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Opening Belle

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  6,595 ratings  ·  561 reviews
Getting rich on Wall Street would be a lot more fun if the men would keep their hands off her assets. A whip-smart and funny novel told by a former Wall Street insider who reveals what it’s like for a working woman to balance love, ambition, and family in a world of glamorous excess, outrageous risk-taking, and jaw-dropping sexism.

In 2008, Isabelle—a self-made, thirty-some
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Simon Schuster
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Average rating 3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,595 ratings  ·  561 reviews

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Megan Johnson
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: general-fiction
I really wanted to like this book. So much so that I requested a review copy to review on my site. Unfortunately I was left feeling a bit disappointed and will ultimately have to mark this one as DNF at 50%


I had high hopes especially after hearing about the fact that Reese Witherspoon has expressed interest toward making it into a movie. Sure, the feminist, stick-it-to-the-man anthems might be a bit played out at this point but still a small part of me hoped that this one would be different enou
Skyler Autumn
Dec 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: loath
1.5 Stars

Opening Belle is the type of novel that had so much promise, Isabelle (nicknamed Belle) is a Wall Street Managing Director that is attempting to juggle an all consuming career while being a mother to three kids (if your including the unemployed lay about husband). Everyday Isabelle has got to strap on her mental armour as she enters her office in the finance world and has to endure the countless sexist remarks and unwarranted touching. The far and few between women at this company hav
Dec 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, 2016-books
Author Maureen Sherry brings her real-life experience as a former Wall Street Managing Director to this fictional tale of Isabelle McElroy, an over-worked, under-appreciated, Wall Street Managing Director who is also the mom of three young children, and wife to a husband who has lost interest in working (or carrying his share of the load at home).

As with most books in the working-mom genre, Sherry delivers comical episodes of "overwhelmed mom trying to do too much," usually taking place at the
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 fi ...more
Mar 24, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book had so many issues that I honestly wish I had DNFed it and moved onto something else.

There really isn't anything here that makes this particularly book great. Ms. Sherry does try to explain the finance world by way of her character, but every time she tries to things fall flat. She should have taken a page out of "The Big Short" and had a celebrity break the fourth wall to explain things that are happening at particular parts of the book.

The main character of "Opening Belle" is Isabe
RoseMary Achey
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
I have read some depressing books in my day, but I found this novel extremely sad. There is a difference between books were the events are out of the protagonist control ( The Kite Runner, A Little Life, and Cutting for Stone) and those where the events are well within the main characters control.

Opening Belle is an fictional account of a fairly high level Wall Street Investment Bank female employee pre-financial meltdown. Our protagonist is a 30 something wife, mother and highly paid executi
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Maybe 3.5 stars, but I'm rounding up.

Overall, I liked it. It's basically chick lit with a side of market discussion. It kept me interested because it volleys between the two well; when's the bottom going to drop out of the mortgage market, what's going to happen with Henry, is her marriage salvageable, will anyone file a damn sexual harassment suit? But at the core the most important question is can women really have it all - the high-power career and the happy family? Are there just some jobs
Kristina Aziz
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was ok

I'm not sure what exactly was supposed to happen in this book, but I stopped reading about 25% through. I simply didn't see anything happening in the story besides Belle complaining about her lazy husband, judgmental ex, and creepy coworkers. It got boring.

The character if Belle herself was fine enough. A mother with a high stress job and a number of kids made me picture her in my mind as Laura from the Mysteries of Laura. This kept me reading until I realized I wasn't seeing much development be
“Humiliation takes my relatively thick skin and morphs it into full-grain leather,”
― Maureen Sherry, Opening Belle

This book is not bad at all. And it was fun to read the adventures of a female Wall Street executive. Yet for some reason I could not get into this book as much as I thought I would.

I think that maybe more my issue then anything to do with the writing. I have found in the last few years that I have this issue when reading any book about Wall Street including the widely known "Wolf o
Eva • All Books Considered
Review originally posted at All Books Considered: 2.5 STARS

Where do I start? This very well might be a case of it's not you, it's me. My first status update when reading this book was: I didn't know anyone hated their life this much. And, truly, I could never comprehend, not during the entire course of this book, why someone would continue to live a life that made them so unhappy -- Belle is incredibly unhappy in her job, mostly because she is in a thankless situation with no room for advanc
Judy D Collins
Hilarious . . Audio entertaining. Can't wait for the film. Review to follow! ...more
Grace {Rebel Mommy Book Blog}
Jan 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
In 2008 Isabelle, a high-powered woman on Wall Street who seems to have it all - husband, kids, great Upper West Side apartment. However she works in an awful environment - especially for women, doesn't get to see her kids or husband enough and still has so many of the household duties to do. While the women in her firm try to come together to make a change and Isabelle's ex-fiance comes into the picture she can sense a something bad coming in the markets. Can she figure out how to reall
Lynn Spencer
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Something about this book hit a lot of the right notes with me. Since I've been in a reading slump, I was pretty thankful for it, too.

Set on Wall Street just before the market crash, this novel follows the trials and trevails of Isabelle, an outwardly successful director on a trading floor. However, as we get to know more about Isabelle behind the scenes we see that she is butting her head up against a very firm glass ceiling, her work environment resembles a frat party, and her home life is ful
Zoriana Z
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
(I received this from NetGelley for an honest review. Thanks!)

Why I picked it up

I work in finance, so I read about these groping coworkers with an eyeroll and "oh that is so like so-and-so". Very accurate, especially the whole "raised rich and given a cushy, high-figure job where they goof off while the women do all the work". I've seen and experienced that first hand and it's soooo frustrating.

I'm also obsessed with the 2008 financial debacle. Especially after seeing The Big Short, I wanted to
Feb 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This didn't do much for me; I much preferred Bond Girl in terms of learning about Wall Street as an employer. While I liked the aspects of husband as dependent and dealing with sexism and sexual harassment in the workplace, it just didn't move me. She was making over $500k per year and it wasn't enough to live on fir a small family? Sorry but I don't feel your pain here. I also was irritated with the editing; for being published by a major publisher, there were typos and three times a wrong char ...more
I really wanted to love this one and it sounded like a good bet given the focus on the financial industry and the struggles of a working mom ... and yet, it just didn't work for me. I am struggling with the rating because I didn't hate it or love it. It's really something between it was ok and I liked it. So, I'm going with 2 stars. But, overall, this one wasn't one that will leave an impression. I really never connected with the writing for some reason. I thought the description of the financia ...more
Laura Skladzinski
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was SO excited for this book, but found it really depressing and lacking. The protagonist made no sense - she was at the top of her field, yet incredibly naive and stupid, staying with a shiftless husband for absolutely NO reason even though he ended up destroying her life.

I thought the sexist portrayals of her work were fairly accurate/realistic, and I thought it was incredibly dumb of Belle to think that (view spoiler)
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
“The Chinese consider the number seven to be lucky.”
No. No we don’t.

This is the book that pushed me over the edge of How long are white people going to make up stupid shit about exotic foreigners because it makes a “cute” theme for their novel? This book is built around the question – why do men get to do whatever the hell they want AND get rewarded for it? I ask the same thing of white people.

(For the other failings of this piece, read the reviews. It’s all been said. I initially picked up thi
Kathleen Gray
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bravo to Sherry for exploring the world of women on Wall Street prior to the 2008 collapse! This is a really well done novel with a terrific main character- Belle is completely relatable for those of us who have done the high stress job/family thing. I loved some of the other players as well, especially Kathryn (and the description of her loft.) The writing is clear and the complications of various financial instruments are well explained (not too much, not too little). Thanks to NETGALLEY and E ...more
Crissy Accordino
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Quick read. Belle is a workaholic and relatable. Her husband is a stay at home bum. They have 3 kids. Belle works on Wall Street and feels the strain of working in a man ruled environment. The stock market is about to crash. Belle's life is about to crash. It's an easy read and was perfect for a plane ride. Nothing was GROUNDBREAKING or thought provoking about it but the book does tell a quirky real life story. ...more
Amy Hatch
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good quick read

I didn't expect to love this book but it was very satisfying and offered some acute insights on what it's like to be the wife, mother AND the breadwinner, which sums up my life. I am not a million-dollar earner but I work in the tech industry with a lot of men and much of this rang true.
I trust my local public library's recommendations and read this novel, one of their "Hot Summer Reads," about a highly paid Wall Street executive before the disastrous fall in 2008. Thirty-six year old Belle, from a modest background, well educated, bright, ambitious, is married to Bruce, from a wealthy background, which he shuns and dismisses. She works seventy hours a week in a male-dominated, harassment-filled, toxic culture while he pretty much doesn't work. They have three great kids who ha ...more
Marissa Crawford
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book gave me flashbacks to my MBA classes in finance and accounting. I did enjoy the story of Belle and her life and career through the subprime mortgage crash in 2008 and 2009. I thought this was a realistic look at how sometimes you love your job and other times you put up with all of the garbage to get some end goal. A couple of things kept me from giving it 5 stars:

1) The main character's name is Belle. While this is a perfectly good name, it seemed like the name might have been chosen
Melinda Elizabeth
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Opening Belle started off a little dry, I'm not going to lie. Isabelle is a particularly humourless investment banker on Wall Street, with a demanding job and a resentful partner. She trudges through the markets and the streets of New York with unbridled reserve, but with little joy.

Set in the financial climate of 2008, readers already know what to expect. There's a big storm brewing and Belle is going to be caught in the middle of it.

As the GFC decimates the stock market, Belle's personal lif
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women, humor, english
"Opening Belle" by Maureen Sherry is a humorous piece about women in business – a story told by woman who worked on Wall Street having chance from own perspective to realize how almost impossible is to juggle private life, love and family with business and ambition.

Maureen Sherry who after college went to work on Wall Street, retired as a director more than ten years of hard-working – but she chose to tell her story based on actual events in a bit different way.

Though Sherry takes reader on not
Jan 05, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

More meat here than in your average Sophie Kinsella novel, and mostly it kept me excited to keep reading. But it got a little soapbox-y at times, and I'm not sure it did a great job explaining the roles of traders and bankers in the subprime mortgage crisis, at least in a way that the lay reader would understand. I also wasn't always clear whether Belle was meant to be telling her story as she lived it, or whether she was recounting it some years down the road. Some textual clues point
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was drawn to this novel in the first place because it was recommended in the Daily Skimm, one of my favorite news sources. After reading a sample, I realized that I wanted very much to read the whole book. The story is about rich people, yes -- but the protagonist and those close to her are more interesting than the shallow creatures in typical escapist stories of the rich. That's not to say there aren't any shallow characters here, but the shallowest are intentionally so, and their attitudes ...more
Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I truly enjoyed this book and the aims the author took to highlight gender inequality in the workplace. It was interesting to read about they ins and outs of a Wall Street female worker because I had, for so long, believed that little, if any, of those working on Wall Street were female. Nonetheless, my only issue with the book was the dramatic turn things took at the end of the book. It seemed a little rushed and out of character, but I have a feeling that the main character is based on the aut ...more
Aug 14, 2016 added it
I don't think Belle ever learned her lesson, even after she supposedly learned it. She just fastforwarded until she was "happy" and then regressed. LAME. And this was optioned by Reese Witherspoon's production company. They made Wild and Gone Girl, and have lined up:

Opening Belle
Luckiest Girl Alive
The Thing About Jellyfish
Truly Madly Guilty
In a Dark, Dark Wood
All Is Not Forgotten

Basically half of chick lit from 2014-now. And randomly a MG book but ok.

Anyway, instead of reading this story of a wo
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have to admit that after having read 15% of the book, I seriously considered removing it from my ereader. I had the feeling that i had not understood what was happening. I forced myself hold on for a little bit longer and although there were more parts that seemed like Chinese to me, there were some parts that I liked. They were funning, sad, made you wonder, think and realize that there was a lot of truth in them.
So I am happy I kept on reading but the lesser parts put a too thick a shadow o
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Play Book Tag: Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry -- 3.5 stars 3 8 May 22, 2017 06:24PM  

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Recently added to the 2010 American Booksellers Association list of Best New Voices, Maureen Sherry was born in New York City and raised in Rockland County, New York. She graduated from both Cornell and Columbia Universities and went on to work on Wall Street, retiring as a managing director after twelve years. Raising four children has made her skilled in all things action-figured, sugary, myster ...more

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“was thinking about us doing business together, about this apartment, how you had turned into such a big shot that you had probably changed and what if you weren’t the Belle I remembered? But then you dropped your earring on your plate and your hose was torn and you seemed so clumsy and adorable and it reminded me that you’re so capable and so vulnerable all at the same time.” 0 likes
“had loved this man so much and with everything I had but we had split and grown and formed new branches and we had to nurture those now, not something we gave up on long ago.” 0 likes
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