Michelle's Reviews > Dear Money

Dear Money by Martha McPhee
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's review
Jun 26, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010

This book was a treat - a satire on the money-grubbing ways of the mid-2000s. A novelist is lured into bond trading on what is essentially a dare/bet sometime around 2004. The best part is this is based on a proposition the author actually received. I loved the parallels between her life as a struggling novelist in a high priced area (the constant thought of money-money-money as she tries to make ends meet for her family) and her life as an uber-successful bond trader where not much has changed in terms of her obsession (money), just the angle at which she approaches it. This rang very true. Also, at first I was skeptical that the main character could be so successful in such a different professional environment but the author convinced me someone who's good at taking risks and playing slim margins would be great in the world of MBSs, et. al. Loved that. There were also some very salient points regarding the risks the finance gurus took and the fact that if these people don't even know what they're doing, how can Main Street? Of course, this is told in hindsight so a little easier to make the point given what we now know.

The characters were great, if not obvious in their names (a dude named "Win" lures her into bond trading). There were times it dragged when she explained over and over again about the CMOs/MBSs/credit default swaps/etc. but as an investment banker-turned-CFO for a company whose clients are mortgage companies I am intimately familiar with world so none of it was new information. Of course that's also another reason I loved this book... because the world of finance is incredibly exciting to me. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the book all the way through, even though I wasn't fully sold on the ending. All in, an excellent read.
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