Review: Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry

Title: Opening Belle

Author: Maureen Sherry

Published: February 2, 2016

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster


Belle is a Wall Street star in a firm where the male population treats the women like pretty decorations not deserving of the same respect the men receive.  Belle is pushed to join the other women in the secret Glass Ceiling Club to come up with a way to get around these men and move ahead in their professional careers.  On top of work complications, Belle must deal with an old flame suddenly back in her life in a very prominent way and a crazy home life where her unemployed husband fails miserably at being a stay at home dad and forces Belle to be the breadwinner and the homemaker all at once.  Quite suddenly all aspects of Belle’s life seem to implode, and Belle must make some difficult choices on how she really wants to live her life.

As a woman in a largely male dominated profession myself, I am a fan of reading books where the women really want to “stick it to” the men who make doing their job difficult.  This is what drew me to this book and made me read it.  The problem I had with it was how ridiculous and frustrating Belle’s work environment was.  Women never getting good promotions no matter how well they do their jobs, the complaints being ignored and thrown away as if they were nothing….I know what it’s like to have to work harder than some of the men I know with the same experience I have, but I’ve never been completely disregarded like the women in this book are.  And it seems like nothing is being done about it! It was just a little over the top. But a book should make you feel something, even if it is frustration and anger.

On top of the frustration of the situation at Belle’s work, I was also frustrated by the direction of the book.  I couldn’t figure out if this was a book about Belle getting ahead in her job, or getting a balance in her home life, or if the focus was on Belle’s new relationship with her ex-turned-client, Henry.  The story was chaotic and complicated and at times unfocused.  As I kept reading, though, I found that I was pretty okay with the lack of clarity, because real life is unclear and complicated and forces us to juggle commitments to our families with our jobs, and this book was all about Belle finding a balance in her crazy life.  I just didn’t figure that out until I was almost done with the book.

Overall, I did enjoy this book.  It was an entertaining and easy read with a narrator that I really felt for and connected with.  Belle is faced with many difficult situations in this book, and all I really wanted was for her to get a somewhat happy ending with those situations resolved.  That’s what made me keep reading when I found myself frustrated by the situations she was thrown into.  I didn’t find it as funny as the book is advertising as being, though, and instead found the parts that were supposed to be funny as more annoying than anything else.  I think I took this book a little more seriously than intended.

You should read this book if you’re a fan of chick lit and Sophie Kinsella-like books, or if you’re looking for a good weekend read that will make you grateful for what you have in your own life.  Three stars.


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