Saturday, June 6, 2015

Social Climbing and the Consequences

Evelyn at twenty-six is still the outsider she was in prep-school. For years she worked in New York for a text book publisher, but now she has a job trying to recruit members for an exclusive social media site designed for the upper crust, People Like Us. Evelyn convinces her bosses that she can succeed by using her entrée through her upper class friends to sign up people appropriate for the site.

Although she hasn't seen her special friends, Charlotte and Preston, for some time, she connects with them to use their background for her job. Basically inviting herself to Preston's camp in the Adirondacks and his parties, she becomes entranced by the people she's trying to recruit. Finally, she comes within range of Camilla Rutherford, the queen of 2006 New York social set. Evelyn falls under her spell and in trying to fit in, she takes a page from her social climbing mother's playbook, spending more than she can afford and building a fictitious background for herself. Of course, this can't last and that's the point of the novel.

I have mixed feelings about this book. Evelyn is not an attractive character. I couldn't get interested in her even enough to care about her eventual downfall. On the other hand Camilla's character is well done and Evelyn's prep school friends are engaging.

The setting, the New York social scene in 2006 just before the recession, is interesting. The author takes us to elite parties, compounds in the Adirondacks, and summer homes in the Hamptons. However, the attention to the details of this life style becomes tedious since it takes up almost half the book.

The theme of the book, what rises must fall, has been done many times. I didn't find the plot original. Since you know what must eventually happen, it isn't an inducement to keep reading.

The writing is clear and the descriptions good, but for me it wasn't enough to carry the book.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.