5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book but...........
Why do Americans have to go through this horrible class distinction? I loved the book, well-written, exciting, satirical etc. but can't get my head around this university thing in the USA. I went to university in England in the late 60s/early 70s and there was none of this weird class distinction. And people say English people are more class-conscious than Americans...
Published 22 months ago by julov
3.0 out of 5 stars I Am Charlotte Simmons
Maybe it was just me, but I didn't particularly like this book. I didn't read too far into the book before I gave up, so maybe it gets better as you go along. It really is exactly as described and the part I DID read was mostly about sex among college students and how Charlotte Simmons handles it (the realization that most of the students are having sex). So, as far as...
Published 7 months ago by Joann Bidgood
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3.0 out of 5 stars I Am Charlotte Simmons,
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Maybe it was just me, but I didn't particularly like this book. I didn't read too far into the book before I gave up, so maybe it gets better as you go along. It really is exactly as described and the part I DID read was mostly about sex among college students and how Charlotte Simmons handles it (the realization that most of the students are having sex). So, as far as the writing goes, it's good. I just got bored reading about university students and their sexual habits. Others might enjoy it more that I did, it was the subject matter more than the way the author wrote.
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing,
I had heard such good things about this book and was anxious to read it. In fact, the first part of the book was actually very interesting and I could see tremendous potential...BUT...Tom Wolfe's attempt at "appropriating" the voice of a female freshman at college was laughable at best and horribly stereotypical and shallow at worst. As a female, I was honestly insulted by the insinuations and stereotypes rampant in the novel. There was nothing redeeming about this book and in the end, I was just glad it was over (I have to finish what I start; I suppose I was hoping it would end on a higher note than it did). If this book is actually indicative of the mindset of university-aged students in the U.S., that is a very sad commentary on society.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book but...........,
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Why do Americans have to go through this horrible class distinction? I loved the book, well-written, exciting, satirical etc. but can't get my head around this university thing in the USA. I went to university in England in the late 60s/early 70s and there was none of this weird class distinction. And people say English people are more class-conscious than Americans!!! Well, well, this is a great book but I despair of American society.
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read,
This book is very well written. The characters depicted and the nature of the setting succinctly captures college campus life where there is sex, rivalries, friendship, peer pressure, identity search, some education and sports. This highly entertaining book by a remarkable writer should be treated seriously. Also recommended: The USURPER AND OTHER STORIES, NIGHT FALL
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable,
An extremely enjoyabe novel if not earth shattering. Familiar territory, but still interesting and well written. Somewhat similar to the voice used in My Fractured Life, Story of My Life, and Prep. A fairly fast read and highly stimulating.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven,
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Satiric genius,
This review is from: I Am Charlotte Simmons (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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall, a very worthwhile read, despite a few tragic flaws,
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. I found there to be way too much 'lingo' in the book, some of it accurate, some of it sounding weird or dated, but maybe that's just my taste.
The ending also bothered me. Throughout the book Wolfe is so attentive to details, and the end is like "and then a month later, this is what's going on. The end." We read how Charlotte's emotional issues are resolved, but we don't know how she ended up being (_____'s) girlfriend. It seemed uneven and tacked on compared to the rest of the rich book.
overall I really liked the book. I was particularly impressed at Wolfe's ability to capture the feelings of an 18 year old girl. I recommend it.
4.0 out of 5 stars an evocative read,
This review is from: I Am Charlotte Simmons (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 university.at 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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Knocked my zocks off!,
Like many other big books I've taken on lately (JONATHAN STRANGE and the every-popular BARK OF THE DOGWOOD), this one was not only well thought out, but has brilliant characterizations and plot. As I write this I have not finished reading the novel yet I can already tell that it should be the novel of the decade. When I was at Rice University in the 1970s things were not as bad as they are at Charlotte's fictional (and current) DuPont, but you could see the present day coming. Humans have difficulty achieving balance, and therefore it only stands to reason that once banality becomes acceptable it will be pursued to its logical end. "I Am Charlotte Simmons" makes it pretty clear that the logical end of our banal culture is not far off, and it makes you wonder what the aftermath will be like. "I Am Charlotte Simmons" is not just a scathing attack on collegiate culture, but on broader American culture as well (after all the super hoops players in the novel have FANS), and must rank alongside the great Billy Wilder Films "Sunset Boulevard" and "The Big Carnival" as a a cultural critique. Must also recommend the books CHLDREN'S CORNER by McCrae, LIFE OF PI, and the very funny DRESS YOUR FAMILY by Sedaris. All are great, and these last ones are much shorter. If you're a big fan of books (like I am) you'll enjoyed this different selection.
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I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe (Paperback - Sept. 15 2005)
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