Join us today, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m. on Facebook Live for our interview with Maureen Sherry, who will be digging into the novel with Pulitzer Prize winner David Vise. RealClearLife would love your input as well. You can share your questions for Maureen and David ahead of today’s interview, on our Facebook page here. Watch the discussion live from our Facebook page to hear your questions being answered.
“A smart, biting, and honest peek into what it means to be a woman on Wall Street. I loved this book.” That was Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon’s reaction to Maureen Sherry’s latest novel, Opening Belle. Witherspoon has already bought the rights to produce and star in a movie version of the book, which has been out since February—and is imminently set to be released in paperback.
Witherspoon and thousands of others have already read and enjoyed the novel, which its publisher Simon & Schuster describes as “A whip-smart and funny novel … [that] 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.” Sherry, a former managing director on Wall Street herself, had a front-row seat to a similar work-life experience, and RealClearLife is getting the chance to sit down with her for an exclusive interview.
But first, read a short, first-chapter excerpt from Maureen Sherry’s Opening Belle below.
I’ve been to this holiday smackdown nine times. I know the drill: drink one glass of wine and lots of water. It’s not the place in 2007 where a thirty-six-year-old should be seen shaking her groove thing. I’ll swerve around the room, chat up some partners I don’t speak with often, then head for the door and be gone—slipping on home to Bruce and our diaper-clad chaos.
Steps from the entrance I instinctively pause, summoning a more impressive version of me, trying to get her to show up tonight. I stand taller, trying to find inner fabulousness, while I mentally tick off names of men, because they are all men, who will determine my fiscal year–end bonus. Which of the graying white guys on the executive committee have I not spoken with in the last few weeks and how can I casually remind them of my biggest deals?
I rehearse before the curtains rise. I think potential drama through and summon a false calm, just the way I do when my four-year-old’s shrieks threaten to shatter glass. I search for that kind of counter-Zen that gets the men to lean forward and listen. Avoiding the hysterical-female role—the stereotype men I work with have of women—is the key. Staying cool and professional and never slipping into some gossiping, pretty-girl mode is a strategy that’s gotten me places.
I mentally list the men with whom under any circumstances I shall not, will not, no matter what they can do for my bank account, dance with tonight. The inner caveman comes unleashed when all of us are together with an open bar and a closed stock market. I imagine every place of employment has a list of suspects to avoid at a party, but the problem with Feagin Dixon—or the problem with men making big money anywhere—is that they can get casual with wedding vows. It’s not that they don’t love their wives—I think they do—but the headiness of that money sucks the scruples right out of them. Any guy who was perhaps a geek in another life, hears the call of his near-celebrity status, and it makes him horny. If ever there was a time of year these men are in heat, it’s now, just a few months before bonus season.
Reprinted with permission from Simon & Schuster