I was the lucky recipient of an Early Reviewer's copy of Bringing Home the Birkin by Michael Tonello. This book is the equivalent of all those mountain climbing, desert marching, storm sailing adventure books out there, but in this case the sport is shopping. (A sport I like to participate in myself, but my level is junior amateur in comparison.) It is also very similar to chick lit except that in this case instead of the typical spunky, unlucky in love, career, etc waiting for the big break heroine, this hero(ine?) is an openly gay man. who manages to turn a love and a knack for shopping into a business as well as quite a nice life for himself.
The book is subtitled My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag. That handbag being the Hermes Birkin. I have heard a few stories of the famous Birkin waitlist and there was even an episode of "Sex and the City" that featured the same. I have only seen a few Birkins in person on the arms of clearly wealthy women, but they are distinct enough to be instantly recognizable. They are the ultimate elite status symbol.
Mr. Tonello's business involved luxurious travel to major European destinations to purchase Birkins from Hermes shops and then re-selling them on E-Bay from his envy-inspiring apartment in Barcelona. His trials and triumphs are amusing and the hotels and dining he describes could serve as a travel guide. The story works because the author never takes himself to seriously or fails to realize what a charmed life he's leading. Mr. Tonello has an amazing positive attitude self described as "Always half-full, that glass, always." Which is from a section describing a stay in a hospital where he was treated for severe anemia.
A family tragedy brings about the eventual end of his Birkin hunting in the way that kind of thing can do by making you take a look at what you're actually spending your time doing. He could no longer deal with "people who lacked for nothing, but who longed for more" and got himself out before he became that way himself.
So, if you're in the mood for a light-hearted romp through the luxurious side of Europe I think you'll enjoy this one. I definitely did.