Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Recessionistas

The Recessionistas
Author: Alexandra Lebenthal Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-446-56367-3
Source: Reviewed for Author Exposure

Synopsis from book:
“It’s the day after Labor Day, 2008, and the elite universe of New York’s Upper East Side is about to unravel along with the economy. Socialite Grigsby Somerset is barely aware of her changing world and has no idea her investment banker husband, Blake, is about to enter into a devil’s bargain with hedge fund owner John Cutter. As autumn unfolds, Grigsby’s fairytale life starts to unwind. Street-smart Renee Parker has been hired as John’s executive assistant and is convinced that something is amiss with her new boss. Renee enlists her friend Sasha Silver, CEO of Sliver Partners, to help her decipher what is happening. They soon discover that John in nearly ruined, except for the assets he is hiding in the Cayman Islands from his wife, Mimi, and has concocted with Blake a scheme to redeem himself. This tale of expulsion from a modern-day Garden of Eden captures what happens when economic decline spells ruin for Manhattan’s pampered elite.”

My Review:
If you’ve read the above synopsis you have pretty much read this book aside from horrible characters, wall street’s numbers, and mundane details. The Recessionistas chronicles four main characters debuting them by chapter. The start of each new chapter furthers the story of one of these four. While I am normally a fan of this set up, I did not enjoy this book or the authors writing style. I felt as if I was reading a power point presentation of facts rather than a story. I was unable to connect with the characters throughout the book. I actually preferred not to read about them. The novel states it is “A novel of the once rich and powerful” but truly it is a novel of spoiled rich women, a few honest hardworking people who are very rich and a couple of white collar crime millionaires who are greedy beyond belief.

One of the major problems I had with this book was its lack of appeal and intrigue. The most interesting part of the book takes place in the last seven chapters. This means I had to battle my way through twenty chapters only to find little alleviation and still work my way through seven more. While I understand the idea of the novel, I feel it is all wrong for today’s market. The agent who requested that Ms. Lebenthal write this book would have been better of asking her or someone else to write a book about real struggle in a recession. A book chronicling the lives of four women who are working and taking care of their children with fears and struggles that the average woman faces would have made a much better women’s fiction novel and made for a better story. Instead, I wanted to throw the book across the room as I read about a bunch of spoiled rich women with no sense of reality and how fortunate they are as they whined, complained and threw fits that they were no longer popular or rich. They were not enjoyable. The end of the novel did not equal the end of money or the end of status for the non-law breaking characters. Its as if the novel chronicles a few hard months for the rich, who find themselves still rich at the end.

I honestly had a hard time reading and reviewing this book. The process was painful. I found myself looking for excuses not to read which is highly unlike me. I rarely ever pick up a book without finishing it but I was tempted multiple times to do just that. I would not have finished this novel if it had not been for the commitment I made to review it. I enjoyed very few points in this novel. The most interesting part of the book for me was the titles of each chapter and the pretty fonts they were printed in. If you like the synopsis and want to give this book a try please do, just don’t spend 24.99 on it. Check your local library or borrow the title from a friend. I will not be recommending this book, nor will I attempt to read another novel by this author unless she decides to write a book on her own, for herself, without being asked to write a book. I believe a lot of a great book is due to the passion of an author. Ms. Lebenthal has many impressive aspects of her resume as CEO and President of her company, however I personally did not benefit from her book.



  1. Agreed. I didn't like this one at all- the dialogue was awful! Sometimes it's hard to write an honest review, but I do appreciate that you do!

  2. Thanks for such a honest review. I could have picked it up from just the synopsis and a whim. But I really appreciate having read your review. Honest reviews are often hard to write, but I truly value your opinion and thank you for continuing to be honest. Hope your next book is more fun and enjoyable to read.


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I appreciate any comments or feedback! It is great to interact with other book lovers! If you read a book after seeing my review I would love to read your review! Come back and leave me a link ( : Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!