Ambitious young woman faces numerous obstacles after breaking into the male-dominated world of bond trading.
Inspired by her father’s long career in finance, Alex Garrett knew from an early age that she would end up working on the Street. So when top brokerage firm Cromwell Pierce recruits her right out of college, she feels a certain sense of destiny. Her optimism fades, naturally, when she arrives at the chaotic bond-trading floor to discover that she does not have a desk, just a folding chair. Her gruff boss Ed “Chick” Ciccone dubs her “Girlie” and makes it clear that she might be logging years as an indentured servant (aka analyst) for the team before the possibility of actually selling any bonds. Her duties include fetching coffees and lunches while trying to learn the super-complex workings of the finance business. The hours are grueling and the hazing never stops—at least until a new victim arrives. As punishment for showing up late one day, she is dispatched to the Bronx to procure meatball heroes and a 50-pound wheel of parmesan—and is stuck with the $1,200 lunch tab. Still, there is an absurd amount of money to be made, as she discovers when she is given a $110,000 bonus after her first full year with the company. Alex’s good looks also attract the attention of colleagues and clients alike, and she begins a clandestine relationship with office cutie Will Patrick, a seemingly nice guy who mysteriously goes missing every weekend. At the same time, married (and filthy rich) hedge-fund manager Rick Kieriakis takes a shine to her, peppering her with unwanted, stalker-like messages. His behavior crosses the line, but knowing that it is her word against his, Alex grits her teeth and tolerates him—to a point. Then the 2008 financial crisis arrives, throwing the whole industry into a tailspin and prompting Alex to choose between money and self-respect. Finance veteran Duffy’s topical fly-on-the-wall debut skirts the darker issues of Wall Street’s role in the world, but still makes for a compelling, fun read.
Testosterone-soaked take on the Devil Wears Prada model.