books I am Charlotte Simmons – Z55z.co

Tom Wolfe, the master social novelist of our time, the spot on chronicler of all things contemporary and cultural, presents a sensational new novel about life, love, and learning or the lack of it amid today s American collegesOur 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 timeAs Charlotte encounters the paragons of 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 is seduced by the heady glamour of acceptance, betraying both her values and upbringing before she grasps the power of being different and the exotic allure of her own innocenceWith his trademark satirical wit and famously sharp eye for telling detail, Wolfe s I Am Charlotte Simmons draws on extensive observations at campuses across the country to immortalize the early st century college going experience


10 thoughts on “I am Charlotte Simmons

  1. Chad Wemyss Chad Wemyss says:

    I am Tom Wolfe and therefore I can write whatever I want And people will still buy my over long, thinly developed, poorly constructed tirade against kids these days It s called a stereotype, Tom You should probably avoid making all your characters painfully simple cardboard cutouts of actual people And I m pretty sure I ve seen all of these before, in EVERY movie and book about college ever produced.To inventory The main protagonist, the archetypical smart girl who s better looki I am Tom Wolfe and therefore I can write whatever I want And people will still buy my over long, thinly developed, poorly constructed tirade against kids these days It s called a stereotype, Tom You should probably avoid making all your characters painfully simple cardboard cutouts of actual people And I m pretty sure I ve seen all of these before, in EVERY movie and book about college ever produced.To inventory The main protagonist, the archetypical smart girl who s better looking than she realizes The big dumb jock who s smarter than he realizes The beautiful but evil roommate The nerdy reporter for the school paper The obnoxious, privileged frat boy And a whole host of minor supporting characters as the secretary from Ferris Bueller put it, a cast of sportos, motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, and d ckheads Along with rednecks, the new england rich, and a smattering of other cellophane thin stereotypes.This book isn t quite satire, it isn t quite commentary, isn t remotely insightful, but it is awfully long It has that going for it


  2. La Petite Américaine La Petite Américaine says:

    Sigh.771 pages Talking about college How college is shocking for sheltered girls How college shocker isn t really about academia, but sports, beer, sex, and pretty much everything that the university brochures lie about in order to protect their reputations and continue charging 30,000 a year for an education This could be written by ANYONE, and in less than HALF the pages.When a book is bad, and too long, there is a certain point in reading the same shit over and over when your mind ju Sigh.771 pages Talking about college How college is shocking for sheltered girls How college shocker isn t really about academia, but sports, beer, sex, and pretty much everything that the university brochures lie about in order to protect their reputations and continue charging 30,000 a year for an education This could be written by ANYONE, and in less than HALF the pages.When a book is bad, and too long, there is a certain point in reading the same shit over and over when your mind just screams SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP This happened to me about half way through when I got sick of even the most random characters who appear only once in the story, having their entire family histories mapped out for the reader since the 1800 s Filler Some sort of psychological explanation of the character NO BORING EDITOR WHERE ARE YOU CUT THIS SHIT Also, we don t need every single regional accent spelled out for us Charlotte is from the South We don t need to be reminded after the says get that she pronounces it git We don t need to be told that a dude from Brooklyn says what do you want and then have it rewritten again after the quote as whaddaya want Fuck me If that wasn t enough, can we stop this shit of shooting looks that are as if to say He shot her a look as if to say fuck you, she shot him a look as if to say I hate you, etc UGH Granted, this book did get the Bad Sex Award in 2003 But since it doesn t even happen until page 2394875485723847, it s not just BAD, it s boring How anyone managed to FIND this bad sex without skimming over it or simply falling asleep is completely beyond me I m shocked that this didn t get the Bad Book Award of 2003 If you want a good, engaging, and true to life story about a fish out of water in her academic environment, read Curtis Sittenfeld s novel Prep Use I am Charlotte Simmons only for expensive toilet paper or to stop a bullet Sucked


  3. Andrea Andrea says:

    Yawn or cringe Eye roll So imagine your grandpa takes you out to the Dog n Suds for a root beer float He goes on to tell you about what life was like at college not for him but for you He sprinkles in terms like phat and shorty and rad and rutting throughout his tale Grandpa has been dipping into the Dictionary of American Youth Slang written by the Youth Minister at his church, who has covered the volume in a plain black cover lest it fall into the hands of the few blessed innoc Yawn or cringe Eye roll So imagine your grandpa takes you out to the Dog n Suds for a root beer float He goes on to tell you about what life was like at college not for him but for you He sprinkles in terms like phat and shorty and rad and rutting throughout his tale Grandpa has been dipping into the Dictionary of American Youth Slang written by the Youth Minister at his church, who has covered the volume in a plain black cover lest it fall into the hands of the few blessed innocents out there, people like Charlotte Simmons, who would only become distraught at how _dirty_ and crude people are.The point of all of this Grandpa wants to make sure you know that college is a place of wildly raging hormones, cliques one hoped would have magically disappeared once the threshhold of the high school s doors have been crossed one last time, and LOTS of liquor You know, in case you missed it on your trip through He also wants to be sure you know what kind of bullet you dodged at your alma mater and how relieved you should be about it ahem Don t forget to let Grandpa know that he has dribbled ketchup all down his white suit while talking You don t want him to be embarrassed by himself, now do you ________Disclaimer The grandpa Tom Wolfe like in this account is fictitious sorta and bears no resemblance whatsoever to the author s own grandpa, with the exception of the love of a good AW root beer float


  4. Holly Holly says:

    I came to I Am Charlotte Simmons with trepidation I had read the reviews that likened Wolfe to a voyeur and questioned his motivation in spending years observing typical college students fifty years his junior It seemed creepy But when I saw it in the bargain bin, I couldn t resist, and as it turned out, I couldn t put the thing down Wolfe is a great writer and storyteller, and although there are some weird things about the book, like his linguistic obsessions over current uses of profanit I came to I Am Charlotte Simmons with trepidation I had read the reviews that likened Wolfe to a voyeur and questioned his motivation in spending years observing typical college students fifty years his junior It seemed creepy But when I saw it in the bargain bin, I couldn t resist, and as it turned out, I couldn t put the thing down Wolfe is a great writer and storyteller, and although there are some weird things about the book, like his linguistic obsessions over current uses of profanity, he presents a compelling story and a fascinating character in Charlotte Charlotte, a brilliant student from the impoverished, rural North Carolina, earns a scholarship to the prestigious Dupont University, and dreams of intellectual stimulation unlike she has ever known Instead, she finds a world of wealth, privilege, and debauchery Although she wants to play the games of sexual intrigue of her classmates, she has none of the requisite accompanying hardness and cynicism, so her efforts are personally devastating Wolfe deftly tackles big themes purity, vanity, greed, social class He may have gotten some of the details wrong, and if you are currently a college student I m sure you will find much with which to quarrel, but the bigger story is superb


  5. Adam Adam says:

    Fuck me I thought everyone was overreacting and being all tight assed about this book for some reason, and I know one or two people who like this book, so I thought I d give it a shot, but holy fuck This book really is an 80 year old white Southern guy s 700 page rant about kids these days Tom Wolfe supposedly did years of research for this book to capture the social reality of college, but I guess he was too busy banging undergrads to really pay attention to what was going on around him b Fuck me I thought everyone was overreacting and being all tight assed about this book for some reason, and I know one or two people who like this book, so I thought I d give it a shot, but holy fuck This book really is an 80 year old white Southern guy s 700 page rant about kids these days Tom Wolfe supposedly did years of research for this book to capture the social reality of college, but I guess he was too busy banging undergrads to really pay attention to what was going on around him because this is completely fucking imbecilic on every conceivable level It bears almost no relationship to social reality Which is a HUGE FUCKING PROBLEM when you make it your stated goal to be our time s Charles Dickens Look, I get it, he s asking us to step outside the norms to question the norms, but HE GETS THE NORMS WRONG BECAUSE HE S A FUCKING DULLARD AND APPARENTLY PAID NO ATTENTION TO ANYTHING So he s asking us, really, either to question NONEXISTENT FUCKING NORMS or to question NORMS WE VE ALREADY QUESTIONED if the point of this book is that frat kids suck, dorms are a nightmare, and people do stupid shit, guess what, Tom Fuck You Look At My Suit Wolfe WE FUCKING GET IT WE DON T NEED A STUPID FUCKING 700 FUCKING PAGE RANT ABOUT IT, YOU FUCKING IDIOT YOU FUCKING IDIOT And also, I hate to be one of those guys, but there is NO FUCKING ARTISTRY IN THIS MOTHERFUCKER I will not accept the dogma of show don t tell and other writing class cliches, but maybe Tom Wolfe should have before writing this piece of fucking shit Get this, folks this entire book is Tom Wolfe telling us what s happening and what characters are thinking The entire book In other words, he writes LIKE A FUCKING SIX YEAR OLD FUCK YOU, TOM WOLFE, AND FUCK EVERYONE WHO LIKES THIS BOOK Lastly, fuck patois, seriously Fucking seriously Tom Wolfe, responsible for much excellent journalism, has become a worse novelist than Steph Meyer Good job This might be the single worst novel I ve ever read


  6. Jonathan Ashleigh Jonathan Ashleigh says:

    This was far too long When I am 200 pages into a book, I do not want a 50 page background on a character that probably wont matter anyway Read The Rules of Attraction or The Sorrows of Young Mike if you want to know about college kids Tom Wolfe is for people who have a lot of time on their hands This was far too long When I am 200 pages into a book, I do not want a 50 page background on a character that probably wont matter anyway Read The Rules of Attraction or The Sorrows of Young Mike if you want to know about college kids Tom Wolfe is for people who have a lot of time on their hands


  7. Greg Watson Greg Watson says:

    Read in 2004.In this story, our hero Charlotte must endure the indignity of co ed bathrooms, profanity that would make a sailor blush, sarcastic put downs, and the advances of boys who only want to use her In this respect, some of what Charlotte endures is not her fault, but in subtle ways throughout the story, some of what she endures becomes her fault She becomes the victim of her vanity and can t overcome her desire to fit in and belong, as we likely couldn t if we were in her place On the Read in 2004.In this story, our hero Charlotte must endure the indignity of co ed bathrooms, profanity that would make a sailor blush, sarcastic put downs, and the advances of boys who only want to use her In this respect, some of what Charlotte endures is not her fault, but in subtle ways throughout the story, some of what she endures becomes her fault She becomes the victim of her vanity and can t overcome her desire to fit in and belong, as we likely couldn t if we were in her place On the academic side of her college life, Charlotte embraces the idea of the soul as illusionary or non existent Embracing this materialism ultimately inhibits Charlotte from coming to terms with her vanity through the lens of her mother s Christian faith and the faith we are lead to believe in which Charlotte herself was raised This is a good book While it is a light read, below the surface, there sto it than meets the eye


  8. Elaine Elaine says:

    Wolfe could not seem to decide whether he wanted Charlotte Simmons to be a satire or a legitimate zeitgeist piece Thus, the characters come off as caricatures to ill effect Wolfe should take a page from Sinclair Lewis, who somehow managed to write biting satire with still believable protagonists at the helm Wolfe could have also gone all out and just made this an absurd piece of literature, but he clearly intended to use this book as a revelation on modern college life.In Wolfe s defense Thou Wolfe could not seem to decide whether he wanted Charlotte Simmons to be a satire or a legitimate zeitgeist piece Thus, the characters come off as caricatures to ill effect Wolfe should take a page from Sinclair Lewis, who somehow managed to write biting satire with still believable protagonists at the helm Wolfe could have also gone all out and just made this an absurd piece of literature, but he clearly intended to use this book as a revelation on modern college life.In Wolfe s defense Though I think there are legitimate criticisms of Charlotte Simmons, the most frequent one, the look at how this prude old guy is so freaked out by young people today criticism is problematic on several levels First it is possible for an author to create an authentic protagonist with whom s he has little in common Take Mark Twain s feat of writing from the perspective of a boy in Huck Finn or Sinclair Lewis s believable boob Babbitt in the eponymous book Wolfe may come from a different generation than his characters, but this does not preclude him from channeling universal emotions through his characters, emotions like self doubt, alienation, etc.A favorable reviewer onrightly pointed out that those who criticize Wolfe for not getting this current generation are missing the point Wolfe is asking the reader to step outside the decadent conventions of this group in order to question why it they are so blindly accepted To dismiss him because he seems so shocked by the generation he portrays is to buy into the legitimacy of this my generation s norms Like so many American novels before it, I Am Charlotte Simmons indicts complacent conformity Perhaps it s easier to recognize these themes in novels where the author is skewering the prudish, straight laced yesmen rather than the indulgent, counter traditional ones, but both societies signify rigidity and intolerance towards deviating norms The pendulum has just shifted in the sense that polite conversation is now quite hospitable to the impolite, but now the diplomat is the odd man out Being different is hard, whether you re a wandering musician in 1950s America or an intellecutally curious girl from a quiet mountain town in millenial America.My biggest issue I am most disappointed with how unedited I Am Charlotte Simmons seems at times Wolfe could have pared this book down a lot He simply writes too much, sometimes mercilessly belaboring his point Still, I think the generic criticisms of this book are ignorant of a novel s purpose


  9. Ron Charles Ron Charles says:

    Halfway through Tom Wolfe s enormous new novel about contemporary college life, I finally devised a question to keep my interest piqued Is it humanly possible, I wondered, to write another 100 pages another 200 pages, another 300 pages without describing a single surprising event It is.With I Am Charlotte Simmons, Wolfe has ventured onto the university campus and sent back reams of hyperventilating testimony College students are slovenly and crude They drink way too much They liste Halfway through Tom Wolfe s enormous new novel about contemporary college life, I finally devised a question to keep my interest piqued Is it humanly possible, I wondered, to write another 100 pages another 200 pages, another 300 pages without describing a single surprising event It is.With I Am Charlotte Simmons, Wolfe has ventured onto the university campus and sent back reams of hyperventilating testimony College students are slovenly and crude They drink way too much They listen to obscene music They engage in casual and exploitative sex They put their feet on the furniture even leather sofas and fine woodwork.But wait, there sCollege students would rather socialize than study It s all right here, spelled out in tones of amazement, like George H.W Bush telling us about those new scanners at the grocery store.If you haven t seen Animal House or anything on the WB, you ll be surprised to learn that collegiate society is divided between jocks and nerds The jocks are very athletic, but not very smart, whereas the nerds are very smart, but not very athletic.Am I going too fast To write this novel, Wolfe claims that he had only to reassemble the material he had accumulated visiting campuses across the country, a technique that may explain the book s superficiality This isn t the anthropology of the Ordinary a potentially revelatory approach it s just a dramatization of clich s.Even the style lacks Wolfe s usual verve He s particularly interested in the way modern Americans talk, but in his Rip Van Winkle voice, we get endless explanations and reenactments of what he calls the undergraduate vocabulary, a discovery he highlights in a brief dedication to his children Most of the dialogue is written in a profane patois that Wolfe spells out as though he s recording the grunts and clicks of a lost dialect from Inner Mongolia But he has nothing to add to Norman Mailer s fardaring analysis of American profanity some 40 years ago in Armies of the Night Eventedious than the affected slips of Southern and African American dialects are his needless parenthetical translations I can t cain t stand them em And when characters yell at each other, their words are written in caps so that we know THEY RE SPEAKING VERY LOUDLY.The story follows the rise and fall of Charlotte Simmons, a brilliant country bumpkin from Sparta, N.C., pop 900 , who wins a scholarship to Dupont University, one of the most prestigious institutions in the country Charlotte s parents are simple folk, devout Christians, who have instilled in their daughter a deep sense of morality They don t drink, swear, put on airs, or take no stock in your highfalutin citified ways Along with a devoted teacher at school, they have instilled in Charlotte a sense of her exceptionalism that inspires the novel s title, which is also a sort of inspirational mantra for the heroine.Charlotte heads off to Dupont University expecting to enter the august halls of academe, but she quickly finds that it s a brothel, seething with vain, vicious girls and crude, drunken boys Her snobby roommate won t have anything to do with her The coed bathrooms are an abomination Athletes on the basketball team don t take their classes seriously And hunky frat boys pretend to be interested in your mind, but they re interested in only one thing I won t spoil it for you Poor Charlotte is consumed with loneliness and confusion Everyone mocks her clothes, her naivet , her virginity, her tee totaling Professors recognize her brilliance, but brilliance doesn t matter in this marketplace of drunken flesh So, how can she resist when the hottest boy on campus asks her to the Spring Formal Wolfe Note The term hottest is not a reference to the temperature of his body, but to the developed musculature of his body, which, along with a number of male bodies in this book, is described with slobbering attention Meanwhile, one of the nerds who works for the school paper where else is pursuing a scandal that could rock American politics, but don t worry about that potentially interesting thread it never leads off campus or toward anything.The only issue that develops some traction in this novel is race Wolfe explored thatprofoundly in The Bonfire of Vanities and A Man in Full, but his portrayal here of the racial tensions on the college basketball court is engaging He shows a sport played largely by black men for the entertainment of white fans in an academic setting that contorts its principles to keep the whole industry going.The cynical coach reaps millions the pasty professor growls about academic standards the expedient college president maintains an uneasy truce All these characters play to type, but at the center of this subplot is a white basketball star who feels threatened by the talent and aggression of black players all around him Why, he wonders, do they have access to a whole range of words and stances that are forbidden to him What s , he s starting to feel attracted to a life of the mind that he can just barely imagine But this minor development is buried in a variety of borrowed plot lines, including a climactic bit of satire about political correctness that might have been sharp 20 years ago.The problem isn t really the inclusion of so many clich 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.Wolfe wrote a much discussed essay for Harper s in 1989, A Literary Manifesto for the New Social Novel Instead of the cerebral games that now pass for fiction, he argued, American novelists should head out into this wild, bizarre, unpredictable, Hog stomping Baroque country of ours and reclaim it as literary property This is good advice When he took it, he hog stomped out two baroque novels, first about New York and then about Atlanta But cooped up on campus with Charlotte Simmons he s too predictable and too late to reclaim anything of interest.http www.csmonitor.com 2004 1109 p1


  10. Brett Brett says:

    Any girl who has ever gone through the journey of the small liberal arts big name college will know parts of Charlotte in ways that take them back to times and insecurities that are far better left forgotten Charlotte, the brain trust of her small town, enters the world of the privledged it s mine because I m entitled to it college student It should be a coming of age tale, and it is but in the twisted way Charlotte loses herself and every belief she held to fit in from the first day of her Any girl who has ever gone through the journey of the small liberal arts big name college will know parts of Charlotte in ways that take them back to times and insecurities that are far better left forgotten Charlotte, the brain trust of her small town, enters the world of the privledged it s mine because I m entitled to it college student It should be a coming of age tale, and it is but in the twisted way Charlotte loses herself and every belief she held to fit in from the first day of her freshman year to the last day of her senior Her uncooth parents embarass her, and so she pushes them away She is so insecure that she constantly obsesses about what she wears, what she eats, who she is seen with, how she speaks, and with whom she sleeps After a few months, it s clear that she has lost her identity entirely My favorite part about this book is what makes it real disturbing but true she doesn t come back around And I think that s a reality When we lose ourselves, we don t get that self back, we just create a new one Maybe that new one mimics many parts of the old self, but the new insecurities prevent it from every returning to the original If you want a pick me up, this is not the book However, if you have been in this world and want to appreciate how you made it through and appreciate life on the other side, you won t be disappointed