OverviewGrowing up in the snowblower society of Buffalo, New York, Laura Pedersen's first words were most likely "turn the wheel into a skid." Like many families subsisting in the frigid North during the energy crisis, the Pedersens feared rising prices at the gas pump, argued about the thermostat, fought over the dog to stay warm at night, and often slept in their clothes. While her parents were preoccupied with surviving separation and stagflation, daughter Laura became the neighborhood wild child, skipping school, playing poker, betting on the horses, and trading stocks. Learning how to beat the odds, by high school graduation Pedersen was well prepared to seek her fortune on Wall Street, becoming the youngest person to have a seat on the American Stock Exchange and a millionaire by age 21. Combining laugh-out-loud humor with a slice of social history-her hometown was a flash point for race riots, antiwar protests, and abortion rallies, not to mention bingo, bowling, and Friday night fish fries-Pedersen paints a vivid portrait of an era.
ReviewsReview Amherst Bee - September 24, 2008Award-winning author and Amherst native Laura Pedersen's new memoir, "Buffalo Gal," is a humorous view of growing up in Western New York in the 1970s and 1980s.The book is scheduled for release in early October.Pedersen, a graduate of Sweet Home High School, left the area in 1983 for New York, where she became the youngest person to have a seat on the American Stock Exchange. She also was a millionnaire by age 22.She has written six novels and a bestselling account of her time at the American Stock Exchange, "Play Money," and she's been a contributor to the New York Times.This book is a chronicle of Pedersen's life adventures, describing her family life, school experience and her intense and successful Wall Street career.Although she lives in New York, Pedersen says she has an unwavering love for her hometown and it has had a profound influence on her life."I left Buffalo after high school graduation," she said. "The economy just wasn't very good at the time, and they didn't have a Buffalo Stock Exchange."
Review Printed Page - October 8, 2008Admittedly I had no idea what to expect when starting this book. Her wicked, sarcastic, dry, self-deprecating sense of humor won me over and I absolutely loved it start to finish. Her descriptions of life in Buffalo had me picturing those poor children dressed to the nines as 'The Michelin Man' in miniature in the frigid winters. I remember the days of my mother stringing my mittens through coat shelves so that both were sure to make it home.Though I had seen her name and recognized it from another of her books, The Big Shuffle, I'd never read any of her writing before receiving Buffalo Gal. Rest assured this will not be the last of her work I read. While there is a underlying seriousness at times, in the sections where she writes about Buffalo dying out as a prosperous city, for the most part this book had me in stitches and laughing along with her. She covers her life from elementary through high school and all the years in between. While we grew up across the country from each other we're within 4 years of age, me being older. Her cultural references, societal happenings and childhood upbringing brought me back to my childhood. Though I didn't have the pleasure of being an only child ~ I had an older brother, by six years, to contend with.I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book. My only regret ~ that I haven't read more of her work before now. You can be sure I'll be downloading Play Money to my Kindle before leaving on vacation. I want to know how she made her million and secured a seat on the stock exchange before the age of 21.