Bringing Home the Birkin by Michael Tonello

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



An insider's hilarious, whirlwind account of his years spent globe-trotting in search of the holy grail of handbags: the Birkin

For more than twenty years, the Hermès Birkin bag has been the iconic symbol of fashion, luxury, and wealth. Though the bag is often seen dangling from the arms of celebrities, there is a fabled waiting list of more than two years to buy one from Hermès, and the average fashionista has a better chance of climbing Mount Everest in Prada pumps than of possessing one of these coveted carryalls. Unless, of course, she happens to know Michael Tonello . . .

Michael's newfound career started with an impulsive move to Barcelona, a vanished job assignment, no work visa, and an Hermès scarf sold on eBay to generate some quick cash. But soon the resourceful Michael discovered the truth about the waiting list and figured out the secret to getting Hermès to part with one of these precious bags. Millions of dollars worth of Birkins later, Michael had become one of eBay's most successful entrepreneurs—and a Robin Hood to thousands of desperate rich women.

With down-to-earth wit, Michael chronicles the unusual ventures that took him to nearly every continent, from eBay to Paris auction house and into the lives of celebrities and poseurs. Flirting with danger, Michael recounts the heady rush of hand delivering his first big score to famed songwriter Carole Bayer Sager in Paris; how he had to hire thugs to rescue a bag that one of his "shoppers" held for ransom; and the story of the Oscar-worthy performances that allowed him to snag "reserved" bags from other, less dogged Birkin seekers.

Whether he's relating his wining and dining, buying and selling, dodging and weaving, laughing and crying, or schmoozing and stammering, Michael is a master raconteur who weaves together tales of hunting Birkins in the world's most posh locales, memories of meals that would make any gastronome salivate, anecdotes of obsessed collectors with insatiable desires, and sweetly intimate stories about his family, friends, and finding true love. The result is a memoir that is distinctive, fun, page-turning, and as addictive as its namesake.


About Michael Tonello

See more books from this Author
Originally from Massachusetts, Michael Tonello traveled the world as a makeup artist and hairdresser before resettling in Spain to become an eBay luxury reseller of all things HermÈs. He resides in Barcelona with his partner, Juan.
Published July 8, 2008 by HarperCollins e-books. 282 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, Computers & Technology, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Bringing Home the Birkin

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Periodically charming but fluffy comic memoir.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Bringing Home the Birkin

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

The memoir of an eBay seller on the trail of an elusive Hermès handbag.

May 18 2008 | Read Full Review of Bringing Home the Birkin

Reader Rating for Bringing Home the Birkin

An aggregated and normalized score based on 215 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review