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Opening Belle
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Archive: Other Books > Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry -- 3.5 stars

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Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7644 comments Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry
3.5 stars (round down to 3)

Between this book and Startup, I seem to have stumbled into a world of fictionalization of real life experiences where women are discriminated against in the workplace.

Belle is a woman in her upper 30s, working in the fast-paced world of banking leading up to and during the 2008 housing market collapse. She is married with three kids and goes to work each day to suffer through the harassment at the hands of her mostly male colleagues. Throw in other women who are fed up, a long lost fiancé, and a husband who has issues with not being the breadwinner and you are reading about the experience of most women in male dominated fields.

While there were entertaining parts of the book, overall I just thought it was sad that women still face situations like this every day. That no matter how many legal and technical battles we win, there is still discrimination and harassment. Discrimination and harassment that many of of brush under the rug or excuse away because we cannot afford to lose our jobs. We keep our heads down and do our jobs better than anyone else with the naive assumption that we will eventually be noticed for the right reasons and promoted based on merit.

Okay, rant over.

I think I would have liked this book better if it would have taken a more serious tone instead of being marketed as chick lit with a cartoonish front cover. Or if Belle would have had more of a "win" in her professional life. But we didn't have either of those. It was interesting that the author based this on her own experiences in banking, but we ended up getting a too-realistic ending that was rushed through.

So, points for writing a book about a topic that is certainly worth the page space. And points for writing a story that I was interested in seeing what happened. But points deducted for not picking a genre and sticking with it even if that meant altering the real-life story.

Give us entertaining fiction with a redeeming ending or give us real life insight with a bit of hope for future change. Don't beat us down and leave us depressed while promising chick lit.

message 2: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8145 comments How do I interpret the 3.5? Should this stay on my TBR? Sounds like you didn't get wowed by it, but you enjoyed it well enough. I certainly don't mind clearing it....

message 3: by Nicole R (last edited May 22, 2017 06:25PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7644 comments Amy wrote: "How do I interpret the 3.5? Should this stay on my TBR? Sounds like you didn't get wowed by it, but you enjoyed it well enough. I certainly don't mind clearing it...."

It was fine. 3.5 for me means that I kept listening, didn't really think of quitting at any point, but it was just an audiobook to fill the time and really isn't something that is going to stay with me.

Most of my chick lit/contemporary romance books get a 3 star review. I read them for fun, they are written to be read for fun, and my ratings reflect that.

The bonus 0.5 points above the 3.0 average is for the topic, which I think it important even though ineffectively conveyed in this genre.

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