Quite stubborn, I rarely listen when told what to do. In fact, the list of people who even stand a chance is quite short. Oprah Winfrey. Jennifer Aniston. Martha Stewart. Carrie Bradshaw. And my mom – who may even agree with me when I say she often hangs by a thread. Anything I’ve ever done has been because of one of these five women. And yes, I understand one is fictional. So what? Don’t act like you’ve never quoted The Notebook, or learned a lesson about family values from Full House. We all cried when Jesse’s grandpa died. So yes, I take my cues from mega wealthy superstars who may have a prison record, and may or may not be real. It seems to be working so far.
So obviously, when Oprah tells me to read – I run to Barnes and Nobel to pick up her latest book club selection, browse the aisles for hours, get distracted and end up walking out the door with something that would make Leo Tolstoy and William Faulkner roll over in their graves. Enter – Bringing Home the Birkin, by Michael Tonello. Like Bringing home the bacon, get it? Anyways.
The Hermes Birkin is arguably the world’s most sought after handbag. Available in a variety of sizes, and often made of such reptile skins as crocodile and lizard, the bag also carries a pricetag of upwards of $30,000 and a wait list of two years. An iconic brand, I remember my first Hermes experience like my grandpa can tell you where he was when man landed on the moon. I doubt my mom even remembers. If she did, she probably would have been more prepared to raise a daughter who can name the different patterns of Louis Vuitton like others can identify different country’s flags. Or maybe she does remember, and knowing this, conversely blocked it from her memory. Either way, I was very young. Playing dress up and riffling through my mom’s clothes, I discovered a souvenir from one of my grandparent’s European vacations – a simple cloth Hermes bag, perfectly suited to transport a silk scarf - that I would die over - overseas to it’s eager new owner, my momma. While the scarf was not present, had it been, it would have been tied around my neck in an instant, and would probably be tied to the strap of my purse at this very moment. True. Love. To quote the author, “to those who understand, no explanation is necessary. To those who don’t, none is possible.” So maybe I can blame all of my obsessions on my mom? Or better yet, my grandma who would surely indulge my vices.
So with a polka dotted towel in tow, I headed to the pool with my oversized sunnies and one of Tim Gunn’s favorites – Bringing Home the Birkin. “A beautiful twenty-something, lounging by the pool, smoking a cigarette, impatiently waiting until noon for her first martini.” No, that’s not me. I don’t smoke cigarettes. And when lounging by the pool, I’d much rather sip something tropical. That was the incredibly sarcastic Michael Tonello, envisioning one of his customers. Let me explain. Michael Tonello traveled the world as a makeup artist, building himself quite an impressive portfolio. Tired of living out of a suitcase, he relocated permanently to Barcelona where he accidentally fell in love, found happiness, and became an extremely successful online Hermes reseller. Beating the system to bypass the two year waitlist, the hilarious novel chronicles Michael’s many ups and downs, both personally and professionally, on his quest for the most coveted bag.
Unable to put it down, and not wearing the best bikini as far as tan lines are concerned, I read this book at the pool in a matter of days. Now, with an unfortunate triangle top tan line, I’ve been inspired to expand my library and continue with a summer book list. If you’d like to join me, here are my other summer book club selections, as well as a bandeau top bikini in an effort to eliminate said terrible tan lines.
1. Bringing Home the Birkin, for obvious reasons.
2. The Help, in preparation of the movie.
3. Water for Elephants, because I missed the movie.
4. How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World, for educational purposes.
5. Secret Life of Bees, so I can stop lying about actually reading it.
This has easily been the most enjoyable book report I have ever written.
And maybe the only one I’ve ever completed without the use of