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I Am Charlotte Simmons: A Novel Audiobook, by Tom Wolfe Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Tom Wolfe Narrator: Dylan Baker Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2004 ISBN: 9781593975791
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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

  • Tom Wolfe has scored a slam dunk with his...attention to style, the rule-bending punctuation, the deftness of slang dialogue, and that biting satire. Steve Garbarino, New York Post
  • Wolfe's dialogue is some of the finest in literature, not just fast but deep. He hears the cacophony of our modern lives. Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
  • [A] hilarious, exclamation-point filled novel. John Freeman, Time Out New York
  • 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. Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
  • A lot of fun . . . Hilarious. Francine Prose, Los Angeles Times Book Review
  • 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. David Lehman, Bloomberg News
  • Scathingly clear-eyed, often very funny take on college life. Robert Siegel, NPR, All Things Considered
  • Dazzingly vivid . . . Tom Wolfe has served up another of his broadly entertaining novels. Adam Begley, The New York Observer
  • His most fully realized and hands-down funniest work of fiction. Patrick Beach, Austin American-Statesman
  • Captivating . . . Sit back and enjoy the ride. Tom Walker, The Denver Post
  • Tom Wolfe is America's greatest living novelist. Joseph Bottum, The Weekly Standard
  • “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. Henry Alford, Newsday

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

  • This novel contains passages as powerful and as beautiful as anything written--not merely by contemporary American novelists but by any American novelist.... The book is as funny as anything Wolfe has ever written; at the same time it is also deeply, strangely affecting. The New York Times Book Review on A Man in Full
  • Wolfe is a genius in full. People on A Man in Full
  • Superior...utterly engrossing. USA Today on A Man in Full

  • 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. Carlin Romano, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Wolfe leaves no head unbashed . . . His eye and ear for detailed observation are incomparable; and observation is to the satirist what bullets are to a gun. The Boston Sunday Globe on Bonfire of the Vanities
  • Human comedy, on a skyscraper scale and at a taxi-meter pace. Newsweek on Bonfire of the Vanities
  • Richly entertaining . . . A superb human comedy and the first novel ever to get contemporary New York, in all its arrogance and shame and heterogeneity and insularity, exactly right. Washington Post Book World on Bonfire of the Vanities
  • “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

  • One of the 2004 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction
  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A 2005 Audie Award Finalist
  • Among shortlisted titles for Audie Award Finalist, 2005

Listener Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 2/19/2014

    " A look at ivy league college life, with Wolfe's signature focus on racial and socioeconomic differences and adjective overuse, from the perspective of a small town, naive, and hyper intellicual young woman. Although the book is a page turner, with some good sexy bits to boot, it still reads like an old man writing about a modern college culture he doesn't quite understand. Fun, but isn't going to make you feel differently about the world around you. Another good beach read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Luckyclarkie | 2/10/2014

    " I was told by a friend that the author of this book was awesome, however, I thought this book to be very repetitious. The first 400 pages are good, the last 300 some pages are torture to get through. The main character struggles with her straight edge persona in her first semester of college. The events that take place are so far fetched, and juvenile. If a poor, super nerdy chic ended up in an ultra hip social circle, I'd call that a Hollywood movie that has an over played theme. I was really disappointed. Perhaps I'm just not in the right age group to be reading this book, which is an absolute possibility. I think there is a chance that I could have appreciated the struggles of Charlotte more if I had been reading this during my first year of College, instead of my 9th year. The only part that I could relate to in this book was in the first chapter, Charlotte, deemed Valedictorian of her graduation high school class. During her speech, the author portrays her thoughts. She is more concerned if the popular people in her class think she looks cool while she is giving the speech instead of being concerned about her high honor that she achieved. I wouldn't recommend this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Miss | 2/8/2014

    " I liked Charlotte at first, but became unsympathetic towards her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bobbi | 1/31/2014

    " Hard truths about the social pains of young Ivy League college students. Great character depictions "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tori | 1/23/2014

    " Really enjoyed this one - couldn't put it down at the end (it's long) - made me equally nostalgic for college days and glad I was past that stage in my life - but definitely recommend and look forward to reading some more Tom Wolfe novels. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jaime | 1/22/2014

    " Just ok, a little too long "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 cicie | 1/18/2014

    " if you find yourself nursing a broken heart and wanting to stay in bed all day reading a book...try this one. there is quite a feeling of accomplishment to read 700+ pages in one sitting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 britany | 1/16/2014

    " i don't care that tom wolfe can't write like an 18 year old girl, this is still one of my favorite books "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Abdullah | 1/13/2014

    " Extremely great read by a contemporary author, who actually does research on the topics he writes about before actually putting pen to paper (oops I meant fingers to keyboard). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joan | 12/31/2013

    " Almost eerie how right on target he was! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Catherine | 12/28/2013

    " i'm just not that into tom wolfe's writing style. that said, i did get wrapped up in the story and read rather quickly all 600+ pages. again, this was my temporary and now passing kick of reading several contemporary well-regarded american fiction writers. done and done. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elease | 12/22/2013

    " Did you ever laugh at your parents when they attempted use of the "vernacular"? That's the same reason this book made me laugh, and not in a good way. It was like fingernails raking a chalkboard listening to this walking methusela try to pretend he could be a 21st century fratboy. Blech! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 12/16/2013

    " What can you say about Tom Wolfe.. one of my favorite authors, each of his books are studies in sociology. He totally captures whatever segment of society he chooses to study. I have read most of his books to date, starting with Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 William | 12/10/2013

    " LE LIVRE CULTE DU LANGAGE FUCK "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary | 12/8/2013

    " 400 pages in, want to stop but have to finish the book. I do not like it. Tom Wolfe... c'mon. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zvia | 12/7/2013

    " Like all Tom Wolfe novels, I loved it! I think that I loved it so much because it resembled a season of Gossip Girl. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Andreen | 12/2/2013

    " A depressing view of what college can do to a young woman. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebecca | 12/31/2012

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

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shauna | 11/11/2012

    " Glad this one's over. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christopher | 2/17/2012

    " Wolfe is terminally unhip, which means that attempting to satirize the younger generation was bound to be a failure. That and the healthy dose of misogyny that hangs over the book makes it unreadable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Keri | 10/10/2011

    " Tom Wolfe is VERY wordy, so much sometimes, I have to take a break. Charlotte is annoyingly stupid and naive at times but I like the story and really hope she gives it to Beverly at the end... if I can ever get there. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alexa | 7/21/2011

    " I could have read my diary or one of my friends' diaries from 10 years ago instead of this. I was entertained because it was a trip down memory lane, but that was about it "

  • 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. "

About the Author

Tom Wolfe (1931–2018) was the author of numerous books considered contemporary classics, including The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and The Bonfire of the Vanities, among others, and several of his books have been made into major motion pictures. He was also a journalist and founder of the New Journalism movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He is credited with introducing such terms as “the right stuff,” “radical chic,” “the Me Decade,” and “good ol’ boy” into the English lexicon. A native of Richmond, he earned his BA degree at Washington and Lee University and a PhD in American studies at Yale.

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. His audiobook narration has won him eleven AudioFile Earphones Awards.