Money, a Memoir
By Liz Perle
My Rating: 2 Stars
Money, a Memoir was not what I expected it to be about. This is one of those instances where I should have read the book synopsis before I downloaded it. I was expecting a book about money. The history of it, the politics of it, the evolution of it perhaps. If you read the subtitle, “Women, Emotions, and Cash”, you get a good idea of what this book is going to be about. It delves into the struggles women have with money, their relationship with it and their expectations of it from a socioeconomic perspective. And while this is a fascinating topic and most certainly a worthy topic, it isn’t what I was prepared to read about when I picked up this book. That being said, I have to say this book only touches on the basics of this vastly important topic. It’s told mostly from a personal perspective and then backed up by interviews conducted by the author with friends, neighbors and colleagues.
I’m going to be honest, this book didn’t really do anything for me. I’ve been in Ms. Perle’s shoes. I did the married thing, I did the follow my ex to the opposite side of the globe only to find out that he didn’t want to be married anymore thing. Granted I didn’t have any children but it was still devastating. It still hurt and I was still scared. I was in the very beginning of my professional career unlike Ms. Perle who was in her prime. But that is where our similarities ended. As a woman I would have expected to connect with this book more than I did. Ms. Perle approaches this subject as if women are the victims. But the way it’s presented, I can’t help but think “yeah, victims of their own making” and I know I don’t truly believe that. Ms. Perle talks about how she worried about her finances, how she didn’t have a career anymore, how she didn’t know how to manage financially. But where she allowed that fear to consume her and drag her down, I didn’t allow it. Did I worry about my finances? Absolutely. Was there fear that I wouldn’t be able to get any credit because all my accounts were combined with my ex’s? Definitely. But life isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to challenge, it’s what makes you stronger. If I was a victim, it wasn’t because of money and my finances.
This book was frustrating because it assumed the following: “a woman worries about financial security until she gets married and a man doesn’t worry about it until he does.” Sound familiar? Have you come across this little quote before? I suppose there has to be some truth to it or it wouldn’t exist, but it’s something that infuriates me and makes me think that women put themselves down so naturally. Why? Why do we sell ourselves short? Why do we assume that we can’t do what a man can do? I know, I know history has shown that we have always been at a disadvantage when it comes to financial means and our careers. But only we can change that. Believing in ourselves and in our abilities, qualities, and importance is all us. We don’t need men to believe we can do it. They don’t need us believing they can do it so why would the opposite be true for women? Ms. Perle presents every woman in this book as a victim who overcomes some big adversity. To me that’s a bit of a crock. So saying this book kind of pissed me off is an understatement. I found it to be lacking in original perspective. Where is the alternate perspective. Where are the examples of women who don’t have negative relationships with money? Women are consistently presented as victims to the power of men, but it doesn’t have to be that way, especially when it comes to financial freedom and security. Was Ms. Perle’s goal to show how strong these women were? If so, it fell flat. Was it meant to stir the pot and bring forth the need to change the status quo? If so, it didn’t do it. Was it meant to make women angry at men for being put in this situation? If so, then that’s a totally copout. I would have expected this book to light a fire in the reader either slowly or like lightning about the real subject. It should have made us angry and offended that women allow themselves to be put in this position; that society makes us think we aren’t worthy, that there is a preset position women hold in our socioeconomic structure. It should have pointed out ways women have taken themselves out of the victim category and taken the power back for themselves. Rather than doing this it toed the line bringing nothing new to the subject, the fight or my perspective on the matter.
Sorry, if you are looking for a book about the inadequacies of women when it comes to their perspective on money and financial security, this isn’t it. Look for something else.