As promised, here is this week's second book review! Once again, this book comes recommended by Reese Witherspoon's Book Club, and I liked it way more than the last book she recommended (You can check out that review here!)!
If you need a refresher, check out why I'm doing weekly book reviews, here!
I'm glad that the Reese Witherspoon Book Club redeemed itself with this pick. So, with no more ado, here is my review of Whisper Network by Chandler Baker!
Whisper Network follows three women, Sloane, Ardie, and Grace, as they navigate motherhood, divorce, and men in the workplace. The story begins on the day the CEO of the company they work for, Truviv, dies. With his death comes news that Ames Garrett will most likely be the new CEO. But Sloane is concerned about this. Her and Ames had an affair early on in her career, and now he's making advances at the new girl in the office, Katherine. Soon, word reaches the girls that there is a list, the B.A.D Men list, where women anonymously share men who have tried to take advantage of them. Sloane considers putting Ames on the list to warn Katherine.
Ames soon befriends the struggling Grace, a new mom. He asks her to write a recommendation in his favor in exchange for a promotion.
Sloane finally decides to put Ames's name on the B.A.D. list, as a final warning to Katherine.
But, when Ames still tries to take advantage of her, the women decide to sue Ames and Truviv. When word of the lawsuit reaches Ames ears, he committs suicide. Or so everyone thinks. Soon, the police begin questioning the women to see if Ames's death was actually murder.
Truviv soon files a counter-suit against the women, claiming their lawsuit made Ames's commit suicide.
Katherine betrays the other women by saying Ames never made advances at her.
The women seem likely to lose the counter-suit, and their jobs, when a cleaner comes forward saying Ames raped her and fathered her son.
The women then win their case, and lots of money, and the police officially rule Ames's death as a suicide since there was no proof of foul play. Now, Sloane, Ardie, and Grace decide to open their own practice, and Ardie reveals that Ames had raped her while they were on a business trip, and that her and Katherine killed him.
I found Whisper Network to be very timely, and more than a little scary. It shed light on behaviors that happen in workplaces all over the world, and also showed what can happen when women fight back against these behaviors.
I really liked the three main characters, Sloane, Ardie, and Grace. Baker gave all of them equal space in the novel, and equal chance for them to become fully developed characters. This was another novel where there was not a ton of dialogue, which I think would have helped with flushing out the characters a little more, but I felt that it never took anything away from the novel.
I typically don't like third-person POV novels, but I didn't mind it in Whisper Network. I think Baker gave equal time and attention to each woman, making the reader root for her and commiserate with her, but with third-person POV the author does a lot of telling, as opposed to showing, which is a pet peeve of mine. I like the intimate thoughts and feelings you can only get while reading a first-person POV novel. I think Baker could have stylistically done that with Whisper Network, and it would have added a level of immediacy that I feel like it lacks.
Baker had a tendency to start chapters with a long stream-of-consciousness section. I found this very jarring as it took the reader out of the novel, and then dropped them back in with whichever character the chapter was following. I found it a little distracting to be in the middle of the action, and then start reading about how motherhood changes people, for example. I think some of the stream-of-consciousness passages were very good, and raised interesting questions, but Baker began most chapters in that way and it began to feel a little tedious.
Stylistically, I enjoyed Baker's writing. I thought some of her passages were stunning to read, and very thought provoking, but others, as I said before, took you too far out of the action of the novel. I think if she had put some more style into the rest of the passages, this novel would have been perfection!
I really enjoyed Whisper Network by Chandler Baker. I give it a solid 4 out of 5!