Throughout her life, Alexandra Penney's worst fear was becoming a bag lady. Even as she worked several jobs while raising a son as a single mother, wrote a multimillion-dollar best-selling advice book, and became editor in chief of Self magazine, she was haunted by the image of herself alone, bankrupt, and living on the street. She even went to therapy in an attempt to alleviate the nagging in her mind that told her that all she had worked for could crumble. And then, one day, that's exactly what happened.
Alexandra Penney had taken a friend's advice and invested nearly everything she had ever earned with Bernie Madoff. So one day she was successful and wealthy; the next she had almost nothing. Suddenly, at an age when many Americans retire, Penney saw her worst nightmares coming true.
Entertaining and inspiring, The Bag Lady Papers chronicles Penney's struggle to cope with the devastating financial and emotional fallout of being cheated out of her life savings, and traces her journey back to sanity and security. Her outraged blog postings about the Madoff scandal in The Daily Beast and her commentary on CNN have generated millions of hits and earned her a loyal following. How do you pick yourself up after your worst nightmare comes true? Penney shows us how.
©2009 Alexandra Penney (P)2010 Tantor
“[Penney's] struggle is genuine, her charm expansive and surprising, and her strength winning.” (Publishers Weekly)
When you have 3 places to live and you are forced to sell 2 of them, you are not a "bag lady." Being afraid of losing your hair stylist because you can't imagine highlighting your own hair, or having to do your own nails does not elicit sympathy from most people I know. It was disgusting to hear the author go on about parties and dinners on the town she could now not attend, and the crystal and jewelry, etc. etc. Yes, losing her savings was unfair; a big shock and disappointment, I am sure, but that hardly equates to being a bag lady. She just got to the place where most of us have been living all along. When you have no job, no money, no prospects, no place to live (on the street), no food (as in empty pantry - not can't eat out at an expensive restaurant), clothes (designer or otherwise) or friends who help you every step of the way - that's a bag lady. Most of us have pinched pennies and worked hard all our lives without ever once having any of those luxuries this one keeps whining about losing.
I did not make it past the first 15 minutes becasue the language was so offensive. She could have been so clever in using the English language to get across her anger, but she chose not to.
I had heard the author in an NPR interview which peaked my interest to download this book. Having sufferred my own financial loss in the stock market downturn of '08, I could commiserate with the author. While I identified with her in some ways, my situation was not nearly as bad as hers, and I found her positive attitude both consoling and entertaining. I think the reader did a great job of expressing the tone of the story as it was written. It was a very enjoyable read for me.
This book could have been good and should have been ... and it isn't! The author/protagonist is shallow, and is incapable of getting what significant profound moment that happened to herself and all the other Maddoff "victims." I have a hard time for those who invested with him and lost so "everything." They need to redefine and get a REAL grip on what is truly important.
I gave it three tries but decided it was not worth my time. I felt no emotional attachment to the agonizingly boring character. The narrator's voice was annoyingly smug and at times sounded computer generated.
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