Breathe In, Cash Out by Madeleine Henry

Breathe In, Cash Out cover

Breathe In, Cash Out by Madeleine Henry

I’m going to be honest- I wasn’t really sure I would like this book. Finance? Yoga? Neither of these subjects appealed to me in my day-to-day hospital-social-worker-meets-bookstagrammer-meets-new-mom self. I love self-care, but I suck at yoga and always have. Plus, after cancelling my Money magazine subscription after a snoozy 6 months, I wasn’t really looking for a finance read, either.

That being said…I’m glad I gave this book a shot, and you should, too.

Allegra is a 2nd year financial analyst, working herself to the bone. She plans to quit after the year’s bonuses come out, so that she can become a yoga instructor. She is spellbound by a famous Instagrammer yogi, Skylar (what other name could she have, really?) who agrees to mentor her towards yogi greatness.

As Allegra starts to take Skylar’s advice and continues to devote every waking moment to advancing her financial projects on little more than black coffee (I got heartburn just reading about it!). Will she push through and make it to her goal? Will she overcome both the personal and professional obstacles thrown at her?

My takeaways:

  •  I thought the dialogue was very funny (if you’re not into swearing or talking about sex…might want to stay clear!)
  • I was pleasantly delighted to learn about the world of finance! As I said earlier, I didn’t think I was interested in this life and what it entails when I started reading, but after you see Allegra push herself so hard, you start to see why she is motivated to work herself so hard. I thought this was very well explained in the context of the existing fictional conflict. 
  • I thought the ending had such an unexpected, gentle lift after so many pages of heart-pounding manic New York stress- I am not ashamed to say I even got a little teary-eyed?

I really rooted for Allegra throughout this book. She brought me back to my younger 20’s, when I would just work, work, work, and work some more (also living on cups of black coffee). To this day, my heart still jumps a little when I see a “Now Hiring” sign in my neighborhood- that’s how mentally brainwashed I was to always think about taking on a second, or even third job at all times. Sure you would lose sleep and mental health, but think about the money! You’re young, you can do it right?

Presumably, on the “other side” (whenever that is) there will be rewards, and a time when you can not only be financial comfortable, but you can also be yourself. Hopefully along that path, you find not just the job, but the people who will love and support who you are.

Bottom line: If you are looking for a light, flirty, engaging summer read, and if you have any curiosity whatsoever about what working in finance in NYC looks like, definitely pick this one up! I also recommend this for fans of Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza.



Image result for Bookends and Beginnings

Evanston’s Bookends and Beginnings will be hosting Ms. Henry on July 18th!

More information here.


Source: I was sent a free copy by Atria Books!

Further Reading:

  • Author’s Instagram page
  • Author interview with the NY Post
  • Article written by the author via Salon regarding the Goldman Sachs “relaxed dress code” initiative (fascinating!)

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