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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bond Girl: Adventures on Wall Street

Alex Garrett is young, cute, and seemingly in way over her head in the cut-throat, spectacularly excessive, old-boys-club world of Wall Street. The questions in Erin Duffy's debut novel, Bond Girl, then: Will "the Business" break her, or will she tough it out, maintain her morals, and rise to the top (even as the markets are melting down)? Or will she let the misogynistic jerks (especially the older married guy who keeps texting her) beat her down?

The atmosphere on Alex's bond-trading floor is not unlike that of a frat house -- the team plays ridiculous pranks on each other, completes "feats of strength" (one fellow earns a $28,000 pot for eating one of everything in the vending machine), give each other silly nicknames (Alex's is "Girlie"), and treat the newbies like crap. At one point, as a punishment for being late one day, Alex has to drive to Brooklyn to pick up a 50-pound wheel of parmesan cheese. Another newbie, a would-be hot-shot Princeton grad, thinks he's advancing quickly when the other traders let him help out on a trade for Cox Communications. They make him yell across the trading floor "I'm a large buyer of Cox." He doesn't get why that's funny, or that he's being pranked.

And while that's all fun and games, the real thrust of this novel is how difficult it is for a woman on Wall Street. Alex begins dating a guy from her company, and he's cute and romantic and nice to her when they're together, but for some reason, he never answers his phone on weekends -- which should be an enormous red flag, but Alex enjoys their time together, and doesn't want to be "that girl" by making a big deal of it. And then there's Rick, the head of a hedge fun, and a major client -- who immediately sees Alex as a potential conquest. He rigs situations to be alone with her, constantly asks her out for drinks at hotels, and texts her creepy messages at all hours of the night. Alex just grins and bears it, and chalks it up as part of the job.

Overall, Bond Girl is a quick, fun read that gives a glimpse into the excesses and absurdities of Wall Street. Yes, it is on the "chick-lit" side (as you can probably tell by the cover), so there's lots of spa-ing and gossiping with friends over margaritas and thinking about how it "takes pain to beautiful." But if you're a dude, it's a good look behind the curtain, per se, to see how the other half thinks. (That's the real reason I read it -- it came up as available on my library holds list right before Christmas, and I figured it'd be a good mindless distraction between presents and egg nog.) It's light and breezy, and a good read for when you just want to turn your brain off and be entertained.

2 comments:

  1. Erin Duffy actually came to Richmond for a writer's conference thingy and I went for the bookstore and she was HILARIOUS. Kept making jokes about how her original cover made the book look like it was about strippers- all high heels and dollar bills. I'm impressed that you took this on, heh.

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    1. I'm all about expanding my reading horizons... Or something...

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