the toddler boys start cheering raucously.
âDo you want to hear another story?â I beam at them. âDo you want to hear about the sample sale in Milan? I was walking along the street one day, when I saw this mysterious sign.â I open my eyes wide. âAnd what do you think it said?â
âRidiculous.â The pebble-eyed woman turns her buggy with an abrupt gesture. âCome on, itâs time to go home.â
âStory!â wails one of the boys.
âWeâre not hearing the story,â she snaps. âYouâre insane,â she adds over her shoulder as she strides off. âNo wonder your childâs so spoiled. What are those little shoes of hers, then, Gucci?â
Blood zings to my face and I stare at her in speechless shock. Where did that come from? Minnie is not spoiled!
And Gucci doesnât even make shoes like that.
âSheâs not spoiled!â I manage at last.
But the woman has already disappeared behind the Postman Pat display. Well, Iâm certainly not going to run after her and yell, âAt least my child doesnât just loll in the buggy sucking its thumb all day, and by the way have you ever thought about wiping your childrenâs noses?â
Because that wouldnât be a good example to Minnie.
âCome on, Minnie.â I try to compose myself. âLetâs go and see Father Christmas. Then weâll feel better.âÂ Â