Reese's Book Club | July '19: Whisper Network
Whisper Network by Chandler Baker is the Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine pick for July 2019! This who-dun’-it page turner is a completely captivating and incredibly relevant novel during this current #metoo movement. Set in Dallas, a group of women working for a sports apparel company decide to take action against a colleague when it becomes apparent that he is set to take over as CEO of their company. Given their collective experiences with him and a discovery of his inappropriate behavior with a newly hired lawyer, they make the decision to take legal action. Their worlds are forever changed when a series of events and doubts challenge their character, their accusation, and their intentions.
For more information about the Author, Reese’s Book Club, or my SPOILER FILLED thoughts on the book - scroll down!
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*** spoiler alert ***
Where do I even start with this book? It touched on so many relevant issues that professional women face, and the focus on guilt really got me. It is something we hear about constantly. Women feeling guilty because they have to work and be parents, feeling guilty for choosing work over having children, guilt over being too aggressive, too passive. How often have I personally downplayed a situation that was offensive or uncomfortable because I didn’t want to be the girl who “tattled” or the girl who was “too emotional”.
When I had my first office job, I had no idea that speaking up for myself could have social consequences. There was a much older man who finally took it too far when he asked me how “horny” I was because I was wearing a reindeer antler headband during our Christmas celebration in the office. He proceeded to ask me if I wanted to sit on Santa’s lap (he was wearing a Santa hat) and I was mortified because he was obviously laughing at me and showing off to the men around him. At some point later that day, he asked me to call him Richard - which at the time, I had NO idea why or what that meant, and the men around him laughed. When I brought it up to someone, they filled me in on the double entendre and also let me know that he was bringing other men into his office to show them the gap he created in his bookshelf that had a direct line of sight to my desk, and encouraged them to take a peek on days I looked nice. I filed a complaint, wrote up a statement with the company’s lawyer, and the gentleman was fired the day before Christmas. Guess who was treated like shit by some other colleagues? ME. Mind you, those people were jerks, but it opened my eyes to the insanity that comes with speaking up for yourself. At the time, it never once crossed my mind that people would be upset with me. How heartless was I to have a man fired before Christmas? How lame was I that I couldn’t take a joke? Oh, don’t look at Karina or you’ll get fired for using your eyes. He had a family and Karina ruined his life. These were the things they said about me, and it shocked me and changed how I would react to inappropriate behavior in the future.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when a neighbor, whom I would randomly say “hello” to in passing, started showing up around my car every single time I left for work, came home after work, or went to the gym on the weekend. My schedule is regimented and he quickly figured it out. He would tap on my window and wait for me outside my car door, hug me when I hadn’t wanted him too, and ask me things like, “how early do you go to work?”. It started to freak me out and I had NO idea what to do. I tried to rush to my car or make it clear I didn’t want to talk, but he would just tap on my window as I was backing out of my parking spot. If I filed a complaint or asked him to stop, would he get aggressive? Would the landlord take it seriously if I asked them to intervene? Was my discomfort enough to even file a complaint? These were the questions I kept asking myself and I was beyond overwhelmed. Life has taught me a series of hard lessons that have proven to me how unfair situations like these can be, and all I could do was ask my husband to escort me to and from my car every single time I came or went. How did I go from a tough and fearless female to a woman who needed her husband to escort her?!
These are the things that this book made me think about. As the women in the novel started to share their own stories, I now feel compelled to share some of mine. That is what made this book so great - it talks about the things that aren’t talked about, and it shows the power that comes from women banding together and supporting each other. It shows that even though standing up for yourself may be a hard path to take, your actions could help and encourage those around you. It could prevent someone else from going through the same thing.
Ok, enough with the deep stuff. There are so many other points to this book that I could talk about - from the revelation about Rosalita’s son’s paternity, to who murdered Ames - but I think I’ll end my thoughts here. It was a fantastic book and I’m glad to have read it!