by Clarissa Chua
Liz Nabor has a successful Wall Street career, using her brains and ambition to thrive in a male-dominated industry. At the top of her game, she enjoys a glamorous Manhattan lifestyle with her gorgeous boyfriend, Rick.
When the 2008 economic crisis looms, though, Liz’s boss pressures her to produce revenue…whatever it takes, ethical or not. Just as she explores a big opportunity to save her career, Liz is shaken to discover she’s unwittingly involved clients in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
As she is dragged into public scandal, Liz is called to the West Coast to handle a family crisis. Torn between personal and professional obligations, she must confront hard, unpleasant truths about herself…and discover what really matters.
“What She Knew” is a fascinating glimpse into the moral and ethical boundaries of ambition, and a candid examination of who we can become when we lose it all. Read reviews: Goodreads
WHAT I LIKED
I love how the ‘tiny town in western Washington’ proved Liz wrong. No, I loved every single time she was completely thrown off because it was always unexpected. I craved spontaneity for Liz and the book provided her with opportunities to experience it. The character development is, for the lack of a better term, on point.
For me, the perspective Feldman provided was a ubiquitous one but under-appreciated, especially in the context of the Philippines. I am talking about the famous phrase: Innocent until proven guilty. Yes, we believe it should be so, but how does it occur with the media having its own trial by publicity? One barely questions big events and the reports of the over-curious media that whoever is used as a pawn regardless of their innocence will be easing the anxious public. There are plenty of manipulative people not just in the business world, but even in our very own life and relationships. For example, some only help when it is beneficial for them and others no longer bother when times get tough.
(Spoiler alert! Highlight succeeding text to read.) Filled with business jargon, the book was quite challenging to understand, especially with what was going on in Liz’s job. But one thing was clear: it was bad. Because of this, I could not help but imagine how non-business majors would keep up with all the terms introduced. Although those were explained, it might still take quite some time to fully weave the connection. Or it might be so because I had no prior knowledge of the Global Financial Crisis, which led me to fully depend on the stock knowledge I piled from my Economics class.
Also, if you are looking for a love story, this is not the right book for you. While I loved the idea of Allen and Liz, I did not appreciate how they were thrown together in a whirlwind romance. Liz needed a place to stay so Allen offered his house. And then it explodes. Reacting chemicals were existing and boy, was it a mess.
I have mixed feelings about Liz. I love-hated her. It especially loomed in the first half of the book that I couldn’t help but imagine myself going inside the book and pulling her hair out just to knock some sense into her. Despite this, I clearly saw the impact of Liz’s character on the overall essence of the book.
Coming after the weight of school, imagine my dread after I swiped the first page and found this to be heavily covered in school-related stimulus (also known as Economics). I had to fight every urge to close the iPad, but I am glad I fought that battle. As I continued to progress into the story, I found myself getting drawn into the controversy and the characters. I saw the triumphs in simple acts of love. It also led me to reflect and seek a new paradigm. After all, isn’t that what books are supposed to do? ☁
Anything to share? :)