Sloane, Ardie, and Grace have all worked for the Truviv Law Firm for years, earning high salaries and doing what they can to keep up in the ever changing and competitive corporate world. When you work this long with a group of women, friendships develop over working lunches and after work cocktails. And often the topic on the table is their boss, Ames, who has been at the company as long as the girls and now is looking to be next in line for CEO.
These women have heard the whispers circling around Ames and the liberties he takes as boss around the women who work with him. Sloane, Adie and Grace have their own stories as well – both known, and unknown – things they have seen and/or heard. Advances that were made… actions that were taken, most unwanted.
When a new girl is hired at the company, young, pretty, energetic Katherine, Ames takes her under his wing and the ladies feel their spidey senses tingle. When a ” BAD MEN of DALLAS” list starts to circulate of men in power positions who take liberties that are not theirs to take, Ames name is quickly added to the list.
As the women begin to open up more about what has happened to them, a camaraderie starts to build that empowers them to take actions they never would have considered on their own.
What unfolds is a powerful battle that not all will survive.
A whisper network is an informal chain of information passed privately between women. It is typically a list of powerful people in an industry alleged as being sexual harassers or abusers. The information is often shared between women by word of mouth or online in private communities, forums, spreadsheets, and crowd-sourced documents. The stated purpose of maintaining these lists is to warn potential victims of “people to avoid” in their industry. Whisper networks also purportedly help victims identify a common abuser and come forward together about a serial abuser.
The term “whisper network” was newly popularized during the #Me Too Movement after several private lists were published outside of private networks.
The Whisper Network was a book chosen for one of my reading groups. I was intrigued by the comparison to the movie 9 to 5 , a movie from 1980 starring Dolly Pardon, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin, where they turned the tables on their inappropriate boss. (And yes, I realize I just dated myself).
The Whisper Network is of course way more intense then the above mentioned movie. It is not 1980, and the powers of the workforce have certainly changed since then and not necessarily for the better.
What we have here is a powerful story that ties right in with the Me Too Movement. Whisper network is told in a way that is unique and engaging. As the story unfolds, pages of Deposition Transcripts are sprinkled throughout, mostly prior to even a mention of is a case so you know something big is being alluded too.
Admittedly, I did not have this book finished by the time we discussed it as a group on ZOOM. While the discussion was good about the content, the book overall did not rate high with the group. I was invested enough at the time of the review to not be discouraged. Even though I learned some things about the ending of the book, I was still curious how it all played out.
I am glad I continued. Whisper Network is a book of heavy dialogue and many characters – two things I do not normally find myself drawn to as I like to really feel I know the characters and often when there are many different voices I feel some do not get flushed out well. I did not feel this way in this book and felt every voice was heard which is a way, is really what the book is about. Being heard.
While the book at times felt long, I would still recommend it. There is much to think about in this book and I have thoughts on all involved. I wish I had completed this in time for the discussion. Having finished it I now have a lot to say.