If you’re thinking this isn’t my usual book, you are completely right. However, as the owner of a entirely too small house and an income that doesn’t exactly provide for a bigger one, I occasionally like to dip into these sort of books for, oh, I don’t know; inspiration? encouragement? the feeling that I’m not at all alone in that? and of course, how to remedy that.
One morning, Geneen Roth got a call that changed her life forever. She, and her husband Matt, were part of the many people ripped off by Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme, according to Wikipedia is:
is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation.
Overnight Geneen went from comfortably rich to having $5,000 in the bank. Unfortunately for the Roth’s, they invested their money instead of paying off their equity, their mortgage, and, well, putting they’re eggs in that one basket. Geneen lists willful ignorance, complacency, and, the main problem – the fact that she believed she shouldn’t care about money. At first, I want to be annoyed with Geneen, for her “It was always more important for me to find work that I loved than to be rich” attitude. Coming from a family that was very monetarily inclined (she even got a nose job), it felt like (to me) it was easy for her to say that. However, she goes on to explain how she washed dishes and worked as a maid in her late twenties, and worked as a nanny for a two year old, before going on to become a writer. She saw first hand what money cost:
What I do know is that I saw what money cost: parents who were cruel to each other; addiction to alcohol and drugs; infidelity; physical and sexual abuse; and self-loathing all around. It was impossible to know if the pursuit of more caused the wretchedness, but the connection between misery and money was scalded in my brain-as well as the need to find out if there was more to being alive than being rich and sleeping with your best friend’s wife or husband.
All this served to (again, for me) humanize a woman who, in real life, I would have nothing to do with. We wouldn’t be in the same social circles. We’re not in the same age group. Yet now, thanks to her candidness and humanness, she feel real. Which made the rest of the book an easier pill to swallow. I love her honesty. I love her openness. She knows she’s putting herself out there for criticism, but (again, it feels like) she is sincere in her wish to help others, not just anyone affected by such fraud, but those, like me, who live paycheck to paycheck. And that makes this a book anyone can read.
Also? I love the way she compares her situation to food and overeating. I can SO identify with the thought that overspending is the same as overeating and I hope hope HOPE I can apply many of her thoughts to my own financial and other consuming parts of my life.
“This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are most definitely my own.”