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Opening Belle: A Novel Hardcover – February 2, 2016
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“A smart, biting and honest peek into what it means to be a woman on Wall Street. I loved this book.” (Reese Witherspoon)
“Compulsively readable…a cheeky—and at times, romantic—battle-cry for any woman who’s ever strived to have it all and been told by a man that she couldn’t.” (Entertainment Weekly)
"Funny, relevant and often shocking.... Even if your own life is far from a fairy tale, Opening Belle will allow you to laugh, learn and maybe even lean in — to hug your own family a little closer.” (Washington Post)
"Sherry [is a] a former managing director at Bear Stearns who, lucky for us, didn’t sign a nondisclosure agreement when she resigned after 10 years with the company. With a sure hand, the author leads us onto the trading floor, where publicly demeaning a woman is a spectator sport.... When people of your gender make up 1?percent of the company, you just can’t beat ’em. So do you give up your seven-figure salary and move your family off Park Avenue? Sherry gives us a hard-won and satisfying answer." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Maureen Sherry’s comic novel unspools like a movie....I can just hear Cyndi Lauper’s version of 'Money Changes Everything' on the soundtrack." (Dallas Morning News)
"Corporate sexism and the mortgage crisis are a laugh a minute...in this delightful comic novel, at least....So much fun, and educational too." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
"Working Girl meets Wolf of Wall Street in this in-depth, behind-the-pinstripe peek inside a temple of elite finance, navigated by a sharp, smart woman in an old boys' world." (Jill Kargman, author and creator of Odd Mom Out)
"Wow. This is the inside story we've been waiting for. Wall Street women never talk because their silence has been bought. Not Maureen Sherry. She tells her story of a working mother's battle against outrageous sexism and financial recklessness with laugh-out-loud insight and winning panache. Shocking and hilarious, Opening Belle is one woman's glorious revenge on the unreconstructed Tarzans of the corporate jungle. I don't know how she does it, but I'm really glad she did." (Allison Pearson, author of I Don't Know How She Does It)
"Opening Belle is an irresistibly Zeitgeist-y novel about motherhood, marriage, misogyny, lust, ambition, discovery, disappointment, entitled nannies, and Goldfish crackers on the floor that (and this is big) rings true. But that’s not all. Sherry’s novel is also a delightfully funny and frequently damning participant-observer’s dissection of the secretive codes and practices of an elite, socially antediluvian tribe of men who, in a very real sense, run the world. For them, the bell has sounded." (Wednesday Martin, author of Primates of Park Avenue)
"Rooting for our girl banker/mommy/wife Isabelle is not tough; she is so brilliantly breezy. This book reveals the honest reality of a woman working in a man's world and still being treated like she's in an updated version of the cult classic 9 - 5." (Lucy Sykes, author of The Knockoff)
About the Author
After twelve years on Wall Street, Maureen Sherry—formerly, the youngest Managing Director at Bear Stearns—switched gears to earn her Masters of Fine Arts at Columbia University, to write, and to tutor at inner city schools. Walls Within Walls—her first book, a mystery for middle school audiences—has been awarded curriculum prizes by the states of Texas and Connecticut, and she was named one of the Best New Voices by the American Library Association. Maureen is also an active board member of numerous charities. She lives in New York City with her husband and four children.
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A natural comparison for this book is I Don't Know How She Does it by Allison Pearson. There are many similarities in the two books (even the age of the protagonists, which is 36). I found Opening Belle to be the stronger piece of fiction; the Pearson book had too much writing that didn't move the story along. The distinctions between the comic madness of a crazy-paced life and the sadness that goes with it are better integrated in Sherry's book.
Belle earns an incredible salary but she is almost completely responsible for her family's expenses. Given that she lives in a 4,000-sq foot apartment in Manhattan, sends 3 kids to private school and basically supports her husband (who seems to shop more than she does) her life does not come cheap.
The descriptions of the stock market and Belle's job responsibilities are intricate and Sherry does not spoon feed the reader. There were some things I just didn't understand and won't until I do more research, but that is okay. Sherry writes for the business-and-market-savvy reader. I was disappointed in Belle letting former boyfriend Henry back into her life, because the way he treated her was appalling. But Belle's decision is equally believable, because we often think more with our hearts than our heads - even managing directors on Wall street.
The writing is articulate, moves fast and give us insight into a sexist industry in a very pragmatic way. There is no moral to the story here .... the behavior of juvenile males is well-known to those of us over a certain age and continues to be a surprise to younger women. I suggest the younger ones read this novel and take it to heart .... this is indeed the behavior of a lot of the male population in every field of endeavor.
This story depicts the reality that all working mothers face - being the best at work and at home. Mixed with the class struggles in New York City, the need to be the best at everything and still be a loving wife & mother is what drives Belle's daily decisions. Centered around the 2008 financial collapse, this story allows the reader to witness the events from the inside, while keeping the humanity in the story telling. A great book for any mother, and any woman for that matter, trying to keep it all going.