I’m not an easy crier. So, I never saw a Hallmark ad that made me weep, I am completely dry-eyed at weddings, the only time I cry with joy is when I’m laughing so hard that the pain in my stomach muscles eke out a few tears, and I didn’t so much as sniffle when Rose hogged the plank and Jack died. Also, since I read more than my fair share of light-hearted romance novels, crying doesn’t feature into my reading habits.
Until Becky Brandon née Bloomwood walked into my life for the fifth time. Yes, the Shopaholic, that Becky Brandon.
For those who haven’t read any of the Shopaholic installments, they’re in the chick lit mold, told from the first person narrative of a woman named Becky who excels in all things illogical and lives to shop. I find her silly but hilarious (sometimes I laugh with her, most times I laugh at her) and rest assured, I never conceived the day would come when she – or her creator Sophie Kinsella – would make me cry.
Then all of a sudden, Becky is pregnant, a fancy Hollywood obstetrician tries to steal her man, and I find myself lying in bed crying into my pillow. Seriously, what? Years later, I’m still confused at my reaction but can’t deny it. The eventful moment comes when that red-haired bitch Venetia (Becky’s words, not mine) tells her that as soon as she pops out the baby, Luke (Becky’s husband) is going to head out to greener pastures. For most of the novel Becky had been fighting her jealousy about Luke’s relationship with Venetia, but when she hears the words out loud, she still can’t believe it. Instead of ranting and raving like a mad woman, doing Luke bodily harm and throwing his crap out on the street, Becky is paralyzed by fear. This is what tugged at my previously cold nugget of a heart.
Becky runs home and Luke is there, acting as if nothing is out of the ordinary. She is so scared to confront him and get confirmation that she also acts as if nothing is wrong. But…
I can feel my chin wobbling, but desperately clamp my lips shut. I am not going to cry.
At that point, my chin is wobbling in commiseration. Then, this!!
And then I hear the voices. His voice. And her voice. Approaching down the corridor…I open my eyes and it’s a nightmare come true. There, looming in front of me, is Venetia…She looks like a princess…Her smile is syrupy sweet.
That bitch!!! That part marked my first tear of rage at the unmitigated GALL of the woman.
When Becky finally works up the courage to confront Luke, he confirms her fears and life as she knows it, is over. I can’t quote the entirety of the next few scenes for you, but just know that I read them through a film of tears. Nothing had rolled down my cheeks yet though. Then, this!!
Becky writes Luke a letter.
In our vows, you promised to love me forever. I know you think you don’t anymore. I know there are other women in this world, who are maybe cleverer and maybe can speak Latin. I know you’ve had an ———-. But it doesn’t have to ruin everything. I’m prepared to put the past behind us, Luke, because I believe above everything else that we belong together.
She wants to save their marriage! Even believing he’s a no-good cheating dawg, she’s asking him to give their marriage a chance. I was undone by this. By Becky Brandon, shopaholic. When she tries to recreate An Affair to Remember and implores Luke to meet her at the top of the Oxo Tower (which, by the way, is no Empire State Building) I chuckled through my tears.
Now, let’s not forget that through all of this, I knew that Luke wasn’t cheating. My reaction to this book is inexplicable, but there you have it. I was lulled into a false sense of security by the comedy then made to cry in an unexpected place.
In that vein, don’t get me started on Kristan Higgins!
Have you ever cried and wondered…why in heaven’s name am I crying?
– Abi Bishop