Regular price: $41.97

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

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

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    275
  • 4 Stars
    245
  • 3 Stars
    137
  • 2 Stars
    79
  • 1 Stars
    75

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    135
  • 4 Stars
    74
  • 3 Stars
    34
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    10

Story

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    97
  • 4 Stars
    85
  • 3 Stars
    53
  • 2 Stars
    23
  • 1 Stars
    19
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Eric
  • San Diego, CA, USA
  • 11-18-04

Decadence through the eyes of a ?good girl?

The account of college life in this book is as authentic as it can be. In order to be so true-to-life, though, it has to be very vulgar. Do not read this book if you intend on avoiding foul language and extreme sexual content?it is filled with both. The sex is not very steamy or erotic either; it is as unromantic as can be, just like it is on campus. ?Charlotte Simmons? is a thorough survey of the most self-destructive and immoral environment imaginable?the modern university.

If one can bear the vulgarity and decadence, one will be treated to superb story telling and a fine display of literary genius. Wolfe combines the bland, vulgar statements of the characters with his own witty and enlightening additions. His commentary makes the foolish characters somewhat coherent to the non-college student and provides some insight into the reasons for this dismal state of affairs.

Most of all, however, Wolfe sticks to description of characters and events and draws the audience in with the most colorful word manipulation. The audience is compelled to root for the good girl even as her path takes her further into trouble. Indeed, the innocent protagonist does not figure out a way to avoid being contaminated by the dirty culture. But even through this painful fall, the audience receives a great tool in figuring out what goes on at college and perhaps that is all one needs to invent their own way of dealing with the challenges such an environment presents.

71 of 76 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Charlotte Is Worth Getting To Know

Audible.com Read (Most Excellently) by Dylan Baker

Just finished Tom Wolfe's latest classic, I Am Charlotte Simmons two weeks ago. Again I listened to this one on an MP3 from Audible. Incredibly funny and relevant, perhaps too much so.

The story is about the beautiful, genius and naive? student from Sparta, NC, (Charlotte Simmons), experiences in her first year at an Ivy League caliber school in Pa. The novel exposes the absurdity of today's amoral campus life and the lower standards of the higher echelon of academia.

At the end of the audible version of the book, Wolfe is interviewed about his research. This is where it gets personal. He spent a lot of time interviewing students at Stanford, a little at several Ivy League campuses and over a month at UNC-CH! My 19 year old daughter is a frosh at Carolina.

To be fair, Carolina has a prof who is country's leading authority on slang. Still, the 74 year old explored the sexual and substance excesses at Carolina and found an alarming ambivalence in its students. For instance, a large part of the book explores the foolishness of co-ed living. Lander lives in a Co-ed dorm where every other suite is inhabited by guys.

Think about it. Where in adult life do men and women who are complete strangers live together in such intimate and lecherous surroundings? Such a lifestyle does nothing to prepare students for life. Yet it is the universally accepted form of student housing across the country.

Nevertheless, it was an incredible ride through a wonderful girl's freshman year.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Steven
  • Reno, NV, USA
  • 12-20-04

Phenomenal

This is the best production of an audio book I have heard. Excellent audio quality, fantastic characterization of the protagonist by the reader, and excellent story all add up to make this a great audio book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gene
  • Agoura Hills, CA, USA
  • 11-28-04

Tom Wolfe Delivers

I would have liked to give this 3+ stars; it doesn't quite meet my four-star criteria, but three stars would be an injustice. It's a well-written update on college life, as a small-town girl collides with a major university. This is not Tom Wolfe at his best or funniest, but it is thought-provoking and fun. If there is anyone left who is bothered by bad language, this will bother them. The reading is very well done.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Christina
  • Harlingen, TX, United States
  • 11-21-04

looking back and forward

Reading this book helps a little, I think, in understanding the peer pressures my daughter is facing in college. My husband benefited somewhat from the hours I spent listening to the book, in that the long passages concerning sex are pretty effective. The reader does an excellent job with all the male voices. I would've enjoyed hearing another voice, however, for most of the females. The reader's vocal range is limited to unpleasant female voices, in my opinion.
In contrast to the fictional difficulties Charlotte Simmons faces, I hope colleges are doing a better job of providing moral support to incoming students, especially those with very limited financial resources.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Academy award for reader Dylan Baker

If Oscars were given for acting out books, Baker would go home with the golden statue -- he's great. Just great. With so many different people populating this book -- Southern homefolk, Boston elite, Jewish professors, black athletes, little-guy reporters -- it was nothing short of fascinating to realize how much you learned about each character from just listening to them speak -- through Baker, of course. Very well done.

That said, this was one of the few books I've ever encountered that shoulda been shorter, by about a third. We are treated to three separate episodes of play-by-play basketball, which maybe some sports nuts loved, but got intensly boring after just a few minutes. And some of the love -- make that sex -- scenes were disgusting and way overdone, even though one has to suppose that writing these sex and sport scenes must have been great fun for Wolfe. If I'd been reading the book, I would have skipped ahead, but with an audio book, you have no way of knowing how long it's going to continue.

None of this should deter you from experiencing this book, in one format or another. "Charlotte" is a very very good book, and one that surely will cause some heartburn among the denizens of the hallowed halls of ivy. It's surely one of those situations in which a book of fiction will bring about more reform, long run, than a dry, academic critique ever could.

Read it, or listen to it, but don't miss "I Am Charlotte Simmons".

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent, well-narrated story.

What does Dylan Baker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator, Dylan Baker, uses a bunch of voices and accents for both the male and female characters. He's a very talented narrator, and he reads the story as if he's talking to you, or narrating your--or someone else's--thoughts. Which is to say that he's very real, down-to-earth, and has no annoying aristocratic or British accent as so many audiobooks narrators seem to have. 5-star narration. He's an excellent reader.

Any additional comments?

Beware of the abridged version of this book! I mistakenly purchased the abridged version, but didn't really realize it was abridged until about two hours into the narration when the book seemed to become a bit too fast-paced and too shallow, the characters seemed too under-developed (after all, I thought the book was, at that point, about 1/4 the way through), and the scenes in the plot began to seem disjointed. So I bought the Kindle version of the book to follow along and that's when I realized I had purchased the abridged version (I thought I had purchased an unabridged version).<br/><br/>As you can tell, I definitely do not recommend the abridged version of this book. This narrator reads at a good rate-of-speed and is, above all, interesting to listen to. The book is good anyway, but a bad narrator can make even the best book a chore, and a good narrator can make a good book better.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

best audible so far

great book and narrator was fabulous. would not have been as good if i had read it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

An American Classic

This wasn't the easiest book. At some points, I
felt rather uncomfortable with the story. Just goes
to show you...the generation gap is real. Especially lately. But, discomfort and angst, nowwithstanding, this book seems to me to be very important, a literate chronical of its time.
If you hate hearing foul language, think twice before you listen to it. The "f" word and its
siblings seem to make up 20% of the dialogue.
But, Wolf said he tried for authenticity. What
is more painful, if the writer is accurate, is
how our poor English language has been reduced
and mangled in, of all places, our palaces of
"higher learning". Anyone who thinks today's
kids are smarter than ever should read this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

For this we pay tuition?

Excellent and funny and sad. This depicts college life and upscale universities. Scary in parts -- especially with my sons in college. Scarier if I had daughters. A great read that reflects college life - and growth.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful