What does it look like being an outsider who rapidly becomes interweaved with the lives of the wealthy? Ed Tarkington’s newest novel touches on just that idea while adding a modern touch.
Synopsis: (From Goodreads)
When Charlie Boykin was young, he thought his life with his single mother on the working-class side of Nashville was perfectly fine. But when his mother arranges for him to be admitted as a scholarship student to an elite private school, he is suddenly introduced to what the world can feel like to someone cushioned by money. That world, he discovers, is an almost irresistible place where one can bend—and break—rules and still end up untarnished. As he gets drawn into a friendship with a charismatic upperclassman, Archer Creigh, and an affluent family that treats him like an adopted son, Charlie quickly adapts to life in the upper echelons of Nashville society. Under their charming and alcohol-soaked spell, how can he not relax and enjoy it all—the lack of anxiety over money, the easy summers spent poolside at perfectly appointed mansions, the lavish parties, the freedom to make mistakes knowing that everything can be glossed over or fixed?
But over time, Charlie is increasingly pulled into covering for Archer’s constant deceits and his casual bigotry. At what point will the attraction of wealth and prestige wear off enough for Charlie to take a stand—and will he?
I enjoyed Tarkington’s relaxed way of weaving a story. He crafted this story so that the reader almost feels like they are sitting beside the main character, Charlie, enjoying a cup of coffee while he relives his past for you. It was very gentle and thoughtful. Many times throughout the story, Charlie draws on the tale of his life and adds in commentary and moments of reflection.
Another aspect of The Fortunate Ones that I picked up on was the way in which Tarkington drew attention to all the wrongdoings in the upper class homes in his stories. Their blind prejudices and at times their savior complex’s really created well rounded and dislikable characters.
The Fortunate Ones is a very relaxing read that is full of complex character developments with strong themes of love, friendship, privilege, and the hunt for one’s self.
Thank you Algonquin Books for letting me be a part of this book tour!