I Am Charlotte Simmons

  • by Tom Wolfe
  • Narrated by Dylan Baker
  • 31 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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What the Critics Say



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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Eric

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.

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- Charles Atkinson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-03-2004
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio