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Nina Godiwalla’s Suits tells the story of an ambitious young woman, beginning a challenging corporate career – with several odds stacked against her.
Let me start by saying that I loved Suits. As a smart young woman who wants to build a successful career, Nina the protagonist is someone I could relate to even when I despised her for making unsavory choices. I also liked Nina the writer; the story flows smoothly most of the time and the writing is even and very readable.
As the subtitle (“A Woman on Wall Street”) suggests, Suits follows Nina as she goes to work on Wall Street – more specifically, as an intern at JP Morgan and later her first year in corporate finance in Morgan Stanley. This is Wall Street of some years ago, so she finds herself mostly surrounded by white men, in a culture that doesn’t welcome diversity or independent thought. The narrative then, is gripping (“What will she do next? Will she survive?”) as well as scary (“THAT happened? Why doesn’t she quit? This is just not worth it.”)
Nina finds it a bigger change than most because not only is she a woman, but also the daughter of first-generation Parsi immigrants who grew up in a suburb of Houston, Texas, far away from the cutthroat world she finds herself in. All her life, she has struggled to prove herself to her father, for whom no achievement in school seemed big enough to celebrate. Behind her ambition to make it in Wall Street is this little girl’s urge to please her father, to be the family favourite.
My only complaint about the book is that the narrative often shifts too suddenly from the present to the past and back again. You’re reading what seems like the beginning of a story about one of her new colleagues, and then you find yourself reading about an episode from her childhood, and there is no attempt to tie the two threads together.
However, I found both threads of the story interesting. Learning how Nina’s background and her parents made her the person she is, helped me understand more about the choices she made as a young woman just starting out with her career.
Read this if you have any kind of corporate career, or if you want to be glad that you don’t. Read this if you want to know what it was like in Wall Street at the height of the boom; the blatant money-grubbing and lack of ethics repulses without shocking, given what we know now. Read this for a story of a young woman struggling to balance her upbringing with her own desires, and root for her as she finally grows up.
Publisher: Hachette India
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