Never mind that you should not judge a book by its cover: I must confess to panicking when I glimpsed the shiny black Louboutin stiletto embellishing Erin Duffy’s debut novel Bond Girl. Call me a snob, but I have no interest in reading anything remotely resembling an homage to Sex and the City. Thus I was delighted to discover that Duffy’s maiden literary voyage has steered clear of the silly and sordid clichés of so-called “chick lit,” and instead delivers a delectable tale of a plucky female bond trader whose Wall Street escapades just happen to coincide with the economic Armageddon of 2008.
When it comes to writing fiction about “the Street,” Duffy—who spent 10 years in the world of fixed income sales—certainly knows her stuff, and is a heck of a storyteller, too. While Bond Girl is not autobiographical, its heroine, Alex Garrett, clearly has much in common with the author. Smart, sassy and smitten with dreams of breaking the gender barriers imposed by the Manhattan men’s club of investment bankers, Alex is hired fresh out of college at the elite firm Cromwell Pierce.
Of course, Alex’s illusions about working on “the Street” are shattered on day one at the firm, after she is handed a child-size folding chair with “Girlie” scribbled on the back and subjected to a fraternity-house work environment.
Surprisingly, Chick—Alex’s profanity-spewing, hard-driving boss—is one of the most sympathetic characters in Bond Girl, which is littered with a cast of offensive characters whose peccadilloes include wagering over a co-worker’s disgusting act of eating everything in the vending machine; talking trash about the firm’s resident silicone-enhanced tart, aka “Baby Gap”; and raising money for charity by auctioning off lunch with the poor guy who mans the building’s coffee cart. Readers will find themselves rooting for Alex from page one—and hoping that the very talented Duffy might have a sequel in the works.