Friday, October 5, 2012

The Floater by Sheryl Sorrentino Insightful Yet Fun!

"Oscar...lowered his voice and said,
"Well you gotta open it. And whatever it
says, it'll be okay. We both know that
"No it won't!" Norma cried.
"C'mon now. Is it the end of the world if
you failed the bar exam?"
"No, but my whole life depends on my
"Now, that just silly," he said softly. "Your
life's way bigger than that, and you know it."
"Is it? If I failed the bar exam, this whole
EEOC thing will be for nothing. Four years of
law school will have been for nothing!
There won't be any lawyer job or back pay.
It'll mean the firm was right about me all
along--I'm just some dumb, low-class spic
who's not good enough to be an attorney..."

The Floater

By Sheryl Sorrentino

The cover of Sorrentino's novel, The Floater is eye-catching and fun, but there are surprising scenes behind it that are thought-provoking, revealing...and so very human... Readers enter into the life of one woman, Norma Reyes. While she may not in any way match your own personal profile, she and her friend, Oscar, do well represent today's life style. In fact, it is "kinda" scary just how much you may find in this novel to relate to...

Sorrentino places us squarely into the hardship of Norma's family life, including flashes of memories from her father's abuse. And how that affects intimacy issues in her adult relationships. But a very important part of her story is the extensive harassment and discrimination she found when trying to enter the legal profession.

Once I finished the novel, I wondered whether there was just too much that happened in Norma's life to be believable, but while you are reading it, it feels real and the emotions displayed easily pull you into the story. No matter what, the author has bared the
internal lives of, especially, two people who are trying to find a stable relationship and be able to maintain it. That struggle is sometimes more than bearable, isn't it?!

Norma had just graduated and taken the bar exam, although she had not yet received the results when she applied at a large firm at which she had worked the previous summer. She and her boss at that time had developed a good working relationship and Norma was confident of being accepted there.

She was, but not as a lawyer...

Needing the money, Norma became "The Floater," a secretary who moved throughout the firm whenever and wherever she was needed.

She soon began to feel the humiliation and pressure routinely given to the support staff... and more...

While at the same time, Oscar shared a letter he had been given, that documented the intent of the firm to discriminate against her. Later, it was Oscar, after they had acknowledged how they felt about each other, that supported her in filing a discrimination charge against the company.

I loved the ending of this novel, showing what was really important in making decisions for the future. But I was amazed at the complexity of the lives revealed, for instance, as Oscar, a divorced man with two children he loved, tries to deal with his own family responsibilities while attempting to meet the needs of the woman he now loved. At the same time, if Norma was to move into any type of personal relationship, she had to confront her past demons, especially about intimacy, and work through all the pain and fear of the past and learn to trust.

This is a remarkable story in many ways, delving deeper into the internal lives of people than most books, while yet sending a message of potential growth and love even though it comes later in life. I enjoyed that frankness not with a peeking tom mentality, but rather from how much we learn that people, no matter what sex, age, race or profession all have the same emotional burdens that we seem to think can only happen to ourselves...

That leaves a very satisfactory feeling in closing the book, The Floater, by Sheryl Sorrentino...


A practicing attorney herself, Sheryl Sorrentino is the author of two previous Indie titles: Later With Myself: The Misadventures of Millie Moskowitz (a work of autobiographical fiction that tells the riveting story of the author's devastating pregnancy at age twelve), and An Unexpected Exile (which takes readers on a relentless, romantic ride with Risa, a 29-year-old Jewish fashion merchandiser, and Arturo, her charismatic Sandinista pursuer). Ms. Sorrentino is also an editor for California Continuing Education of the Bar's treatise series; a frequent contributor to the Alameda County Bar Association's Business Law Section newsletter; and a Goodreads Author and blogger. She lives in the California Bay Area with her husband and daughter.
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  1. I don't like reviews that just give you a blow-by-blow of the story. Kudos to Glenda for taking the time to give us an in-depth analysis of "The Floater." It's an awesome well-thought out review worthy of an awesome well-written book like "The Floater." Congrats to Glenda the reviewer and congrats to the novelist Sheryl Sorrentino! Get the book. It's a winner.

    1. I appreciate feedback, especially from someone who has also read the book! Since I do a lot of first books for indies that doesn't always happen. I am humbled by your words...and happy to have had a chance to read this book... Thanks so much for commenting...


  2. I agree! Glenda (whom I do not know personally) took the time to really delve into the messages this book delivers to readers who are open to receiving them. Her review is beautifully-written, thoughtful and deep. I cannot thank her enough for her sensitive and heartfelt comments. And thank you to the anonymous poster (above) for the endorsement!

  3. You're right Sheryl--there are few authors I would claim to know, even as a long-time fan--and normally I don't review those! I appreciate your taking the time to give me feedback; it is important to me that the author feels I have "got her message" in reading the book, and, especially in reviewing it. This book was soooo personal, that I found much to relate to, especially related to the hostile environment. I remember once sitting in a business setting hearing about my "big" boss' affair and learning that there were condoms found in her office by the support staff... This, I gather, was normal talk among men...but I sure wasn't interested! This world is NOT a nice place to work in these days...

    Please do keep writing relevant stories!
    Best, Glenda