Synopses & Reviews
A bold and personal book that digs below the surface of one of society's last taboos money and illuminates how women's emotional relationship with it affects every part of their lives.
Long ago, and not entirely consciously, Liz Perle made a quiet contract with cash: she would do what it took to get it work hard, marry right but she didn't want to have to think about it too much. The subject of money had, since childhood, been quietly sidestepped, a shadowy factor whose private influence was impolite to discuss. This deliberate denial eventually exacted its price, however, when a sudden divorce left Perle with no home, no job, and a four-year-old with a box of toys. She realized she could no longer afford to leave her murky and fraught relationship with money unexamined.
What Perle discovered as she reassembled her life was that almost every woman she knew also subscribed to this strange and emotional code of discretion even though it laced through their relationships with their parents, lovers, husbands, children, friends, co-workers, and communities. Women who were all too willing to tell each other about their deepest secrets or sexual assets still kept mum when it came to their financial ones.
In Money, A Memoir, Perle attempts to break this silence, adding her own story to the anecdotes and insights of psychologists, researchers, and more than 200 "ordinary" women. It turned out that when money was the topic, most women needed permission to talk. The result is an insightful, unflinching look at the once subtle and commanding influence of money on our every relationship.
"In spite of women's supposedly massive buying power and growing presence in Fortune 500 boardrooms, many women are still awfully old-fashioned when it comes to cash. Why do they show so little interest in managing investments? Or lie to their partners about what something costs? And what's behind that evil prescription known as 'retail therapy'? Perle (When Work Doesn't Work Anymore) investigates these questions and others in this remarkable sociological study-cum-memoir. She boldly exposes her own financial fears (the book opens as she's confronting a divorce and the reality that she and her four-year-old son will have to sleep on a friend's couch), admitting that, despite her years climbing the corporate ladder (in publishing, incidentally), 'there's still that other part of me the one that wants to reserve the option of depending on someone else.' Perle also profiles dozens of everyday women, spotlighting the anxiety, embarrassment and guilt money causes them. Commentary from financial experts, sociologists and others helps demonstrate Perle's thesis: women cannot afford to be ambivalent about money and must learn to separate feelings from finance. Perle's book raises more questions than it answers, which is part of its allure it'll surely have readers thinking twice before they log on to Bloomingdales.com after a bad day at work." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"An impoverished argument about women and money....Fails in its effort to address broader issues. Readers would be better off investing the money they might be tempted to spend on this book." Kirkus Reviews
"If you can find yourself reflected in these stories, Perle's hybrid self-help memoir is worth reading." Los Angeles Times
"Perle emphasizes that this is not a how-to book of financial advice....Whatever its classification, the book contains a message that needs to be heard and heeded, not only to benefit women but also to give their offspring a better financial example." Christian Science Monitor
"What's frustrating about Perle's tropism...is that her subject matter and...her writing about her own fiscal experiences and feelings are so interesting. But whenever she gets too close to nuance and specificity, Perle seems to run for cover under pronouncements about womankind rather than continue on the unmarked path toward insight." New York Times
"If you want to understand many women's complex and contradictory attitudes about money, take out your wallet and buy Liz Perle's very personal and very honest look at the subject in Money, A Memoir." Myrna Blyth, former editor-in-chief of Ladies Home Journal and author of Spin Sisters
"A smart, funny, insightful book on woman and money. Liz Perle writes with love and enthusiasm about this essential topic." Judith Orloff M.D., author of Positive Energy
"This deceptively powerful book is a must-read for any woman who really wants to be in control of her life." Arianna Huffington, editor of the Huffingtonreport.com
"Change is in the air. Someone finally has the courage to be straight about women's emotional struggles with money. Every woman who reads this touching, smart and true book will come away with more insight into one of the most important relationships in her life the one between her and her pocketbook." Debbie Ford, author of The Dark Side of the LightChasers and The Best Year of Your Life
"[Perle] articulates internal contradictions that many women will recognize." Anya Kamenetz, The Washington Post
"In the end...Money
fell short of satisfying me. After all those hazy female anecdotes, metaphors, and statistics, I wanted the Money Shot I wanted to look at it, to see Perle's own Quicken Bill-Pay file open spread-eagle before me." Sandra Tsing Loh, The Atlantic Monthly
(read the entire Atlantic Monthly review
Women learn the lesson early: Coveting money is greedy. Hustling for it is unladylike. Talking about it is crass.
And so they develop a quiet contract: I'll do what it takes to get money, but I don't want to have to think about it. Maybe an extravagant purchase gets chalked up as a necessity. A few twenties disappear from the husband's wallet while he's in the shower. A raise goes unrequested. A looming debt gets pushed aside, just for the moment . . .
In Money, Liz Perle adds her own story of money and denial to the anecdotes and insights of psychologists, researchers, and more than two hundred ordinary women. The result is a bestselling book that "will force both men and women to ask hard and important questions about love, marriage, and money" (San Francisco magazine).
Digs below the surface of one of societys last taboos—money—and illuminates how womens emotional relationship with it affects their lives
Long ago, and not entirely consciously, Liz Perle made a quiet contract with cash: She would do what it took to get it--work hard, marry right--but she didn't want to have to think about it too much. Since she was a young girl, the subject of money had been quietly sidestepped, a shadowy factor whose private influence was impolite to discuss. When a sudden divorce left Perle with no home, no job, a four year old and a box of toys, she realized she could no longer afford to leave her murky and fraught relationship with money unexamined.
What Perle discovered as she reassembled her life, both personally and professionally, was that almost every woman she knew also subscribed to this strange and emotional code of discretion. Women who were all too willing to tell each other about their deepest secrets or sexual assets still kept mum when it came to their financial ones.
In Money, A Memoir, Perle attempts to break this silence, adding her own story to the anecdotes and insights of psychologists, researchers and more than 200 "ordinary" women. It turned out that when money was the topic, most women needed permission to talk. Perle found when she confessed her fears and idiosyncrasies to other women, theirs came tumbling out as well. The result is an insightful, unflinching look at the subtle and commanding influence of money on our every relationship.
About the Author
, who worked in book publishing as an editor and publisher for more than twenty years, recently joined the non-profit world where she is the editor-in-chief of Common Sense Media, the nation's leading non-partisan organization designed to help families make the best media choices for their children. She is also the author of When Work Doesn'tWork Anymore.
Liz lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.