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Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy: A Novel Hardcover – July 3, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (July 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060889535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060889531
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,406,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A Wall Street comedy of manners by Vanity Fair deputy editor Stumpf, this fast-paced debut novel updates The Bonfire of the Vanities. Gregarious young Brazilian émigré Aguilar Gil Benicio shines shoes at a prominent firm, where his customer base is almost entirely white, male and exorbitantly pampered: This traders make more money than movie stars, Gil notes. When a janitor friend is unjustly fired, Gil relates the details to Glossy magazine writer Greg Waggoner, who suspects the incident masks a insider-trading scandal. The conceit of the book, in which Gil and Greg share narrating duties as they recap their effort to uncover the crime, is that the book is Greg's novel, a fictionalized version of the scoop that got away. It's a lousy setup, and vital clues that come too easily don't help. Neither do Gil's unvarnished dialect and his idolization of the traders and of Greg, who plays Henry Higgins to Gil's Eliza Doolittle. Rare indeed, too, is the female character who comes through this tale without suffering degradation or scorn. Yet the book is funny, and beneath the humor (and a lot of sex and sex talk), Stumpf takes on assimilation, class betrayal and common decency with seriousness. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

This début novel views corruption at Wall Street’s highest levels through the eyes of two outsiders. Gil, who immigrated to New York from São Paulo as a child and retains a Portuguese-flavored grammar, overhears tales of life on the trading floor while shining some of the nicest shoes in business. He absorbs the particulars of a world where jockeying banter about sex, drugs, and push-up contests is interspersed with long hours of watching numbers on a screen, and where the appeal of insider trading as a way to break the tedium becomes unignorable. Stumpf switches between Gil’s voice and that of a magazine writer in need of a big story who fastens onto him as a source. As they become entangled in mounting financial and sexual scandals, Stumpf exposes the sordidness in both the financial and the journalistic worlds.
Copyright © 2007 Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker

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Customer Reviews

Skip this book.
Brian Chandley
I won't say it's a bad book and that you shouldn't read it but i won't tell you that you should definitely read it.
Manish K. Lamba
Too repetitive and is not well developed.
Beantown34

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Boris Stravinsky on July 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A friend of mine gave me a copy of "Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy" after he came upon it in the bookstore. He said he couldn't put it down and I had to read it. He was right--what a fantastic read! This book has it all: a fast-moving plot full of intrigue and unexpected twists, a hilarious and original voice in Gil, the charming and unexpected hero of the story (think the kind of error-prone but rich English-as-second-language narration of Everything Is Illuminated), and subtle satire that throws the class disparities of America and the moral abandon of Wall Street into stark relief. I highly recommend to anyone looking for a quick summer read that packs a punch.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Someone Like You on November 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ditto all the other one-star reviewers. For those who gave it 5 stars, what are you smoking and how can I get some? This book should be standard reading for all Al Qaeda detainees--by the third Gil chapter they'll have either killed themselves or divulged any secrets they might have in order to avoid reading chapter 4. Truly amazing a) books like this get 1) read by editors, 2) accepted by editors, 3) edited by editors, 4) published by huge corporations and b) media outfits like NPR and CNBC hawked this book on-air as if it was the next Liar's Poker. David Halberstam, RIP, even blurbed it on the back cover.... Shame on him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Novelist on October 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting topic: enjoyed the chapters narrated by the shoeshine boy, found the chapters narrated by the "reporter" extraneous and unnecessary. Seemed like the editor and writer were both lazy--could have done a better job elegantly interweaving the necessary information with one narrator. The title promised more than the book delivered.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By keva on February 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read this book because I love a good wall street insider trading yarn. What this book was, more than that, was insight on how men of all socio-economic backgrounds bond, by denigrating and objectifying women! If all of Gil and the trader's sex romps were dropped, the book would be half as long.
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By R. Spell VINE VOICE on September 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a story of workers on Wall Street, ie, shoeshine boys and clean-up crew, and also, the Masters of the Universe. A clean-up boy is fired overhearing a conversation that may have been a fraudulent transaction. The Shoeshine boy from Brazil narrates his view of the events in his broken English. This is the most annoying part of the book. The story also involves a down on his luck writer who assists in breaking the case. UNFORTUNATELY, right as I get to the last 60 pages my book was left in a taxi on a trip so, while overall some of the book aggravated me, I really would have liked to finish it. Oh well, read at your own risk.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Anne Wedner on August 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The trick of writing much of the novel in the broken English of a Brazilian immigrant gets old quickly. The caricatures of venal wall street types has been done before (Barbarians at the Gate, Liar's Poker, Turn of the Century) and much better. What's surprising is the number of positive reviews from normally reliable sources (like The New Yorker magazine). Skip it.
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Format: Hardcover
This was an interesting book that had an okay ending. I liked how the author wrote the book, part of it being the shoeshine boy telling the story and the other part the journalist telling the story. This book peers into the the glamorous life of stock brokers. I thought the last 50 pages of the book had the story picking up a lot of speed to get to the end. i'm indifferent about recommending this book. I won't say it's a bad book and that you shouldn't read it but i won't tell you that you should definitely read it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian Chandley on August 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As you realize this book has an element of truth in it, you come away with a sense that there is more wild imagination and fiction then truth. Putting that aside, read as fiction the story is weak. The chapters alternate between the shoeshine boy and magazine reporter. The shoeshine boy is narrated in "ebonics" (via Brazil) style and is very painful to read. Much is lost in the style and story. Skip this book.
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