OPENING BELLE by Maureen Sherry
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Corporate sexism and the mortgage crisis are a laugh a this delightful comic novel, at least.

Belle Cassidy is a managing director at an investment banking firm called Feagin Dixon— she makes $700,000 a year plus an end-of-year bonus for 2007 that comes in just under $3 million. Sure, the money is great, but Belle is also a member of the Glass Ceiling Club—a group of women who have organized secretly to talk about the raging sexism of their work environment. This entails everything from ass-grabbing to frat-style office parties to the exclusion of women from top-level decision-making, including the risk management committee—a real-life fact which, according to former investment banker Sherry (Walls Within Walls, 2010), is at least partly responsible for the subprime mortgage disaster of 2008. In chapters with titles like "Herd on the Street," "Gentlemen Prefer Bonds," and "Dais of the Dicks," she evokes this luxurious yet disgusting world in juicy detail, from a mandatory softball game at a 15-acre estate in "Hedgistan, the area between New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut, where most hedge fund managers live," to the weekly chapel session at "a preschool so elite it had no name on the door, no website, no listing in the phone book," where "the billionaires sit along the front sides of the room" avoiding the "annoying millionaire parents who are pining for a playdate." To get her kids into this school, Belle has had to call in a favor from her ex-fiance, Henry Thomas Wilkins III, who soon turns up in her working life as a key player at one of her major clients. Good thing her husband, Bruce, a hunky, big-spending, nonworking dad, isn't the jealous type. While she's making you laugh, Sherry does an excellent job of explaining what exactly happened in the financial crisis and gives a rare picture of the wide range of ways women in the workplace deal with chauvinism, some as heroes, some as victims, and some as opportunists.

So much fun, and educational too.

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5011-1062-7
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2015


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