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the reader of books

I love England, France, Vogue, espionage, nachos, WWI, the Mitfords & naps. 

Currently reading

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
David McCullough

Rules of Civility: A Novel

Rules of Civility: A Novel - Amor Towles I didn't hate it as I expected; in fact, I ended up reading it in one sitting.

It's hard to give a summary because honestly, nothing much happens. And while I think the story was interesting and lovely and readable, there were a few things that infuriated me, which I will now outline:

1. Katey is an enigma and a complete snob. Others describe her as poised and purposeful, comfortable being alone, so we are to imagine she is this intelligent introvert who is most happy at home drinking cheap gin and reading. While I don't find this totally incompatible with wanting to go out and party every once and awhile, I don't think there was much exploration of why she wanted to go around drinking and gatecrashing with the richies. And she is the worst kind of snob - she supposedly is not ashamed of where she came from but she exclusively hangs out with rich people and then judges other people for wanting to be rich/hang out with rich people, too. She makes absolutely no sense, unless you just take it at face value that she is a giant hypocrite. That being said, I realize the entire story would be completely different if she was hanging out with Fran or her other plebe friends instead of Dicky & Co. (Though, why treat poor Charlotte with such disdain?).

2. As I said, it was a compelling story but then it just fell to pieces when Eve rejects Tinker's proposal. After that, nothing made sense anymore. Katey, Eve and Tinker hang out a few times, have a few laughs, and then there is an accident. Tinker feels honor bound to Eve and Katey moves on with her life. Fine. But when things don't work out with Eve and Tinker reenters her life, Katey adopts this attitude as if she and Tinker are star crossed lovers and makes several highly questionable choices, including but not limited to: a) getting so outraged when she sees Tinker with Anne, b) confessing to Dicky that she still loves Tinker, and c) ruminating about him and his doings and motivations for far too many pages. I mean, the accident occurred on page 54 of a 324 page novel - and she met him on page 17! Nowhere in those 37 pages was it explained why Katey later had this mad passion for Tinker, who, if truth be told, seemed pretty boring to me.

3. Katey's entire reaction to the Tinker/Anne relationship. I can't even get into this because I find it so preposterous, hypocritical, and totally nonsensical considering that Katey and Tinker had no real relationship in the first place, but this made me want to scream. Considering that she learned from Wallace that Tinker's family lost their money ages ago before Tinker even comes back, her self-righteous outrage that he is "wasn't everything he presented himself to be" was totally perplexing. Duh. You knew this. What is the problem here?


Ahem. Despite all of the above, I really did enjoy the book immensely and would recommend it as a fun beach read. And I wish I was dating Dicky Vanderwhile because he seemed fun, plus I long for a rich boyfriend myself.

I think there should be a sequel focusing on Dicky and Eve, in which they solve high society mysteries while exchanging witty barbs, a la The Thin Man.