Spent – A Review

On one of the morning shows a few months back I saw a segment about a memoir called Spent: Memoirs of a Shopping Addict by a woman named Avis Cardella. (Please note that her first name is an anagram for “Visa,” which actually caused me to question her credibility, but I suppose natural coincidences do occur.)

Naturally anything about shopping intrigues me, and I’ve often wondered about my own reliance on retail therapy, so I bought it. Honestly I wasn’t expecting anything more than a “real life” version of Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella, but I was pleasantly surprised to find Cardella’s tale was definitely more serious and read as extremely sincere.

She spoke of shopping as a distraction and as an action to be completed as a release. Her addiction got so bad that after her shopping trips she didn’t even enjoy her purchases, she just hid them due to the shame. It may sound silly, but that is a nightmare to me, for something you enjoy and love so much to become a cold transaction, something you feel compelled to do and then immediately regret.

Regardless of my own interest in shopping and fears of retail dependency, I think I would have enjoyed the book anyway. Cardella opens with a few anecdotes of famous shoppers and brings the reader in with her concise prose. She appeals to our emotions with stories of shopping with her family and, while she doesn’t dwell on it, how shopping changed for her as she came of age and then developed as an adult.

Throughout the book, no matter how dire her circumstances, she never seems to succumb to self pity and her tale never comes across as one of woe, but of precaution.

All in all it is an extremely well-researched, well-thought-out memoir and I would definitely recommend picking it up on your next shopping trip.

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