BRINGING HOME THE BIRKIN by Michael Tonello

BRINGING HOME THE BIRKIN

My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World’s Most Coveted Handbag
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Periodically charming but fluffy comic memoir.

Semi-bored Massachusetts-based hairstylist Tonello “had spent most of the decade trigger-happy with a can of hairspray and a powder puff” and was ready for a change. A temporary gig in Barcelona convinced him that Spain was the place he really ought to be and that having “too much shit to move” wasn’t a good enough reason to stay put. He took the plunge and happily relocated. Once settled across the pond, Tonello drifted into a new business venture: reselling Hermès products on eBay. The most exciting pieces of merchandise he dealt with were the infamously high-end Birkin handbags, and eventually he became obsessed with them. Can the average reader relate to a several-hundred page search for personal and professional Birkin Nirvana? Probably not, but the primary problem with Tonello’s debut is bigger than that. The “in search of…” subgenre is just about played out. Considering how many of these books clog the shelves, chances are good that a title will blend in with its brethren unless either the object sought or the author is utterly compelling. Despite Tonello’s deft sense of humor, sharp observational skills, an appreciation for the absurd and some positive energy, his confessional travelogue/how-to is relatively undistinguished and indistinguishable.

Clever yet unremarkable.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-147333-3
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2008