Stumpf, Doug

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Stumpf, Doug

PERSONAL:

Male.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New York, NY.

CAREER:

Writer, editor. Vanity Fair, New York, NY, deputy editor.

WRITINGS:

(With Greg Waggoner) From Baby to Bikini: Keep Your Midsection Toned Safely during Pregnancy and Flatten Your Abdominals Fast after You Have Your Baby, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy (novel), HarperCollins Publishers (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

New York-based writer and editor Doug Stumpf is best known as the deputy editor of Vanity Fair magazine. Stumpf's first novel, Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy, takes a fictional look at the world of financial trading on Wall Street. The story revolves around Medved, Morningstar and Bigelow, a trading firm that serves as an amalgamation of several actual Wall Street companies, and is told through the eyes of Aguilar Benicio, or Gil, a young Brazilian-American, the first generation in his family to be born in the United States, and Greg Waggoner, a young newspaper reporter who is fascinated with outsiders and individuals who take on the system and persevere. Gil and his family have struggled financially, and Gil was forced to leave high school early in order to try and help support them, a task he accomplished by taking a position at a shoeshine company. He meets Greg and the two become friends, but when Gil shifts to a job shining shoes at a Wall Street firm, and Greg gets a new job for Glossy magazine (a thinly veiled version of Vanity Fair), the friends see less of each other. That is, until Gil finds himself with a bit of scandal to share. His cousin, a janitor working at Medved, Morningstar and Bigelow, gets fired after he spots a trader on his cell phone in a closet—cell phones being prohibited to prevent insider trading. Greg sets off to investigate the firm for insider trading, anticipating a huge story, but Gil is more concerned with helping Eddie get his job back, and therefore approaches one of the partners with the insider-trading suspicions. What results is a complex puzzle of blackmail and accusations, woven between glimpses of the characters' personal lives. Gil and Greg end up working together in an attempt to get Eddie's job back, but also to save Greg's, as his reputation is suddenly on the line.

In a review for Forbes Online, Anna Vander Broek praised the book overall, stating: "Stumpf capably reels in the reader so that we are (almost) holding our breath as we anxiously follow our now beloved friends Gil and Greg." She went on to remark: "Stumpf brings the reader into the shadows of Wall Street's lies, bribery, blackmail, sex and greed. As he throws us back into the sunlight, we wonder if the industry has any other traits. However, the voyeur in all of us cannot resist turning the next page to discover who did what with whom." John Leland, in a contribution for the New York Times Book Review, commented that, despite the outward story, the book seems to strive to be a "tale of ethnic assimilation and dissimilation that pokes at the novel's edges without quite coming together. Gil wants to be American, like the traders, but to keep his Brazilian values."

The attraction of the book to many readers, however, is the link to the real-life profile Vanity Fair did several years earlier of financier Jeff Epstein, who seems to have served as the model for Stumpf's insider-trading character. Stumpf, however, in an interview with Andre Mayer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Web site, insists that Epstein provided only a sliver of the inspiration for his character. He remarked: "The way that most of those characters were invented is that there's a real shoeshine boy, and I've known him for eleven years, and we worked on this project for four years. He would tell me every time a real person behaved like a jerk to him; those stories were collected. I never had any idea who he was talking about. But I just put all those stories in one pot, and that's how the bad guy was created."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 2007, Marta Segal Block, review of Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy, p. 35.

Books, June 2, 2007, Kristin Kloberdanz, review of Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy, p. 9.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2007, review of Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy.

New Yorker, July 23, 2007, review of Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy, p. 79.

New York Times Book Review, July 8, 2007, John Leland, "The Devil Wears Florsheim," p. 26.

Publishers Weekly, May 7, 2007, review of Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy, p. 40.

ONLINE

AV Club,http://www.avclub.com/ (September 6, 2007), Noel Murray, review of Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Web site,http://www.cbc.ca/ (December 5, 2007), Andre Mayer, "Money Talks."

Denver Post Online,http://www.denverpost.com/ (September 14, 2007), John Freeman, "He Shines Shoes, and He Misses Nothing."

Forbes Online,http://www.forbes.com/ (July 17, 2007), Anna Vander Broek, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond."

Metro West Daily News Online, (Framingham, MA), http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/ (August 12, 2007), Dinesh Ramde, review of Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy.

Report on Business,http://www.reportonbusiness.com/ (September 27, 2007), Ted Mumford, review of Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy.

Reuters Online,http://www.reuters.com/ (July 21, 2007), Christian Plumb, "Business Books: Shoeshine Boy Dishes Wall Street Dirt."

Rocky Mountain News Online,http://www.rockymountainnews.com/ (December 5, 2007), author profile.

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