Read as part of CBR11 Bingo: Re-telling of a classic. The book was inspired by “Pygmalion.”
This book is a mess but it is a very entertaining mess. It’s basically The Big Short filtered through the lens of a needy, greedy Manhattan mom.
Perhaps because of my enduring love for Manhattan, I never seem to tire of New York City tales. Even ones that are as bleak and insufferable as this one. I found myself relating to India more than I would have liked. Sure, she has everything one could reasonably want: handsome husband, two kids, writing books, living in an uptown Manhattan apartment. But like a lot of us, she lives above her means and yet she craves more. More money, more prestige, more comfort, more sophistication.
This book was published in 2010, on the heels of the subprime mortgage crisis. It takes place right before the bubble bursts. McPhee does a great job of capturing the moment in finance. A lot of it felt familiar to me in an awful way. As India ascends to her perch as a “mistress of the universe”, the country devolves around her and her desire to want more, no matter who she has to step on.
But as I said in the beginning, the book is a mess. The narrative is scattered, with random, inexplicable time jumps. The characters are thin, especially the husband Theodor and financial patron Win. And again, the lead is absolutely insufferable. It’s a lot to sit through if you have no curiosity in the subject. But if you, are intrigued by the premise of the book, I think it’s worth your time.