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People Like Us Mass Market Paperback – November 28, 1998


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (November 28, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345430549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345430540
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,177,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Best-selling author ( The Two Mrs. Grenvilles , 1985) and Vanity Fair contributor Dunne presents a contemporary comedy of manners (really a satirical "tragedy of morals") that examines the values of Manhattan's old families and "nouveau riche" alike. Juxtaposed against the problems of opulent "Social Register" types at the "best" parties are basic issues with far-reaching consequences, often escaping the understanding of these inbred members of high society. When disasters touch those at the top, their lives must be reshaped, enabling some to restructure their existences more realistically. Discerning readers will find much to ponder within sublevels of this entertaining story. Highly recommended. Ellen R. Cohen, Rockville, Md.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Dead-on-target."
--The New York Times Book Review

"MERCILESS."
--The New York Times Book Review

"SPICY."
--Los Angeles Times

"WICKEDLY SHARP."
--Philadelphia Inquirer

"HILARIOUS."
--Los Angeles Daily News

More About the Author

Dominick Dunne (1925-2009) was the author of five bestselling novels, two collections of essays, and "The Way We Lived Then," a memoir with photographs. His final novel, "Too Much Money," will be published in December 2009. He was a Special Correspondent for "Vanity Fair" and lived in New York City and Hadlyme, Connecticut.

Photo (C) H. Thompson

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 38 customer reviews
Mr. Dunne was a great writer.
Dog Mom
Lots of very funny stereotypical characters interacting in entertaining ways.
Brad VanAuken
Dominick Dunne is truly missed because all of his books are so fun to read!
rcurl777

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By JLind555 on January 16, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"People Like Us" is a very 80's novel about the rich who are supposed to be different from you and me. It is a story about the hautest of the haute New York society in the latter half of the 1980's, a time when the rich rushed off in limousines to the most exclusive parties every night, oblivious to and unconcerned about the homeless who camped out in cardboard boxes on the sidewalks outside their luxury condos. It brings us the creme de la creme of the old line WASPs in the Social Register who take themselves terribly seriously, much more so than anyone else does. They are a dying breed and it's probably just as well.

At the very top of the pile, breathing the rarified air of the upper strata of New York society, sits the Altemus/VanDegan family, led by Lil Altemus and her brother Laurance VanDegan, quintessential snobs, sure of their self-worth, loathing the "new money" that is invading their sacrosanct circle of friends and acquaintances. Lil's son, Hubie, is a disappointment to his family; he's gay, kicked out of Harvard for cheating on a Spanish exam ("the language of maids" huffs his uncle Laurance), and hopelessly in love with his Puerto Rican hustler boyfriend Juanito; and her daughter Justine marries a TV anchorman, Bernard Slatkin, whose name will most definitely not be found in the Social Register. Charging headlong into this formerly impenetrable social ring is Elias Renthal, who has made billions of dollars on Wall Street through hostile takeovers and financial wizardry, and his beautiful, ambitious wife Ruby.

Observing from the sidelines and taking notes is Gus Bailey, the ever-present "spare man", available to squire single ladies to dinners, balls, etc.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By colin.r.delaney@vanderbilt.edu on July 25, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was my third Dominick Dunne, having already read A Season in Purgatory and An Inconvenient Woman. In those, heh-hmm, novels, Dunne delved well inside what appears to be his favorite topic: the wealthy and powerful who get away with (or try to get away with) crime. Here, Dunne chronicles the life of the New York upperclass from the perspective of a man haunted by his own demons, placing crime in the past and delaing with its after-effects head-on.
This novel basically reveals how thoroughly morally bankrupt (parts of) the upperclass can be, with a devilish leading lady, plenty of dynamic newcomers, enough tragedy to make the work compelling, and titillating sexual subplots. I only wish I could figure out which real-life people Dunne's actually writing about.
Technically: the literature is fresh and revealing, as Dunne finds yet another way to work his masterful craft; compare his seemless persona-jumping in A Season in Purgatory. Although I wouldn't recommend s! tarting to read Dunne's "novels" with People Like Us, it is worth the experience.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By HeyJudy VINE VOICE on May 6, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Dominick Dunne's many books are consistently excellent, and PEOPLE LIKE US is no exception to this rule.
Like virtually all of his novels, PEOPLE LIKE US was inspired by real people and real events. As always, Dunne provides an insider's view of the life of the rich and famous. Here, Dunne details the conflict between the old society money and the newly minted billionaires who arrived in Manhattan at the end of the financially over-heated 1980's.
It's fun, in hindsight, to figure out on whom he based some of his characters. Any reader who remembers those days will say, "Oh, that's Mr. T...and that's Mrs. G. And that restaurant is M, and the handsome newscaster, the interior designer, etc., must be...."
As ever, Dunne's writing is so facile that the pages just fly. Quite a story he weaves, too, with lots of memories of a fascinating period of modern history.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Karen Potts on July 17, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is a gossipy, fascinating, fictional look at the wealthy and their values. Of course, it's all about money and power, and the old guard having to put up with social interaction with the nouveau riche whose social skills have not quite caught up with their financial well-being. Central to the plot are Elias and Ruby Renthal whose somewhat shady backgrounds at first scandalize the established social gentry, but who eventually become social scions by virtue of their lavish parties and improved manners. Woven among the phony, materialistic values are a few characters who show refreshingly genuine emotions of love and selflessness. This is an interesting study of a group of people who indeed have more money than sense.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Reed on June 21, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved this book- there are many, many characters and yet the book flows smoothly and is entertaining and satisfying from beginning to end. I've read this book three times in the last ten years and each time, I feel like I'm revisiting old friends.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tragiclaura on August 8, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a great companion book to The Bonfire of the Vanities. I have been a longtime fan of Dunne's writing for Vanity Fair, but this was the first piece of fiction by him that I have read, and I wasn't disappointed. This book is fun, gossipy, and a real page-turner. Is it important literature? No. But who cares? If you like books about High Society or the New York social scene, this one's for you.
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