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Spent is the story of a time and place:  New York in the 1990’s and at the turn of the millennium. Like a 21st century House of Mirth, Spent is largely set to the tom-tom beat of New York in the age of “irrational exuberance,” luxury label fever, “it” girls with “it” bags, and lots and lots of shopping.

This is also a personal story that chronicles a thoroughly modern addiction: compulsive shopping.  It is a story of grief and redemption that exposes the dangers of choosing consumption over character and highlights how in the process of trying to "buy" a new self, another self that is more central may be annihilated.

Spent documents the past three decades and the rise of easy credit, mall culture, hyper- consumption, and our cultural dependence on defining ourselves by our possessions.


"Avis Cardella gets to the bankrupt heart of her own heady obsession in Spent: Memoirs of a Shopping Addict (Little, Brown). Cardella, a former model, captures a dark side of fashion’s transformative power, writing with moving honesty of her vulnerability following the death of her glamorous mother—and of the illusory solace of a flawlessly cut Gaultier suit."  ~Megan O'Grady, Vogue