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I Am Charlotte Simmons: A Novel by Tom Wolfe
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I Am Charlotte Simmons: A Novel (2004)

by Tom Wolfe

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
Tom Wolfe rides again! The author never fails to get my attention, but he doesn't always succeed in keeping it. "Bonfire of the Vanities" for one, I felt, was awful. So If I like "Charlotte Simmons," I'll finish the book. If I don't, I'll drop it in the donation box at one of the local libraries. My personal jury remains cloistered for now.
  NathanielPoe | Apr 12, 2019 |
there were parts of this that i enjoyed and that went relatively quickly, but overall it was pretty slow reading and not all that engaging. sometimes it read accurately, and sometimes it read like an old guy estimating the college experience in an era that he didn't understand. charlotte often behaved inexplicably, or at least i didn't believe the motivation he gave her character, after setting her up the way he did early on. but sometimes he'd get something that seemed so familiar to my experience or reminded me of my time in college (about 10 years before he was writing this), and it would seem so authentic.

it took too long to read (was probably overlong by at least a few hundred pages) and didn't always hit the mark, but sometimes did. mixed feelings about this one. ( )
1 vote overlycriticalelisa | May 27, 2018 |
Another book lent to me by my friend Ford, this one gave me the same trepidation about university in general as [b:The Swimming-Pool Library|30106|The Swimming-Pool Library|Alan Hollinghurst|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1388450054s/30106.jpg|2776591] did about the snobs I'd meet at Oxford. This idea that I'd go to an academic institution hoping for Anne Shirley style "kindred spirits" was rather dashed by the cynical portrayal of not only of the garden variety frat boys, but also the Neo-Marxist "Nice Guys" you might naively believe are worth the time. It was true to an extent too. The majority of my peer-group I had nothing in common with, and while after a year I'd found lovely people to spend my time with, which I think is a pretty standard trajectory for students, there is far greater accuracy in this novel than what I've seen in the other attempts to "shockingly" portray modern undergraduate lifestyles. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
smart Freshman at Dupont Univ. — a way with words fuck patois, shirt patois

Our story unfolds at fictional Dupont University: those Olympian halls of scholarship housing the cream of America's youth, the roseate Gothic spires and manicured lawns suffused with tradition . . . Or so it appears to beautiful, brilliant Charlotte Simmons, a sheltered freshman from North Carolina. But Charlotte soon learns, to her mounting dismay, that for the upper-crust coeds of Dupont, sex, cool, and kegs trump academic achievement every time.
  christinejoseph | Sep 24, 2016 |
I am caught in a place where the books I chose to read are stupid and silly. I can't believe I made an author mistake. Thomas Wolfe vs Tom Wolfe. My age is showing. This book was written a girl in late teens. I hated it. ( )
  page520 | Sep 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
A failure it is: bloated, schematic, heavy-handed, and, it must be said, boring; impotent in its attempts to suggest a lived reality... and, oddest of all, flaccid as social satire.
 
It would be logical to speculate on the psychological connections between the refined 73-year-old author of this strikingly out-of-touch bildungsroman (college kids get drunk! They hook up!) and a bright, well-read, exceedingly pretty, and preposterously dainty fictional lass who is regularly shocked by every cussword she hears uttered by the more affluent boors who share the groves of academe with her.
 
At fictional Dupont University, every guy wants to be thought a "player" (or, as Wolfe spells it, "playa"), and nearly all the undergraduate women hope to be no better than sluts. Behind those ivied walls, our daughters gladly squirm out of their low-cut jeans to rut with shameless abandon, while our sons treat their one-night stands as conquests and whores.
 
Charlotte came to Dupont not for sex but to learn. Like Harvard, Dupontis harder to get into than to stay at, but Charlotte has trouble with her grades. Her shame over sex gets in the way of the exercise of her mind. Somehow the two must be brought into harmony in what Mr. Wolfe calls her soul. She takes courses, however, in biology and neuroscience in which the professor speaks only of "the soul," in dismissive quotation marks. Perhapsthis is why our universities and our society are unable to identifymanliness or see how women and men relate to it. Manliness is a form ofunreason that science tries to explain away, and it takes a novelist to seethe reason in the unreason of manliness.
 
The problem isn't really the inclusion of so many cliché characters; sadly, there are plenty of real students who fall into these categories. What's galling about this novel is its persistent lack of nuance, its reduction of the whole spectrum of people on a college campus to these garish primary colors.
 

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wolfe, Tomprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jukarainen, ErkkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Every time the men's-room door opened, the amped-up-onslaught of Swarm, the band banging out the concert in the theater overhead, came crashing in, ricocheting off all the mirrors and ceramic surfaces until it seemed twice as loud. (Prologue)
Alleghany County is perched so high up in the hills of western North Carolina that golfers intrepid enough to go up there to play golf call it mountain golf.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312424442, Paperback)

Amazon.com Exclusive Content


Product Description: Dupont University--the Olympian halls of learning housing the cream of America's youth, the roseate Gothic spires and manicured lawns suffused with tradition... Or so it appears to beautiful, brilliant Charlotte Simmons, a sheltered freshman from North Carolina. But Charlotte soon learns, to her mounting dismay, that for the uppercrust coeds of Dupont, sex, Cool, and kegs trump academic achievement every time.

As Charlotte encounters Dupont's privileged elite--her roommate, Beverly, a Groton-educated Brahmin in lusty pursuit of lacrosse players; Jojo Johanssen, the only white starting player on Dupont's godlike basketball team, whose position is threatened by a hotshot black freshman from the projects; the Young Turk of Saint Ray fraternity, Hoyt Thorpe, whose heady sense of entitlement and social domination is clinched by his accidental brawl with a bodyguard for the governor of California; and Adam Geller, one of the Millennial Mutants who run the university's "independent" newspaper and who consider themselves the last bastion of intellectual endeavor on the sex-crazed, jock-obsessed campus--she gains a new, revelatory sense of her own power, that of her difference and of her very innocence, but little does she realize that she will act as a catalyst in all of their lives. With his signature eye for detail, Tom Wolfe draws on extensive observation of campuses across the country to immortalize college life in the '00s. I Am Charlotte Simmons is the much-anticipated triumph of America's master chronicler.

Tom Wolfe Talks About I Am Charlotte Simmons
In I Am Charlotte Simmons, Tom Wolfe masterfully chronicles college sports, fraternities, keggers, coeds, and sex--all through the eyes of the titular Simmons, a bright and beautiful freshman at the fictional Dupont University. Listen to an Amazon.com exclusive audio clip of Wolfe talking about his new novel.

Listen to Tom Wolfe Talk About I Am Charlotte Simmons



Tom Wolfe Timeline

1931: Thomas Kennerly Wolfe, Jr. born in Richmond, VA, on March 2. Wolfe later attends Washington and Lee University (BA, English, 1951), and Yale University (Ph.D., American Studies, 1957).

1956: Wolfe begins working as a reporter in Springfield, MA, Washington, D.C., then finally New York City, writing feature articles for major newspapers, as well as New York and Esquire magazines. Not satisfied with the conventions of newspaper reporting at the time, Wolfe experiments with using the techniques of fiction writing in his news articles. Wolfe's newspaper career spans a decade.

1963: After being sent by Esquire to research a story about the custom car world in Southern California, Wolfe returns to New York with ideas, but no article. Upon telling his editor he cannot write it, the editor suggests he send his notes and someone else will. Wolfe stays up all night, types 49 pages, and turns it in the next morning. Later that day, the editor calls to tell Wolfe they are cutting the salutation off the top of the memorandum, printing the rest as-is. Thus, New Journalism was arguably born, whereby writing and storytelling techniques previously utilized only in fiction were radically applied to nonfiction. Straight reporting pieces now were free to include: the author's perceptions and experience, shifting perspectives, the use of jargon and slang, the reconstruction of events and conversations.

1965: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux publish Wolfe's first collection of nonfiction stories displaying his newfound reporting techniques: The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. The book cements Wolfe's place as a prominent stylist of the New Journalism movement.

1968: The Pump House Gang and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (No. 91 on National Review's 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century) publish on the same day, and together provide an up-close portrait and exploration of the hippie culture of the 1960s (by following the novelist Ken Kesey and his entourage of LSD enthusiasts), and the cultural change occurring at a seminal point in U.S. social history.

1970: Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers is published. This collection underscores racial divide in America, including an am using story about the socialites of New York City seeking out black liberation groups as guests, focusing on the conductor Leonard Bernstein's party with the Black Panthers in attendance at his Park Avenue duplex. (No. 35 on National Review's 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century .)

1976: Wolfe labels the 1970s "The Me Decade" in his collection of essays, Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine. Wolfe illustrates the bookthroughout.

1979: The Right Stuff is published. Depicting the status, structure, exploits, and ethics of daredevil pilots at the forefront of rocket and aircraft technology, as well as the beginnings of the space program and the pioneering NASA astronauts who were the first Americans to land on the moon, the book receives the National Book Award in 1980. An Academy Award-winning film is made from the book in 1983.

1987: With publication of his first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities--serialized in Rolling Stone magazine--Wolfe pens one of the bestselling and definitive novels of the 1980s, continuing his social criticism and ability to capture the lives and preoccupations of Americans, one generation at a time. Wolfe receives a record $5 million for movie rights to the novel and, despite the success of the book, the film fails at the box office.

1998: A Man in Full, Wolfe's second novel, is published to mixed criticism, yet garners favor as a 1998 National Book Award Finalist. Here, Wolfe aims his sights on the Atlanta, GA, elite, trophy wives, and real estate developers, continuing to comment on racial issues and the chasm in socioeconomic status in America.

2000: Hooking Up, a collection of essays, reviews, profiles, and the novella, Ambush at Fort Bragg, is published.

2004: On November 9, Wolfe's third novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons, set at the fictional Dupont University, is published.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:05 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

At Dupont University, an innocent college freshman named Charlotte Simmons learns that her intellect alone will not help her survive.

» see all 5 descriptions

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