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Glamorous Disasters: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, February 13, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
But the book itself was quite charming and to those who really know the truth about nouveau Manhattan wealth, absolutely true. Schrefer may exaggerate with poetic license but there is more truth in his tales than the more negative reviewers here realize. SAT tutoring is Big Business among the wealthy overindulged and pampered teens who populate the New York private and semi-private schools and cheating, not by the tutors though, is more rampant than people suspect. The author needs more seasoning to move his story along more briskly but this is a good first novel and I look forward to his next one -- hopefully with a proofreader in tow.
Eliot Schrefer's debut novel does touch on a unique perspective, a poor Ivy League grad tutoring wealthy, spoiled kids on the Upper East Side. I'm curious how exaggerated this book is from his real world experience. I'm reminded of my favorite bartender's statement, "everybody comes from a dysfunctional family". And this book demonstrates dysfunction to the nth degree. High achieving MD mother, financial genius father who is rarely around, a son named Dylan who is dumb as dirt and not interested in getting any smarter, and the nymphet 15 year old daughter who already attends famous NY nightclubs and hooks up with guys 40. Did I mention the massive drug use by teenagers? I'd say that's plenty of material to cover.
The positives of the book is it gives you a look at this very unique life and the variance between his students' existence and his own buried in student loans, supporting family and living in Harlem. This was interesting and fertile ground for a novel.
But the negatives are a very slow style that builds characters over the first 200 pages leaving only 130 pages to resolve issues, satisfy his love life and resolve his roommate's messy role in the novel. Based on this, there is no way this book deserves a 5 star rating. But does it explore a different environment? Absolutely. Does it give the reader input into who the author is and what are his frames of reference? Yes. But please Eliot, next time do it a little quicker with more meat after the character building.
Schrefer dismisses all of this tired and recycled material and breaches new ground: he concentrates on the strained and even competitive relationships between parents and their children; exposes how SAT tutors are, in a way, mercenaries for the rich to get their kids into the best colleges, while outlining the tacit social rules that divide the rich and the poor in New York.
I like the fact that Schrefer concentrates on the competitive nature of mother-daughter relationships. This is a topic that is all too common in real life but hardly touched upon by writers, except of course by Christina Crawford in Mommie Dearest. When parents, especially mothers of adolescent girls, read the following passage, they will be forced to examine how they really feel about their daughters' youth and vitality.
** "They are not speaking as a mother and daughter-they are rivals. And he realizes that, despite Dr. Thayer's nominal attempts at parental authority, they have always been rivals.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book actually turned out really good. It's a great read for readers more in their older teens to mid twenties. It does start a little slow but picks up as it goesPublished on October 23, 2012 by chanhan
I'm only about halfway through this, but I am struck that despite the fact that the author attended Harvard, he has no idea that Princeton has really fantastic financial aid--the... Read morePublished on March 10, 2011 by Samantha Barbaro
I loved this book! It is hilarious and impossible to put down! It is about a likable recent Princeton grad who tutors rich kids in Manhattan in order to earn enough money to... Read morePublished on November 11, 2008 by K. Miller
Eliot Schrefer's Glamarous Disasters had me laughing throughout. I had no idea the world of SAT tutoring among the rich and privileged kids in Manhattan could be so... Read morePublished on April 2, 2008 by CL
I got hooked into purchasing this book because I wanted to read how the main character got $395 for tutoring. Read morePublished on June 12, 2007 by vvv
Having at one time worked for a very wealthy family, I understand the dynamics that can exist within this enviornment. Read morePublished on June 26, 2006 by Gentle Reader
It isn't often that I plonk down hardcover money on a debut novel, but something about this book's description intrigued me and I tossed it into the Amazon shopping cart. Read morePublished on June 23, 2006 by Deidre Knight
eliot schrefer's first novel is written to appease the pretentious, shallow knuckleheads who delight in devil wears prada land, only screfer's pen lacks weisberger's vampiness. Read morePublished on May 9, 2006 by nathaniel hawthorne