Pages

Monday, February 18, 2008

Book Review: Bringing Home the Birkin by Michael Tonello


The advanced readers copy arrived on Saturday so of course I spent all day yesterday reading it and finished it this morning - below is my review. I also take back the part about it being 100 pages too long - you really need to read the entire book to get the whole story! I will try not to reveal too much here.

First of all, this is a fashion/memoir so you have to weed through all the personal stuff to get to the “bringing home the Birkins” part of the story (if that is what you are really looking to find) - but even that is pretty good because the author is very witty. For me, the interesting part is how he got into the whole business of buying birkins (selling one of his Hermes scarves on eBay when he decides to relocate to Spain leads to someone asking him to find older versions of the scarves) and all the crazy stuff he does to get them (i.e. traveling all over the world to different Hermes boutiques in order to score the most prized croc versions). Some of his stories are entertaining but the lengths he goes to just to get these bags seems hardly worth it and in the end he more or less goes out of business (it doesn’t say what he is doing now but he still lives in Barcelona with his boyfriend Juan). It sounds so stressful! He certainly disproves the make believe 2-year waiting list to get one of the bags which I think is hilarious! Incidentally, he didn’t even know what a Birkin was until Carole Bayer Sager won some Hermes playing cards on eBay and asked him to find her a Birkin. Can you imagine? Oh and I particularly loved the author's descriptions (and illustrations) of the Hermes salespeople - right on point!

The kicker here is how overpriced these bags really are – especially when bought in the US or resold on eBay or elsewhere! He even threw in the Hermes "Oprah incident." In the end, Birkin Boy has millions of dollars of Hermes loot pass through his hands but decides to stop the insanity. The book definitely proves that no one ever is ever satisfied with what they have and always want more, more, more.

Moral of the story: Money cannot buy you happiness but it can certainly buy you as many Hermes Birkin bags as you wish.

To buy or not to buy: If you are a true Hermes-manic this book is a MUST. I "needed" it and was willing to shell out the bucks just for the opportunity to read the advanced copy! Sadly I did not win the signed copy on eBay which I would have practically given an Hermes scarf for (you all know what I bibliophile I am having worked in book publishing and it would have been a great addition to my signed copy collection!). I am not going to reveal how many scarves I have in my possession or will inherit but oh how I wish I had know Michael when I was trying to track down that darn zodiac print scarf with the black colorway!

Photo credit: Taken by me with my Kodak digital camera so please do not use it without permission.

15 comments:

Grace said...

WOW sounds great. I just scored an Advance copy through GoodReads; can't wait to read it!

a. said...

Yay Grace! You will not be disappointed - let me know how you like it. Happy reading!

I am going to post a couple of other things I found related to the book - the author has a great looking My Space page as well as another website.

michael said...

Of subject, but I think it's worth commenting on. The photo you have posted here, of the lovely vista across the green lawn to the ocean is so reminiscent of my summers on Nantucket. Just glorious!

a. said...

My vista is on the shores of NJ, my very own version of Nantucket!

Mony said...

Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to read this one!!!!

joanne1954 said...

I cannot wait to get to read this book AND GET to the book signing in NYC!!! Knowing Michael has been a pure pleasure - and he has helped me in MY quest for a few hard-to-find items. In my book - Michael has well earned any kudos coming to him.

a. said...

joanne - thanks so much for commenting! I am going to try to get to the book signing in NYC as well :-)

I Love Your Whole Face said...

How did you get yours so quickly? I thought it didn't come out until April.

I Love Your Whole Face said...

Where in Jersey? I am a LBI girl myself!!

Pigtown-Design said...

Looks like a great read! Lucky you!

Grace said...

A week ago the author was offering free Advance Reader Editions to the first 10 people who wrote to him (on GoodReads.com). The publication date according to Amazon is April 22. The Coterie can confirm this, but it is my understanding that these "Advance Editions" are paperback copies and do not contain all of the bells and whistles, like photographs, etc.

a. said...

That is correct Grace. The advance readers copies are uncorrected proofs that are used for reviewing purposes.

Grace said...

Well i will "review" the free copy i am expecting and have also pre-ordered the hardcover from Amazon. I want the whole nine yards! :-)

a. said...

Grace - I am ordering a hardcover as well. It's a great gift for anyone who is crazy for Hermes and Michael sure does tell it like it is! Do you have a blog???

Grace said...

No, no blog. I was referring to your reference of the Advance copy being for review purposes.