Why I Wish I Wrote 'Whisper Network'
But not for the reasons you might think.
"If only you'd listened to us, none of this would have happened."
So begins Whisper Network, the debut novel by Chandler Baker, chosen as the July Book Selection for Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine Book Club.
Part murder mystery, part modern day allegory for the #metoo generation, Whisper Network takes on misogyny in the workplace, and demonstrates just how difficult it can be to recognize it—and then to fight it—until it's too late.
Telling the story of four women; Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and Katherine, navigating the ladder of a predominantly male corporate and legal world, Whisper Network is as much about the missteps and mistakes of the women as the men, and this authenticity is what gives the book its relatability, and ultimately, its power.
In 2017, seven years after transitioning from my career as a New York City corporate litigator, I was just starting my fourth novel, WHY WE LIE, a political thriller set in Washington DC. At that time, the #metoo movement was only just taking shape, and I noticed a conspicuous absence of voices of the women in the legal arena.
I knew why they were absent, of course. I had been in that world. I had tried to speak. I had been silenced. I knew the ramifications for women who butted up against that culture. It was neither pretty, nor fair. I wove what I believed to be a compelling #metoo theme into WHY WE LIE, and Publisher's Weekly agreed, featuring it in a piece entitled "Believe The Women." WHY WE LIE has become my attempt to inject my voice into this important conversation. But it took my being away from the big law corporate culture for nearly a decade to have the nerve to put it out there.
When Whisper Network hit the scene this summer, I devoured it, and recommended it, and yes, wished I had written it. It's a brilliant expose, imaginative tale, and believable debut. But those aren't the reasons I wish I'd written it. Chandler Baker is still a practicing attorney, and wrote this novel alongside her current and active practice. That sort of bravery is exactly what we need right now to power through modern times. I'm thrilled that she's become the hero we need right now.
I wish I had had her nerve.