Customer Reviews for

Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Bringing Home the Laughs!

Michael Tonello has a rare and special talent: he is able to saunter into a store, throw down the American Express, and buy a purse! Not impressed? This is a purse that even singer/songwriter Carole Bayer Sager, a Tonello customer, cannot purchase from the retailer. Thi...
Michael Tonello has a rare and special talent: he is able to saunter into a store, throw down the American Express, and buy a purse! Not impressed? This is a purse that even singer/songwriter Carole Bayer Sager, a Tonello customer, cannot purchase from the retailer. This is the purse that until recently had a two year waiting-to-buy list and was the subject of a Sex and the City episode. In short, this purse is not just any carryall, but the super exclusive and ultra expensive Hèmes Birkin.

In Bringing Home the Birkin, Tonello finds himself living in Barcelona without a job or a work permit, and a five year apartment lease to pay. Tonello is an entrepreneurial spirit who hocks his designer duds on ebay for spending money. During one auction, Tonello strikes gold when his Hèrmes scarf is the subject of a fierce bidding war. After the auction several frustrated bidders contact him for more Hèrmes. Tonello purchases several dozen Hèrmes scarves and soon acquires powerseller status on ebay.

Thereafter the author is introduced to the holy grail of the House of Hèrmes: the Birkin, the coveted and scarce handbag for the rich and famous. Soon the intrepid Tonello cracks "the code" to purchasing a Birkin and profits handsomely. Tonello's Birkin jaunts require him to traverse far and wide across Europe and Latin America, slumbering in 5 star hotels and dining at Zagat rated restaurants, in hot pursuit of fresh Birkins. He details the stories of his conquests with wit and sarcasm:

If there was a secret Birkin bunker anywhere, this was the store. It was enormous, an imposing limestone building. (I had tried to figure out which floors held what while lurking inconspicuously on the sidewalk on my last trip, feeling like a fifteen-year-old casing a theater that showed X-rated movies. I knew not all the floors were devoted to merchandise (and I assumed there was at least one floor devoted to housing the Oompa-Loompas). Well, I'd soon find out . . . .

In Bringing Home the Birkin Tonello dishes up plenty of snark and sass for the perfect summer read!


Review based on borrowed library copy.

posted by LegalBeagle on June 3, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Cute Story, Bad Writing, but you'll be Orange with Envy about how this guy made $$ off the Birkin!

I remember hearing about the book when it first came out, and finally had a chance to read it. The author takes you on an adventure across Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and South America as he hunts down and captures the elusive Hermes Birkin bag. While the story itse...
I remember hearing about the book when it first came out, and finally had a chance to read it. The author takes you on an adventure across Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and South America as he hunts down and captures the elusive Hermes Birkin bag. While the story itself is quite entertaining, Tonello probably makes a better E-bay seller than author. His writing is amateurish - where was his editor on this one? Lots of cliché's. Lots of unnecessary "filler" material - I think you get recipes for every meal he ever ate - none of which has anything to do with the story at hand. But then again, you're not reading this book as great literature - you're reading it to be entertained and to learn how he was able to stumble on his chosen, albeit short-lived, career. And using just those 2 measures, it's a success.

posted by reader72 on April 21, 2010

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted June 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bringing Home the Laughs!

    Michael Tonello has a rare and special talent: he is able to saunter into a store, throw down the American Express, and buy a purse! Not impressed? This is a purse that even singer/songwriter Carole Bayer Sager, a Tonello customer, cannot purchase from the retailer. This is the purse that until recently had a two year waiting-to-buy list and was the subject of a Sex and the City episode. In short, this purse is not just any carryall, but the super exclusive and ultra expensive Hèmes Birkin.

    In Bringing Home the Birkin, Tonello finds himself living in Barcelona without a job or a work permit, and a five year apartment lease to pay. Tonello is an entrepreneurial spirit who hocks his designer duds on ebay for spending money. During one auction, Tonello strikes gold when his Hèrmes scarf is the subject of a fierce bidding war. After the auction several frustrated bidders contact him for more Hèrmes. Tonello purchases several dozen Hèrmes scarves and soon acquires powerseller status on ebay.

    Thereafter the author is introduced to the holy grail of the House of Hèrmes: the Birkin, the coveted and scarce handbag for the rich and famous. Soon the intrepid Tonello cracks "the code" to purchasing a Birkin and profits handsomely. Tonello's Birkin jaunts require him to traverse far and wide across Europe and Latin America, slumbering in 5 star hotels and dining at Zagat rated restaurants, in hot pursuit of fresh Birkins. He details the stories of his conquests with wit and sarcasm:

    If there was a secret Birkin bunker anywhere, this was the store. It was enormous, an imposing limestone building. (I had tried to figure out which floors held what while lurking inconspicuously on the sidewalk on my last trip, feeling like a fifteen-year-old casing a theater that showed X-rated movies. I knew not all the floors were devoted to merchandise (and I assumed there was at least one floor devoted to housing the Oompa-Loompas). Well, I'd soon find out . . . .

    In Bringing Home the Birkin Tonello dishes up plenty of snark and sass for the perfect summer read!


    Review based on borrowed library copy.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 30, 2010

    loved this book!!!

    This was a great story, a great read!!! I didn't want to put it down. Very funny and witty! I highly recommend this book!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2010

    Very Entertaining. Loved Bringing Home the Birken

    This book was so true describing the Hermes in store experience!!!! A very funny, fast and easy reading. I couln't put the book down. After reading about the author's move to Barcelona..... It makes me want to go there on my next vacation!!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    FUN READ

    I loved this book!! It was light and funny. Some of the language may not be suitable for ALL readers, but I really enjoyed this book. It is amazing what people will do for a handbag.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 3, 2009

    Read this fascinating, hilarious book!!

    Michael Tonello has brilliantly written a captivating memoir/travelogue chronicling his thrilling adventures as a Hermes reseller. After moving to Barcelona, his promised job falls through. To pay the bills, he begins selling his possessions on ebay. He soon realizes the luxury brand Hermes, especially the coveted Birkin handbag, evokes a flurry of extremely wealthy buyers. By feigning a 2 year waiting list, the Birkin has built a renowned mystique. After discovering "the formula", he is able to easily obtain numerous Birkin bags at Hermes stores all around the world. He makes a nice profit on each bag sold to his rich clients. Mr. Tonello is a gifted storyteller with an engaging and spirited writing style. His sparkling wit made this book very laugh-out-loud funny. As I read, his rich, vivid descriptions allowed me to experience the luxury, food and sights of glamorous places I can only dream about. I'm reminded of the cliché, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade". When his expected job fell through, rather than admit defeat, he instead chose to improvise a plan B. That is truly inspirational. His story also encourages me to take chances in life. I truly loved this very entertaining, fascinating book and I highly recommend it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2014

    Very entertaining

    This is a fun lighthearted and very entertaining book. I'd seen the title many times and passed it over thinking " who wants to read about all of the trouble you go to to get a Birkin." I am so glad that I decided to read it. It is light reading yet interesting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    Fun adventure through life....and high end retail.

    Who would have thought buying and selling purses on ebay could be so much fun, or at least that is the impression one walks away with. Bravo, a fun and interesting read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 26, 2012

    Omigosh, I absolutely LOVED this book!  I could not put it down,

    Omigosh, I absolutely LOVED this book!  I could not put it down, for real!  Hilarious...love his sense of humor, perspective and the storyline.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2009

    ENTERTAINING ...

    I found this book quite entertaining hearing of the adventures for these highly coveted bags. It was a very easy read and was able to read it in one night ... I just could not put it down. <BR/><BR/>Its amazing to think that Hermes could create such a fervor for a simple handbag and the lengths people will go to get one! I will be trying out Michael's formula coming up soon! Wish me luck!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2009

    Entertaining & Witty Read

    I randomly picked this book up in the non-fiction section (the cover caught my eye) and was pleasantly surprised at what a fun read this was. Tonello is very witty and entertaining. Reading this book felt like you were sitting there with him over cocktails while he told you his tales of globetrotting and wining/dining. The only thing I'd say is I would have like to seen an epilogue or something of that nature that gives you an update on what he is doing now. Highly recommend this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2008

    Inside look at high-end retail

    A fun, easy read. I understand the appeal of Hermes, but find it sad that people will spend outrageous amounts of money for a scarf or accessory emboldened with the Hermes name. The author frolics through the world of elite retail with much humor and writes an interesting account of personal shopping for the very well-heeled.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2008

    A Great Book

    bought the book for my wife for Mother's day, and we both read it. The book is very easy to read and funny. We both enjoyed reading the book! Michael is very witty and he can make you lol. I stated reading this book and could not put it down. It does help that I love Hermes, especially Birkin.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2008

    A reviewer

    I bought this in the biography section of the book store, but the book doesnt read like a biography.Its upbeat, exciting, and very descriptive. Michael Tonello tells a wonderful and very detailed story of how he scored so many Birkins. I HIGHLY recommend this book. Buy It Now!

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    Posted March 2, 2013

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    Posted January 25, 2010

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    Posted November 12, 2011

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    Posted May 8, 2011

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    Posted October 13, 2013

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    Posted September 9, 2013

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