In the Red by Jessica Pishko is a short novel about trying to overcome shopping addiction. It is a Kindle Single available through Kindle Unlimited. Published by Little A in November 2016 this short novel might be of interest to those trapped by all types of spending addictions. Pishko mentions in the latter part of her book that addictions have a commonality. She reflected on the similarities of her addiction to binge eating.
This memoir is divided into eleven chapters. In chapter one she realizes that something is wrong. She doesn’t know what the problem is, but she is willing to search for a solution that will ease her anxieties and reduce her compulsions.
In Chapter Two, her mother tells Jessica that she acts entitled and her behavior is not the same as before. Jessica also describes her earlier life growing up, her experiences as a high school student. It seems there were never any financial challenges that prepared her for life on her own. But there were several challenges now and she realized she needed help.
In Chapter Three, she tries a therapist. Pishko describes the interactions between the therapist and herself in such a way that I get the idea the therapist needed help. Maybe not the same kind of help Jessica needed. But the helpful idea of doubling up sessions, meaning doubling up fees, doesn’t sound to me like client-centered therapy.
In Chapter Four, the author tries a debt consolidation service. All her credit cards are closed and one unified payment goes to the service. The fact that she is still able to spend on clothes by such a method as laying something away and making periodic payments indicate that this will not be the successful route for her.
In Chapter Five, Pishko looks at the intersection of her financial life, her love life, and the emotional health that she has or will need to reconcile these into a unified whole. While refection on these elements she buys a fur coat.
In Chapter Six, Jessica examines the intricacy of corporate credit card debt. By carefully returning parts of purchases, the returned money is translated into a payment. Essentially, a borrower doesn’t have to make a payment. But there is the steadily rising remaining balance. And a person has to be careful not to get fired thus losing the use of the corporate card. But Pishko was fired. It’s time to refer to the parents.
In Chapter Seven the author looks to eBay as a means of selling a lot of items bought on credit. In her case, she estimates she received about one-fifth of the amount paid. That remaining 80% grew larger with each monthly interest charge.
In Chapter Eight, Pishko describes being fired from her second law firm. She now questions why she ever went to law school.
In Chapter Nine, Jessica describes the travails of working as a yoga instructor. There is a great description of trying to get certified for ever higher levels, each level at a cost, of course. She also describes the joys of working for free as a yoga instructor intern. There also seems to be a problem with getting well-paid instructor jobs.
In Chapter Ten the author hits the ultimate reset button, Chapter Seven bankruptcy. Most debts are forgiven (student loans are not). But then what? Is this just a start to a new round of spending/shopping addiction?
For Jessica Pishko, it is not a call to further spending. Her romantic life improved and she met and married her husband. They have a daughter. Jessica obtained an MFA degree and is a successful author. Husband Mark manages the family finances. And her daughter gives mom the motivation to educate the daughter in such a way that the same thing will not occur in her later adult life.
This is a very motivational book for me in that it shows people can be knocked down repeatedly and still come back, many times trying something new. And if that doesn’t work, there is the next thing. But the thing that worked (and is working) for Jessica Pishko is the support of loved ones. I am very negative towards books by motivation coaches. Pishko is not one of those but her words here are motivational.