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achawley has commented on (1) product.

I Am Charlotte Simmons: A Novel by Tom Wolfe
I Am Charlotte Simmons: A Novel

achawley, August 16, 2006

This book was very poorly received by the mainstream media, and I do not necessarily agree. Yes, the book was very superficial, but that was the part that I personally enjoyed about it as it made the story easier to follow and enjoy.

For the uninitiated, the novel shows the evolution of its title character, taking the reader through the different experiences that she has in her life with fratboys, athletes, and other women. Along with dealing with social components, Wolfe also deals with the issue of race and class standings. Some of the critics complained about the novel being a lot like the college that they remember. They are right because college is not like they remember. The academic parts haven't changed, but the social components most certainly have. The flow and style of the narrative were very similar to my own personal college experience without the fraternities. Also, the discussion about race and class were very poignant, especially if you come from the "bad' side of either of those issues (full disclosure: I'm black and I'm proud).

Overall, I grew attached to the plight of Charlotte Simmons and wanted to see her succeed and be the success that she started as in her town in North Carolina. Tom Wolfe found a way to make her naive foibles lovable and that's what really makes this book special. This particular version is very daunting, but I finished it in a week without trying particularly hard, so give it a read. It's a lot better than the old guard of literary haters would make you believe.
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