I Am Charlotte Simmons: A Novel
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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 colleges.
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.
As 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 innocence.
With 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-21st-century college-going experience.
another … idiom.” For an instant Jojo wondered if “idiom” had anything to do with “idiot,” but he had to admit, although he didn’t feel like doing so out loud, that Adam had a point. That had been pretty bad … He’d been embarrassed to even call the poor sonofabitch so late. His anger began to diminish. More pleading, whining: “You didn’t even come over to the library with me, Jojo. You stayed here with Mike and played video games.” The anger spiked back up. “What the fuck did it matter what I
low, hoarse, beaten voice he said, “I never expected that—from you, Camille.” So womanish! thought Adam. He immediately hated himself for the thought. After all, coming out wasn’t like switching a light, probably. There must be a painful period during which someone like Randy remains terribly sensitive. But he looked like a woman, all the same. He looked like Adam’s mother, like Frankie, on the brink of one of her crying jags after his father informed her that she hadn’t “grown.” Adam felt
(“holy shit!”), unacceptable, inedible (“shit on a shingle”), strategy (“oh, that shit again”), feces, literally (“shit”), slum (“some shithook neighborhood”), meaningless (“that don’t mean shit”), et cetera (“and massages and shit”), self-important (“he thinks he’s some shit”), predictably (“sure as shit”), very (“mean as shit”), verbal abuse (“gave me shit”), violence (“before the shit came down” or “hit the fan,” “don’t start no shit,” “won’t be no shit”). Still, they didn’t neglect Fuck
you show me where your futon is?” “I’ll get it out, but you’re not sleeping on it. You’re my guest. You get the bed. I’m going to change the sheets and make it up for you.” “No—” “No no’s, Charlotte. This is my place, such as it is, and that’s the way I want it.” “You don’t have to—” “I do have to, because that’s the way it’s got to be.” She acceded, lowering her eyes and nodding Yes. Then she looked up at him, her eyes big and starry; she fixed them upon his face for what seemed like a
things like “Self-defense, self-defense … just … self-defense,” until he was too winded to run and speak at the same time. They neared the edge of the Grove, where it bordered the open campus, and Vance said, “Slow … down …” He was so out of breath he could utter no more than a syllable or two after each gulp of air. “Just … walk … Got’act … natch’rul …” So they emerged from the Grove walking and acting natural, except that their breathing sounded like a pair of handsaws and they were soaked