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Everybody Rise: A Novel Paperback – June 14, 2016
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“Full of ambition and grit. Clifford provides sharp-eyed access to a moneyed world and its glamorous inhabitants.” ―Emma Straub, New York Times bestselling author of The Vacationers
“A masterful tale of social climbing and entrenched class distinctions . . . Tense, hilarious, and bursting with gorgeous language. Stephanie Clifford is a 21st century Edith Wharton.” ―J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of The Engagements and Maine
“A superb debut. Everybody Rise is a 21st century version of a grand 19th century novel--a smart, moving tale of class, ambition, and identity.” ―Malcolm Gladwell
“A compulsive, up-close-and-personal read about the first cracks in the greed-and-bleed U.S. economy that went flying off the rails so spectacularly a short time later.” ―Library Journal
About the Author
As a New York Times reporter, Loeb-award winning journalist Stephanie Clifford covered courts, business and media. A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard, she grew up in Seattle and lives in Brooklyn. Everybody Rise is her first book.
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Top Customer Reviews
The main failing of the book is that none of the characters are particularly well-developed or likable. Evelyn’s motivation for embracing the high society life is never sufficiently explained, and rather than coming across as conflicted or struggling, she just becomes more and more unlikeable throughout the book. The other characters are similarly one-dimensional. Camilla, the “perfect” society girl that Evelyn befriends, is never portrayed as more than a grade A b**ch. Why Evelyn is so taken with her is mystifying. The group of friends who connect to bring Evelyn into the story – Camilla, Nick, Scot, Charlotte and Preston – seem to have nothing in common or any reason to spend nights and weekends together socializing. Evelyn’s boyfriend Scot is consistently described as a kind of affable dork who never seems to interest her or have much of anything to say. As a result, there’s no entry point for the audience to care about their relationship or how Evelyn treats him.
In addition, the plot points don’t seem to organically connect, instead coming across as contrived and disjointed. Major elements of the plot (like the incident at the debutante ball that disrupts Evelyn and Camilla’s “friendship”) seem to come out of nowhere. Events that drive the story, like whether her father is guilty (and if so, why no one else at his firm is indicted), or whether her friend Preston is gay, are never satisfactorily resolved. The looming housing market collapse and stock market crash are never used as more than background noise.
About halfway through this book, I realized that I didn’t care about anyone in it and so I speedread through the rest. I didn’t expect Everybody Rise to be great literature, but I at least expected it to be entertaining. This book has neither the fluffy escapism of Crazy Rich Asians or the hilarious satire of Where’d You Go Bernadette. Don’t waste your time on it.
While I enjoyed the book and enjoyed the realistic and not over-the-top view of high society New York, I had two main problems with this book: one was Evelyn's motivations, and the other was Evelyn's relatability. First off, her motivations. I liked the way the author introduced Evelyn's job (membership building for an exclusive social media site) as her initial reason for wanting to break into the high society set, but there's no way around how archaic her desire to be accepted felt. And also how after the fact - four years at a prep school, four years at a private liberal arts college, and four years out of college and she'd never wanted to fit in with the super rich, but then suddenly, it's her only motivation? And her mother, her mother's desperate struggles to be accepted by the wealthy (and to push Evelyn into a "proper" marriage) were just awkward and anachronistic.
Secondly, Evelyn's relatability. I'm a fan of an unlikeable narrator, but this was something else. As Evelyn is reaching to be accepted by the crowd she's identified as A-list, she begins lying. And then just compounds lie upon lie. It's hard to like, or even relate to, or even understand someone who is making up stories left and right when there isn't even a reason to make up stories.
In terms of the ending, anyone who has read Edith Wharton or F. Scott Fitzgerald or their ilk knows that things usually don't end well for the social striver. I don't want to give anything away, but the ending of this book is neither tragic nor pat. It felt believable, and I liked that.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A story about a bunch of insufferable bores and the girl who desperately tries to fit in with them. Evelyn Beegan is an on-the-fringe outsider.Read more
Evelyn grew up just on the outskirts of everything, she went to the fancy prep school, but wasn't in the in crowd.Read more