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I Am Charlotte Simmons Hardcover – 2004

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Hardcover, 2004
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The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (2004)
  • ISBN-10: 0002005913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002005913
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,302,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ken Breadner on Sept. 8 2005
Format: Hardcover
This was my first foray into Wolfe, and I'm intrigued enough to read more of his work.
I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS is not without its flaws, and some of them are fairly glaring. For one thing, Wolfe could easily have shed 150-200 pages off the total page count. Charlotte's ruminations as events progress start to repeat and repeat and repeat...we get it already, Tom! The girl wants to be "cool"!
Other reviewers have questioned Wolfe's vernacular, which I think is missing the point in a social satire. Kids (and these are very much kids) may not say these exact phrases at your alma mater today, but that doesn't mean they aren't saying them elsewhere or that the meaning's in any way unclear. I can tell you from experience that the "F--k Patois" is universal.
The other not-necessarily-terrible-but-still-disconcerting thing is that Wolfe's plot meanders hither and yon: it's there, but this book is largely a collection of scenes rather than a flowing work. Minor nitpick: my God, this guy uses more italics than Cosmopolitan.
The good things about this novel are many, and largely offset the bad. The last point first: what scenes! They ooze reality and dramatic tension, and some of them are laugh-out-loud funny.
I found myself rooting for different characters throughout the novel (my interest in Charlotte deteriorated as her angst increased). Some of the lesser lights are very well drawn. I thought Jojo and Adam were particularly well crafted. Wolfe's also got a real turn of phrase. Most importantly, he's managed to nail down a piece of collegiate darkness and shove it out into the light for us to see...and any reader saying things can't be THAT bad is fooling himself.)
In short, I enjoyed this read almost in spite of myself.
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By L. YIP on April 5 2008
Format: Paperback
For a few short days, I found myself immersed in the world of Charlotte Simmons, which was akin to remembering my uni days, except focused and accented through a fun-house mirror. OBVIOUSLY, characters are drawn in gross parody, but it is a fine distillation of the most fundamental weaknesses. All the seven sins are on display for our delectation: Charlotte's screaming Pride, collegial Lust dripping from the pages, Envy purposefully courted, Greed (and beer) overflowing, intellectual Sloth, and academic Wrath. And while Charlotte's interior world can and does become tiresome reading, with its relentless self-focus, so too can be the self-talk of any real 18 y.o., particularly in the hothouse social atmosphere of college.

Wolfe's uses of the more colourful phrases are, I find, purposefully over-used, which turns their power in upon themselves. Sooner or later, the senses stop reeling, which is what all users of F*ck Patois learn when they finally discover that the words have lost all meaning. Wolfe draws a fine sketch of a stuttering, intellectual wreck when this happens.

In the end, "I am Charlotte Simmons" is a highly enjoyable read that delivers sometimes-uncomfortable, sometimes-hysterically funny insights that pack the wallop of a morality play. Should be on every frosh's reading list.
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Format: Hardcover
I devoured Wolfe's "I Am Charlotte Simmons" in just two days. I loved the realism and starkness of many of the situations presented in this book; much of it was painful, and true to the emotions of several college students. I didn't really feel great sympathy or affection totally towards any of the characters in this book - and this is a good thing. It contributed to the book's realism.

I liked Charlotte overall, even though I winced at her high and mighty attitude and her growing angst. I also found her a bit unconvincing at just how innocent and easily shocked she was supposed to be, although I have no knowledge of the goings on in Sparta, where she is from; I just found it a bit hard to swallow that she was so shocked by bad language, didn't know what slang words for sexual acts meant, and that she had never seen an issue of Cosmopolitan. I think I liked Jojo the best at the end of the novel, even though he was one of my least favorites in the beginning. I enjoyed learning new things in some of Wolfe's passages, like in Charlotte's classes. Overall, the characters were well drawn up, and Wolfe succeeds in creating a voyeuristic satire on contemporary college life.

There were a few things about the book I found frustrating. One of them was Wolfe's need to explain to the reader what everything was. for example, he explains in great detail "F--k Patois" and thus describes uneccesarily how the words "F--k" and "s--t" are used today. He gives us definitions of slang, and when slang is used, he points it out, its origins, and what it means. I could be missing something and this could be part of the satirical aspect of the book, but to me it gave the book a certain innaccuracy.
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By mary on Feb. 7 2006
Format: Paperback
once again tom wolfe focuses his gimlet eye to provide another commentary on contemporary american society. this time he explores student life,specifically the life of one student, on the campus of a large,prestigious american this institution,albeit fictional, the characters, situations and events ebb, flow and meld to create one of the most thought-provoking pieces of fiction i have read in a long time. my university days are fond memories (for the most part) but i found myself considering"charlotte" from a collegiate perspective.i do not think that mr. wolfe has exaggerated much in this work (indeed, i am frequently treated to outbursts of "f- patois" when i visit a mall) and if readers are alarmed by some of the situations, so much the better. excessive drinking, drug use and profligate, casual sex ARE alarming and deserve exposure and examination, particularly when they are occurring in a milieu that is purportedly dedicated to the development of educated, well-rounded young people. hats off to mr. wolfe for having the fortitude to write this book. a must-read for anyone who values education,good writing and honest discussion.
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