For those who enjoy City gossip – and are fluent in banking or stockbroker lingo – Playing FTSE might be enjoyable as a cautionary tale about the perils of mixing of business and pleasure.
This is the somewhat predictable story of Melanie, a young woman working hard to gain credits in the banking world and doing her best to be taken seriously for her brain, rather than her body: a seemingly simple, but obviously unrealistic, goal. Jenny, her colleague, alter-ego and potential BF, has fewer moral ambitions – or, indeed, scruples. She is a comic foil to Melanie – and a comic relief to the reader – spoiling her with office gossip and reports of lurid sex; these turn out to be a blueprint for our heroine, who goes from promising intern to unfettered whore, to emotional wreck and, eventually, to recovering victim. A story of multiple affairs, misogyny and sadomasochism, Penelope Jacobs’ debut novel ends a little too abruptly with just not quite enough resolution.
A slow first half (where the author is setting the scene) gives way to a more dramatic – and even farcical – second: here the pace picks up and starts to entertain. Despite finding the narrative a bit patchy, with a confusing cast of characters (requiring this reader to keep backtracking for a quick ‘who’s who’), it’s here that I began to enjoy Playing FTSE.
Playing FTSE, Penelope Jacobs, 263 pp, Available on Amazon, Kindle Edition: £2.99 Paperback Edition £9.99 https://goo.gl/1M9LOq