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The FloaterThe Floater by Sheryl Sorrentino
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's been awhile since I've written a book review.  I was saving my energy to trash, Fifty Shades of Grey, but I still can't do it - too much anger spewing, and not enough energy.

Okay, moving along, to a much better book. Okay, that's not a very good compliment, since anything is better than Fifty Shades of Grey...ha! Seriously though, I just finished reading the book, The Floater, by Sheryl Sorrentino, and I am pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.  Funny thing, I only read the book because I got a random email in my Goodreads account, by a stranger who recommended it to me  based on the fact that I had listed "When I was Puerto Rican," as a book that I liked.  I was a bit skeptical at first, especially after looking at the cover.  I don't know why, but the cover made me think it was cheesy, but then I thought, "what the heck?" And I gave it a shot.  I am so glad that I did because I now have another author to add to my books-I-cannot-wait-to-read-list. At the surface, this book seems like an easy read, chick-lit, but honestly, it's not.  Yes, it was quiet enjoyable, easy to read, and very funny at times, but it had thought provoking topics, it had issues that tug at you heart.  I would compare it to a good Julia Roberts movie, yes, most of them are "chick flicks," but look at the serious issues in story of Erin Brockovich. That's this book.

First, I'll start by saying that this author is a very good writer.  I have read books with great potential, that have fallen short because the author just couldn't pull it off.  This isn't the case with Sorrentino, actually the opposite is true; because she is a talented writer the story comes to life and is believable. I mean, I thought that the woman was Puerto Rican - that's how authentic her Puerto Rican characters are. I was actually floored when I found out that she isn't Puerto Rican and that writing these characters were from second hand knowledge (friendships) and research.  When an author can fool you in that manner, that's how you know she is good at what she does.

Another likable aspect of this book is the protagonist, Norma Reyes - you root for her,  you sympathize with her and you want her to win.  She is a strong woman: intelligent, hard working, determined, and with potential for enormous success.  However, due to her ethnicity and status she struggles to realize her true worth.  Norma is a Puerto Rican girl, living in the Bronx, who despite caring for an elderly ailing mother, a drug addicted sister, and her sister's children, she puts herself through law school and handles all the financial burden. After completing law school and a summer internship with a prestigious law firm, Norma should have landed a job, as a first year associate with that firm.  However, she is told that because of budget cuts, hiring first year associates are frozen, and she is offered a job as a  "floater," a secretary who works throughout the firm, wherever she is needed.  Although this position is way beneath what she should be doing, she accepts because she must continue to support herself, and her mother. Being a floater doesn't stop Norma from trying to realize her dream of becoming a lawyer and while trying to climb the rungs of the corporate ladder she uncovers racism, chauvinism, and a company builded on lies.  It's a whirlwind of discoveries, not just of the company, but of herself.  Norma uncovers childhood traumas and self doubt.  She realizes that these things, more than anything else are what hold her down from true success and from a loving relationship with a man.  Yes, there is also romance in this book.  We are introduced to a wonderfully strong character, who, for spoiler reasons, I will not reveal his name.  Let's just say that this character is also very likable and he is exactly what Norma needed, even though it pissed her off at times :)

At the surface this story is about a girl trying to become somebody, trying to get out of poverty, trying to overcome being a stereotypical hispanic. However, delve deeper and you find the real struggles that she faces - the internal self sabotaging struggles.  She must overcome family dysfunctionality, abuse, and self doubt - which have held her down from finding true love and from being successful, not in the monetary sense, but in a self respecting manner. With a talented writer, well developed characters, and a thought provoking premise, you have a really good book - The Floater.

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