On the Floor - 2015 Reading Challenge

2015 is winding down, and with it, my list of reading options on the 2015 Reading Challenge checklist is dwindling too. But, between used books stores, audio books, Kindle, advanced reader copies from Allen & Unwin, and just good old-fashioned shopping, I'm slowly ticking all the boxes. I don't know whether I'll finish. I probably won't get through a trilogy, for instance. But I'm happy to say that I've read dozens of books this year that I might never otherwise have read, and that makes this a success in my opinion.

A book written by an author with your same initials

I went to the 'C' shelves in fiction to find an author with my initials and picked up On the Floorby Aifric Campbell. I'd never read her before, but I have a soft spot for Irish fiction, just as I have a soft spot for Irish people, so I took it home.

On the Floor follows Geri Molloy, a young woman who got started early and quickly rose to the top as a trader for an investment bank in London. She is gutsy, fierce, and happens to be the only trader that one of the richest investors in Hong Kong will speak to. She's also recovering from a horrible breakup and is facing having to move to China to appease her top client.

Campbell clearly knows her topic and writes about the life and energy of an investment bank with an expert hand. It's a new world to me, and that's one of my favorite things about reading books -- being immersed in a new world. As someone who's been through some crappy breakups (haven't we all?), I'm a bit envious of how well she captures the feelings that go along with that. She's excellent at describing physical reactions to emotion:

I felt a lurch somewhere below my ribs and a dizzying drop in temperature as if warm fluids were being drained from my body and replaced by formaldehyde chill.

This is something I constantly try to achieve, but my characters all seem to feel their feels the same way, with twists to the chest or the gut. So, respect.

On the Floor had some great moments, snappy dialogue, interesting characters, and surprising plot points. I would say the last third of the book is actually very powerful, with a back story coming out that I wished would have been more prevalent in the beginning of the book.

However, there was one main problem I had with it: it was such a heavy-hearted book. The lightest part of it took place in the last few pages. Geri is depressed and heartsick for the entire novel, abused both emotionally and professionally by the men she's surrounded by. While this is likely accurate for the time period (the early '90s), it makes for kind of a bummer of a read.

Certainly not a bad book, but as a reader, I almost cared too much for Geri, got frustrated for her as I would for a friend who was wallowing in misery after a rough breakup. The book is about so much more than her failed relationship, but at the end of the day, that's the part that really stuck out for me, and it was difficult to let go in order to see all the other great points about it.

Next, a review from around the same time period, with a main character about the same age, but a completely different read: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich.