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Extended Audio Sample I Am Charlotte Simmons: A Novel Audiobook, by Tom Wolfe Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (14,379 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tom Wolfe Narrator: Dylan Baker Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2004 ISBN: 9781593975784
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2005 Audie Award Finalist America's "peerless observer" (People) uncovers college life-from jocks to mutants, dormcest to tailgating-plus race, class, sex, and basketball 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 uppercrust 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 godlike 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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Quotes & Awards

  • “Wolfe is one of the greatest literary stylists and social observers of our much observed postmodern era…A rich, wise, absorbing, and irresistible novel.”

    Time

  • “Our pre-eminent social realist…trains his all-seeing eye on the institution of the American university…Wolfe’s rhapsodic prose style finds its perfect target in academia’s beer-soaked bacchanals.”

    Newsday

  • “Brilliant…I couldn’t stop reading it…Tom Wolfe can make words dance and sing and perform circus tricks, he can make the reader sigh with pleasure.”

    Washington Post

  • “Wolfe’s dialogue is some of the finest in literature, not just fast but deep. He hears the cacophony of our modern lives.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Dazzingly vivid…Tom Wolfe has served up another of his broadly entertaining novels.”

    New York Observer

  • “Tom Wolfe remains a peerless satirist. Alone among our fiction writers he is actively writing the human comedy, American-style, on a grand Dickensian scale.”

    Bloomberg News

  • “Scathingly clear-eyed, often very funny take on college life.”

    NPR

  • “His most fully realized and hands-down funniest work of fiction.”

    Austin American-Statesman

  • “Captivating…Sit back and enjoy the ride.”

    Denver Post

  • “Rollicking…Just as Americans continue to read A Farewell to Arms or The Great Gatsby, we’ll be reading I Am Charlotte Simmons for many years…Professors like to complain that they get a year older every fall, while students always remain the same. Add I Am Charlotte Simmons to that magic circle of campus phenomena unlikely to age.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • One of the 2004 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction
  • A 2005 Audie Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Little Miss | 2/20/2014

    " This was my first Tom Wolfe novel, and I'm sure his earlier stuff is much better. The story succeeded to point out what college has become today, but he could have developed the characters more. I didn't quite care for what Charlotte had become (and accepted) by the end of the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lizdickie | 2/17/2014

    " Entertaining. A cautionary tale for college freshmen - although most will think that NO ONE can possibly be as naive as Charlotte. And I suspect they are right. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 2/3/2014

    " This is a book about the different groups at college: jocks, frat boys, sorority sluts, nerds, and outcasts. The author has it down - especially the dynamics between the groups and he really captures the vernacular. He would have had to have spent some time RECENTLY in college to know so well those voices. I recommend. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Henry | 2/3/2014

    " I was given this book as a booby prize after seeking, perhaps quixotically, to defend The Lord of the Rings before a crowd of Derridastic metropolitan chatterati at LSE. You know, the kind of Guardianistas who think that everyone is entitled to a view, as long as it's theirs. The reason was that the literati were in postmodernist paroxysms about the supposedly very bad sex scenes in this book. Well, they're not quite as bad as all that, although the frequent conjunction of the words "loamy" and "loins" does not dispose anyone to tumid concupiscence ("Con-cu-pi-huh? Did I spell that right? Aw, muthafucka!") so much as mirth and merriment. My problems with this book were larger (unghh! unghh!) Not (knowingly) having read any Tom Wolfe before, I was left wondering whether this was meant to be a serious (or, at least Dickensian) novel about college life, or a knockabout romp. The girl in the title is the unfeasibly straight and squeaky-clean academic superstar from Hicksville High who lands a scholarship to Ivy-League Dupont College. Once there she is surprised and mortified to learn that college life is, amazingly, not often lived on the higher plane to which she aspires. Whisper it soft, but students drink, bunk classes, fuck, fart, tell dirty jokes, fuck, bunk more classes, fuck, indulge in varied gradations of social snobbery, go to basketball games -- and did I mention fuck? Well, lawdy hush mah mouth. And by the way, the language in this book would make any Momma reach for the carbolic. Ms Simmons' loneliness makes you wanna scream -- why don't you join a church group, like anyone else in your situation would do, rather than mope and moan for page upon page? But if she did anything this logical, her alienation would disappear and there'd be no story. Even though the book picks up two-thirds of the way through, after Ms Simmons' brutal deflowering by finely chiseled frat-boy Hoyt Thorpe (anyone mention Animal House?) and her subsequent, well-handled if prolix depression -- it still takes Mr Wolfe 600 pages to make the same point that Tom Lehrer established in just fifteen deft words, in his song Bright College Days: "Hearts full of youth! Hearts full of truth! Six parts gin to one part vermouth!" "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marcel | 2/1/2014

    " Just could not navigate through this entire 30-hour long audio book. The characters are college aged students going to school in a fictional university which bears a striking resemblance to real life U of North Carolina. The book contains much foul language, even for my tastes, and the action is so, well, collegiate as to wear on a reader after too many hours. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sara Kyle | 1/15/2014

    " I love Tom Wolfe - his ability to get into the mind of the character is incredible. I'm amazed that an older man can write so well in the voice of a female teen. Loved it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 12/26/2013

    " I really enjoyed reading this book, but I HATED the ending. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gordon | 12/9/2013

    " Bloated, misguided view of college life written by a septagenarian of another era. Don't bother. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah Pfeifer | 11/22/2013

    " I really liked this book because I totally related to the main character: I was a naiive goody-two shoes who went to a rich person's college and didn't quite fit in either. It's loooong, but I think a really good portrayal of a coed's college life- even though it's written by a much older man "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kari | 10/26/2013

    " I listened to the audio book. It kept me entertained, but I didn't like the ending. It seem unresolved after so much that had happened in the story. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tracy | 10/14/2013

    " This book gets negative one star for Fairly Awful - clearly an old man trying to write as (what he thinks) young girls think/feel. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebecca Relyea | 9/30/2013

    " The characters were hard to believe. I didn't care what happened to them or what was going to happen next. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amander | 8/15/2013

    " I kind of despised this book the whole time I was reading the flobbity jillion pages of it. SIGH "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kung | 3/22/2013

    " Mr Wolfe ROCKS! Couldn't put this book down at various times. It is a long read but definitely fun. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jane | 9/10/2012

    " I was disappointed in this effort and did not find it measured up to Mr. Wolfe's other books. It felt to me as if the author were trying to make his point with gross exaggeration and a sledgehammer to boot. I couldn't get through it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lane | 6/1/2012

    " Finally finished this. Still didn't love it, but I pushed through. I don't think I like Wolfe's style of writing, but this is the first book of his I've read, so I'll have to try another. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brandi | 3/10/2012

    " Horrific, really really bad editing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lorena | 12/22/2011

    " I loved this book, a bit long thought. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kayleigh Malcomson | 11/11/2011

    " A very accurate portrayal of college life. Tom Wolfe put a lot of research into this and he holds no punches. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 6/8/2011

    " This book wasn't great, and most of the characters were fairly one-dimensional, but, having gone to a large, basketball-crazy school, there was also some of it that was very familiar and hit quite close to home. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susanna | 5/6/2011

    " I don't know if this book actually deserves to be finished. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erin | 5/4/2011

    " This is an exceptionally well written novel, however I didn't find the story or characters compelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Madeline | 4/21/2011

    " should be required reading for all young women going off to college. the end was a bit corny, but I love his style, and it rings true from a former young woman's point of view. he is my favorite fiction writer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel | 4/9/2011

    " Nice character development, and great critique of college life at a top tier school. Very engaging, and left me thinking about the characters for quite a while after I put the book down. Wolfe has an enviable talent for capturing a social climate and interpersonal dynamics/relationships. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christine | 4/8/2011

    " I should have read Goodreads members' reviews before reading this novel. It would have saved me reading and waiting for a good story. Oh, well, lesson learned. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laure | 3/26/2011

    " A mucha gente que ha leído otras novelas de Tom Wolfe, ésta no les gusta demasiado. Yo la recuerdo con cariño, porque fue uno de los primeros libros que leí como adolescente-casi-adulta. Menudo libro elegí para dejar atrás la literatura juvenil... ;) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yale | 3/26/2011

    " A great read, even though I have been out of school for many, many years. Should be required reading for all freshman women in their first semester. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 3/23/2011

    " Good book. It starts fairly slow, but once you get past the first 150 pages you can't put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barb | 3/8/2011

    " Every college student and parents of college students should read this one. Tom Wolfe does a great job developing his characters. "

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About the Author
Author Tom WolfeTom Wolfe is the author of more than a dozen books, among them such bestselling contemporary classics as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full, and I Am Charlotte Simmons. A native of Richmond, Virginia, he earned his B.A. at Washington and Lee University and a Ph.D. in American studies at Yale. He received the National Book Foundation's 2010 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in New York City.
About the Narrator

Dylan Baker is an American stage, screen, and television actor. He attended Georgetown Prep and William and Mary College before earning his BFA at Southern Methodist University, where his passion for acting was ignited with numerous stage roles. Later refining his talents at Yale’s School of Drama, Baker turned professional with big screen roles in movies like Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Delirious, and Love Potion No. 9.