If you follow Reese Witherspoon on Instagram you know she is all about posting amazing books that she is currently reading. When I saw Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry pop up I knew I had to read. I mean if Reese recommends it then it has to be good and this was no exception. I would say this book is a cross between Wall Street, Working Girl and Legally Blonde. Maureen Sherry, a former Wall Street managing director, writes a funny, poignant take on what it means to be female in the male driven finance world in New York. At times laugh out loud to moments of frustration and emotion, Opening Belle is a book fit for the big screen.
Opening Belle centers around the career driven Isa”Belle” who has it all- great career, wonderful husband and children and beautiful home within New York City. Belle works long hours and is the sole breadwinner for her family. She makes great money and sometime wonders is this all worth it? Each day she enters into the male dominated finance world, a place that is not easy for a woman to survive in. She sees the discrimination and derogatory work place they are in but knows nothing will change. A group of her female co-wrokers also see the terrible circumstances and decide they want to make a difference and start a revolution. They want Belle to head this “glass ceiling” group. Together they meet and discuss the issues at hand but know it is going to take something drastic to get the men to listen and heads to turn. Belle agrees but knows this is risky not just for her career but for her family as well. At the same time, Belle starts to work with her ex-fiacee, Henry, on a big account which makes her work life even more difficult. With the pressure of her female co-workers to make a change and the awkwardness of working with Henry, Belle starts to feel the pressure. At the same time she starts to sense change in the finance world and fears for the crash of the market. Will she be able to make a change for her fellow ladies or will the downfall of the market cause a crash in her perfect life?
I loved Belle and all she stood for. Although I am not in the finance world I respected the fact that she stood for what she believed in and united this group of women to make a difference for themselves and all future women to come. I will say that not being a finance person I was lost a little in the jargon but Sherry wrote such a fabulous character within a great story that, that was easy to move through (my husband is in finance so I had lots of questions for him). I do not think you have to be in finance to read this “shero” story. If you are strong and like to fight for what you believe in then you will love this story. If you are lost within the inner struggle of work-family-life balance then you will love this story. It truly has something for everyone and it had an great ending to leave me satisfied. There is no doubt this will be a great film as Reese Witherspoon is adapting into a film. It’s a laugh out loud and cheer for the underdog tale that will leave you wanting to conquer your biggest mountain.
*Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending a copy for review.