Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry revolves around a woman, Isabelle, who works on Wall Street at an investment firm. In her day to day life working at Feagin Dixon, Belle has to deal with men touching her butt and other forms of sexual harassment, as well as the ‘glass ceiling’ that the women on Wall Street know too well. Her work environment resembles that of a frat party, and the only thing that she can do about it is grin and bear it so she can keep the paychecks coming that support herself, her unemployed husband, and her three children. However, when a group of women start meeting to try and change the atmosphere that they work in, Belle is faced with the decision of whether she should continue to ignore the sexual actions and comments that she faces on a daily basis, or if she should finally speak up.
In addition to these work issues, Isabelle finds out that the new contact for her biggest and most financially fruitful company is the fiancé that left her on the sidewalk with her wedding wardrobe in hand and walked away with (and eventually married) another woman. From workplace drama to a strained and eventually broken marriage, Isabelle has a lot on her plate to deal with.
First, let me start off by saying that I loved every single page of Opening Belle. Sherry did a fantastic job of keeping every chapter, page, and even sentence interesting and vital to the overall storyline. I loved Sherry’s writing style and found that she appropriately addressed the issue of female inequality in many workplaces. I also thought she did a great job addressing how many working mothers feel when they have to leave their children at daycare, school, with nannies, or with their dad. She found a way to let the reader see how difficult it is for a woman to balance work life and home life without making it sound like women are cold-hearted or selfish for wanting to have it all–the perfect job and a family.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book and would read it again.
Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking. Check out her website at www.bckwritingcorner.com.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.