★★★★ Marie has lived her life with one important rule: never take “no” for an answer. Growing up in a low-income household, she was exposed to many of the harsh realities of life, even once witnessing a friend carve her initials into another girl’s forehead as punishment for a gang-related dispute. But rather than resign herself to a less-than-satisfying life, Marie chose to step up and show the world that she was headed somewhere big. After becoming involved with fitness and aerobics in high school, she was asked to interview with an acting and modeling agency out West – this was going to be her ticket to a better life. And then, tragedy struck. Marie and her boyfriend were in a motorcycle accident and, after a disfiguring leg surgery, Marie was passed over for work at the modeling agency. So Marie decided to work her way up in the business field, eventually heading to work for her future husband. The couple had a rocky start (Marie could barely stand the man when they first met), but soon fell in love. Soon after, Marie’s life began to change; she felt herself being relegated to the sidelines as a trophy wife, and her husband gradually became more and more suspicious about her spending habits, though they had plenty of money. After acknowledging how unhappy Marie’s marriage was making her, she remembered her rule – don’t accept “no” – and sought out to seek her “yes.”
From Barefoot to Stilettos is both entertaining and well written, and offers an intriguing look at social issues like socioeconomic status, public image, and gender roles. For years, Marie was held back by a husband who wanted her to stay at home when she knew she’d truly be happy in the workplace. Not to mention that she also faced opposition from her husband’s acid-tongued mother, his friends – and especially their gossipy wives – and coworkers. While this memoir will certainly appeal to women with similar experiences, it’s also of special interest to anyone looking for an up-close examination of modern society’s issues and shortcomings.
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