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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 24 reviews
on June 12, 2007
I got hooked into purchasing this book because I wanted to read how the main character got $395 for tutoring. Alas, $395 is how much the tutoring agency charges and is not the tutor's take home pay. This story reinforces my reasons for never wanting to be a bartender or perform customer service of any kind despite the financial rewards.

I managed to get through this book more easily than I did Academy X which this title is linked to by Amazon. I think this book will encourage if not convince people to just be yourself and not want to be either the tutor or the people who can afford his services.
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on October 23, 2012
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 goes
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on June 23, 2006
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. When the book arrived, I circled it a bit warily, but finally decided to simply dive on in. Boy, was I thankful I bought this one purely on impulse!

Mr. Schrefer is a fine author with a sharp eye for both scenes and characterization. Whether he's describing the exodus of midtown Manhattanites to shop at a trendy health food grocery store in Harlem (arrive by cab and sprinting the ten feet to the store's interior, then leaving en masse by taxi again--touching as little of the hot Harlem pavement as possible in the process). Or, more often, turning his keen attention to the students that Noah teaches--and their families. From the briefer descriptions to the bigger themes of the book, it's a deeply satisfying read. I loved this book and will be recommending it to my reader friends, as I've already been doing!

Congrats, Mr. Schrefer, on a fine debut!
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VINE VOICEon May 9, 2006
"Mixed Emotions", about the book and about the review. I would probably give this a 3 1/2, 4 too high, 3 too low, and here is why.

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.
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on May 7, 2006
Eliot Schrefer's debut novel does not read like a debut novel. His writing has a maturity that one doesn't often see in a first novel. His wonderful use of language and detail, his keen character development and themes, and his realistic insider view of a world most of us don't belong to testify to his rising star as a new talent that I am glad to have read and that I hope to read again.

Mr. Schrefer takes the time to build believeable characters and bring the reader into Noah's world and the people he knows and works with, thus strengthing a reader's investment with the characters and their choices. Don't be suprised if you find yourself wanting to talk to Noah and rage at Dr. Thayer. The characters are that believeable. I liked Noah. Mr. Schrefer made me feel and understand his struggles as he navagiated a world of weak and insecure people to come of age and learn to know himself.

This book was a excellent read. I highly recommend it.
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on June 26, 2006
Having at one time worked for a very wealthy family, I understand the dynamics that can exist within this enviornment. However, the main character is so vague within his sense of self to render the tale ambiguous and unsatisfying. Repeatedly, we're asked to make very fine moral judgements that do not jibe with either the characters or the tone. This could have been a much more interesting book.
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