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Publisher's Summary

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, who has come here on full scholarship. 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.

As Charlotte encounters Dupont's privileged elite, her roommate, Beverly, a fleshy, Groton-educated Brahmin in lusty pursuit of lacrosse players; Jojo Johanssen, the only white starting player on Dupont's god-like basketball team, whose position is threatened by a hotshot black freshman from the projects; the Young Turn 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.

©2004 Tom Wolfe; (P)2004 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC

Critic Reviews

  • Audie Award Finalist, Fiction (unabridged), 2005

"Like everything Wolfe writes, I Am Charlotte Simmons grabs your interest at the outset and saps the desire to do anything else until you finish." (The New York Times Book Review)
"The book is brilliant, wicked, true, and, like everything Wolfe writes, thematically coherent, cunningly well plotted, and delightfully told." (Atlantic Monthly)

What members say

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  • Overall

Tom Wolfe - America's master of detail.

This book is not so much about the characters or the storyline but rather about the incredible wealth of detail that shape their environs.
If you prefer edited of abridged versions of books this is not for you. Those of us who listened to the book here in Europe found the information on modern U.S. college life to be fascinating - even if a little exaggerated .
The narration by Dylan Baker is excellent and hopefully he will record further works.
A true masterwork and a superb "listen".

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Book, Great Reading Performance

Let me start by saying Dylan Baker's reading of this novel amounts to nothing less than a 31 hour 1 man Broadway show. His charactizations were brilliant, more than just sounding like the characters he added a visual dimension to their personalities, male and female that is amazing to experience.

My only problem with his reading is the tugging at the back of my brain that I wouldn't have liked this book as well or at all if I read it myself or a less talented reader was cast. I am listening to a lot of books and I am starting to get the feeling that I have about MTV. If a song becomes popular because it has a good video but would have not been noticed otherwise , is it still a good song? Who knows. But I am worried that production values will increase and things like music and sound effects and multiple readers (ultimately one for each character may be next)become more important than the words. Ala hollywood. STILL YOU WILL HEAR A BRAVURA READING ON THIS BOOK.

The story is very good, captivating all the way through. I do agree with some other reviewers, it looses a little steam in the end. I loathed some of the characters so much that I wanted to bath a little more in their undoing.

The funny thing is this could almost just as easily been about college in the 60's and in some ways I think might actually be. Loved it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A great experience

Someday I will listen to this book over again and from the moment it ended, I began to look forward to that day. Wolfe skewers his characters under a critic's glass, but the listener is never sure when a character's fortunes will rise or fall. It's an important commentary on university life today.

The reader, Dylan Baker, is astonishing. He is a consummate professional and I will chose books in the future based solely on the fact that he is the reader.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Puerility personified

This book is sophmoric and puerile with a few sections that made you think. I can get most of the dialog by hanging around a locker room. That's not what I expect from a book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Amy
  • Flemington, NJ, USA
  • 01-27-05

Exaggerated Irony

I think I would have liked this book better if the reading by Dylan Baker didn't have the forced ironic tone of a narrator that has contempt for all his characters. Baker makes all the dumb characters sound like southerners (even if they are from Trenton NJ). His attempts to characterize through changes in diction fail miserably.

But as with all Wolfe, it is an engaging story, funny, sad and interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Rose
  • Brooklyn, NY, USA
  • 01-20-05

felt like a sexist tootsie

I am beginning to find Tom Wolfe's insights very thin. Wolfe cannot reconcile his desire to write intelligent prose with his need to write unapologetically prurient, sexist scenes/banter. These are not conflicting aspirations in the hands of many a great author, but for Wolfe, they seem to be impossible to marry.

Further, the reader was awful to listen to. I actually listened to the whole thing because I couldn't figure out why it was such a best seller, and it felt like listening to an extended episode of Tootsie--Dustin Hoffman playing a southern woman. Again, charming and funny in the hands of a great actor, but in the voice of this reader it was almost unbearable. I couldn't stand it after a while and took a long break from listening to the book. His voices threw me out of the story over and over again.

I would be interested to see if the book is any better without the reader. However, I am not so sure this will help. While I am not easy to wrile as a woman, (I loved Mean Girls and Legally Blonde) the faux moralist, misogynistic message of this book bordered on offensive.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • KH
  • 12-30-04

A great disappointment

Tom Wolfe has written a great novel. Unfortunately it was "Bonfire of the Vanities" not "I Am Charlotte Simmons". The concept is excellent, but the writing is verbose, and neither the characters nor thier dialog are credible. Both Wolfe and the reader seem to have drawn thier cast of characters from high school sitcoms. The reader's voices and interpretation of dialog further reduce this audiobook from mediocre to ridiculously silly. What a terrible disappointment! Maybe reading "Bonfire" again can help me forget it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not his best work

This book was disappointing - especially given how good Tom Wolfe's earlier books (Right Stuff, Bonfire of the Vanities) were. This book was disjointed and trite. The young female protagonist is completely unbelievable - drawn evidently from a close reading of Jane Austen novels vs. any insight about how a naive but intelligent young woman would grapple with the challenges of college life in the 21st century.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gary
  • Copley, OH, USA
  • 12-14-04

A great read/listen

When the book came out I heard all the criticism Tom Wolfe received on TV about how this book was unoriginal. I must say, that half way through it I couldn't wait to get to the end. The reader is really good at doing the voices. Like many books, the last few chapters quickly tie up the stories of the book which was a little of a disappointment, although I really did enjoy this book. There were times that I emotionally felt for the main character. This book is a great insight to college life and informative as I commuted during college. I would have given the book 5 stars if the ending was a little more drawn out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Had to finish it, sorry when it ended

The characters are a bit of a caricature of the college-aged friends of my kids tramping through our house now. I believe the committment to drinking, sex and superficiality is by no means universal, but I do believe this does exist in certain universities out there. While doing college searches for the last 2 years for both our sons we could guess which colleges were more like Mr Wolfe's DuPont by looking at the arrest and crime statistics that the colleges must now post.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful