The Book

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Long ago, and not entirely consciously, Liz Perle made a quiet contract with cash: she would do what it took to get it — work hard, marry right — but she didn’t want to have to think about it too much. The subject of money had, since childhood, been quietly sidestepped, a shadowy factor whose private influence it was impolite to discuss. This deliberate denial eventually exacted its price, however, when a sudden divorce left Perle with no home, no job, a four-year-old, and a box of toys. She realized she could no longer afford to leave her murky and fraught relationship with money unexamined.

What Perle discovered as she reassembled her life was that almost every woman she knew also subscribed to this strange and emotional code of discretion — even though it laced through their relationships with their parents, lovers, husbands, children, friends, coworkers, and communities. Women who were all too willing to tell each other about their deepest secrets or sexual assets still kept mum when it came to their financial ones.

In Money, A Memoir, Perle attempts to break this silence, adding her own story to the anecdotes and insights of psychologists, researchers, and more than two hundred “ordinary” women. It turned out that when money was the topic, most women needed permission to talk. When she confessed her fears and idiosyncrasies to other women, Perle found, theirs came tumbling out as well. The result is an insightful, unflinching look at the at once subtle and commanding influence of money on our every relationship.


Henry Holt and Company
January 2006
hardcover / 288 pages
ISBN: 0-8050-7712-X