Monday, 18 March 2013

Guest Book Review: Erin Duffy - Bond Girl

Reviewed by Maggie Burns

Whilst some bankers take 15 minutes to agree on a font size for a presentation, Alex Gerrett discovers that it takes her only one minute to lose her new bank $93,000 on her first trade. Welcome to the world of finance.

Being at the bottom of the corporate ladder in one of Wall street's biggest powerhouses is like having landed in a giant adult playground for new-girl-on-the-block Alex. As a child she witnessed the 'glamour' of the money-making machine via her banker dad. Now, she has survived the 'do-you-squeeze-the-toothpaste-from-the-bottom-or-the-top?' question in the interview and is heading for The City.

Her 'Watch Out Wall Street, Here I Come' attitude is soon punctured by her status as the one with the folding chair instead of a desk.

She has a lot to learn, for example:

• A $65 limo ride is a completely acceptable way to travel ten blocks…

• … or five blocks if it’s raining.
•Knowing maths is important – but nowhere near as important as you’d think!
• A bet is a bet is a bet. If you lose at credit card roulette, you will pay the bill. No one cares that it’s your first job and the bill is $10,000.

And with things looking a little sticky on the World’s markets, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Bond Girl is one of the books that's been sat in my review backlog since I received it from Harper Collins last year but fortunately my friend Maggie kindly offered to help me out and has read and reviewed this one for me... 

Beginning not long before the 2008 Wall Street crash and economic recession, Erin Duffy's tale of Alex Garrett's discovery of the gritty reality of the financial world when she achieved the job she'd been dreaming of since she was 8 years old sweeps you, kicking and screaming, into the testosterone-fuelled male environment of the Wall Street working day.

Her superbly descriptive book will have you gripped from cover to cover. Some cautionary tales along the way; never ever date a colleague for example, don't annoy the Boss, and money isn't everything. You'll meet the office bitch, the office 'bike', Harsh-but-fair Boss, the creep, you'll fall for the office hottie and cringe at the slimeball uber-powerful important customer.  Everyone you could ever meet in the financial industry, indeed in any office, is here in all their glowing, sweaty, financially disgusting glory.

Erin's tales of the co-worker who bet he could 'eat the vending machine' for a five-figure wager, of losing close to $100,000 within seconds, of not only the 'walk of shame' but the 'two hours late for work walk of shame', all ring true and are written so descriptively that you're there, in the room, beside her. You'll feel yourself blush with empathy as she slides oh so ungracefully into the corporate Christmas tree thanks to her totally impractical Manolo heels on the wet marble floor, but marvel at her ability to not spill any of the four bags of sushi while 'water-skiing across the lobby' into the giant fir and landing face down sprawled on the floor. Was that embarrassing enough in front of a crowd of strangers, or did any of her colleagues witness her collision course? I'll let you find out.

The relentless teasing, name calling and one-upmanship of working with men is perfectly recounted. The seriously frowned-upon office romance might be a bit of a cliché but is an essential distraction as anyone in an office-based environment will tell you. Alex manages, somehow, to walk the tightrope of achieving just the right amount of 'if you can't beat them join them' behaviour to earn her male colleagues' respect, but without losing her attractive femininity.

Will Alex's hard work, lack of sleep, damaged liver all be worth it all? Financially .... emotionally.... You'll just have to curl up, read, and find out.

Like all good books, you're left wanting more. Some ends are firmly tied, so you're not irritatingly left wondering about too much - just enough to want to find out what happened next.

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