Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

Mel Parker vs Becky Bloomwood

on May 12, 2014

Part of the TDPP anniversary celebrations.  Posted at Chick Lit Central.

~~~~

One review of my book, The Dr Pepper Prophecies, commented ‘Mel was my new Becky Bloomwood.’  So, how much do they really have in common?

[Spoilers for Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series ahead]

Obsession

Becky, of course, is obsessed with shopping.  Mel feels much the same about chocolate, although fortunately that’s a much cheaper habit to maintain.  Mel cares little about clothes, so I think it would take them a while to understand each other.  I see their relationship progressing much like Becky and her sister’s – they just need to understand that they have the same feelings for different things.

Major Character Flaws

Mel can’t resist “helping” people.  Even when they don’t want her assistance.  In fact, especially when they don’t.  This and her terminal bad luck are not a good combination.

While Mel barrels in, Becky wants to avoid trouble.  So much so that she’ll lie to get herself out of it.  This invariably leads to much worse trouble further down the line.

Despite repeatedly learning their lesson, neither heroine ever totally overcomes their particular failing.  But then, if they did that would be the end of the series.

Blindness

Both characters struggle to see what’s right in front of them.  Becky has a full-on addiction to shopping and massive debt, but continues to insist that her purchases are wise.  Mel, meanwhile, maintains that she’s helping her friends – despite all evidence to the contrary.  She also fails to realise her real feelings for her BFF, Will.

Generosity

Every chick lit heroine needs to be loveable.  Both Becky and Mel are warm-hearted and generous people, who care about others.  Becky frequently buys for her friends, supports her family and even uses her journalistic skills to fight an injustice that befalls her neighbours – and that’s just in the first book.  While Mel doesn’t always succeed in helping others, she has only the best of intentions.  She fundamentally wants her friends to be happy and all her interference is designed to achieve that.

That, I think, is why both characters have built up a fan base.  I confess that Mel doesn’t have quite as many as Becky, but who knows what the future holds…

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