Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Personal Finance Novel: A New Genre?

I was intrigued by the review of this book in Publisher's Weekly: The Penny Pinchers Club, by Sarah Strohmeyer.

Strohmeyer's bubbly farce finds a shopaholic New Jersey wife worried about hanging onto her husband and trying to curb her lavish lifestyle. Katarina "Kat" Griffiths, a 40-something interior designer, joins the eccentric supersavers of the Rocky River Penny Pinchers Club to get out of debt, put her daughter, Laura, through college and save her marriage to Emerly College economics professor Griff Griffiths....

[Strohmeyer] finds ample humor in her family-centric story and the list of Top 15 Dos and Don'ts from the Penny Pincher's Club is spot-on.

Who knows, with today's economic climate, maybe a lot of authors will start weaving helpful personal finance tips into their fiction!


SavingDiva said...

I think it would be a nice change compared to the books that show women spending irrational amounts of money with no consequences :)

Andy @ Retire at 40 said...

Heh, yeah, that'd be great if some of our collective frugal wisdom makes it into popular culture.

Frugal Scholar said...

I think the "personal finance" novel is a traditional genre. Much of Jane Austen's oeuvre hinges on money; ditto for Dickens (much on debt there); Trollope, and I could go on and on and on. And, aside from the novel, there's lots about money in Shakespeare.

There's little new in personal finance fundamentals: for a quick course in "Your Money or Your Life," you can read Ben Franklin's Autobiography.

And I haven't even mentioned children's books (Boxcar books, Blue Willow, Chair for My Mother). On and on.

Madame X said...

@ Frugal Scholar, I absolutely agree that money drives the plot of many, many novels. But in Austen and Dickens, etc. I think the pursuit of money is just a given, and characters getting into debt is seen as a moral failing that is somehow inevitable for that particular person. There is never anything particularly instructive about how to manage your money-- no one ever gets out of trouble by being frugal, it's always that the virtuous character marries well or gets an surprise inheritance! That doesn't count as the same kind of personal finance lesson that seems to be embodied in the book I posted about (though I haven't read it yet, so who knows if an inheritance or marriage saves the day there too, despite the penny pinching tips!)