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City Boy: A Novel

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  149 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Newlyweds Jack and Chloe are building a life together in a modest Chicago apartment. The city is theirs to enjoy as Jack struggles to pursue a writing career and Chloe works downtown, applying herself to the world of high finance. While Jack aspires to be the perfect husband, his own self-doubts and Chloe's office flirtations cast shadows. Jealousy and mis-behavior undermi ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 5th 2005 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30)
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Rod Raglin
Sep 04, 2014 Rod Raglin rated it really liked it
Like experiencing the deterioration of a friend’s marriage

Jean Thompson’s novel, City Boy, is not a big story. It’s what she does best, tell us about the everyday lives of people we know. It’s not a great love story, nor is it a tragedy except in the way that we interpret our lives and the lives of those we know.

Jack and Chloe are newlyweds living in Chicago. They are among “the entitled” – both only children from affluent families, university educated, young, good-looking, white.

They have plan
Jul 23, 2009 Lindsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if anyone else would consider this a beach read, but I read it on the beach and it was perfect for that.
Andrea MacPherson
Aug 31, 2014 Andrea MacPherson rated it it was ok
I loved Thompson's "The Year We Left Home", and I liked "The Humanity Project". But it seems the further I go into her backlist, the less enthusiastic I am

The novel started out well--young couple move to new city apartment, meet curious cast of other tenants--but it went downhill about halfway through. Stylistically, the additions of Chloe's journals came too late to feel cohesive. The secondary characters drifted in and out, but reappeared at convenient times with major roles in the story.

Joan Colby
This book invokes the question, at least in this reader’s mind, as to why some men love women who are mean to them. The answer for Jack is that Chloe is beautiful and disturbed; he can never believe his luck in acquiring her as his wife. As for Chloe, she viewed Jack as a promising young writer, but the reality became that she became a trainee in an upscale banking firm, while Jack subbed at a junior high school in the inner city and worked desultorily at a novel he’d lost faith in. Chloe embark ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I'm really growing to like this author. This one has two main characters who are very hard to like, but for me, easy to relate to. Not for everyone, but I very much enjoyed it.
Sep 11, 2007 Jenna rated it liked it
I'm a recent Jean Thompson convert, and love her short story collections. This was the first of her novels for me, and I was a little underwhelmed. Seemed like a time marker, the kind of book that a writer could write fairly easily between more demanding projects. The Thompson voice and characters were still there (although I thought the protagonist and wife were both oddly too immature and stodgy for their ages), but I hope that her other novels delve a little deeper and involve characters I ac ...more
Nov 06, 2011 Drew rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Last week I read "The Year We Left Home" and enjoyed it so much I'm now in search of all of her work. "City Boy" was equally captivating. Jean Thompson writes with great depth and understanding of modern love and family, and makes storytelling seem effortless. I can't wait to read more of her work.

Her style and skill reminds me a bit of Francine Prose, another of my favorite novelists.
Dec 28, 2012 Stefan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wry. Very wry. Very, very, wry. Beautiful, classic ironic prose style.The author keeps her story very well on track. The sad reality of too many young hopefuls after university who are not mature enough. Laugh or cry as you prefer. Close to the quality of "Revolutionary Road".
Jun 09, 2011 Kathy rated it liked it
I liked this book, not as good as her others I have recently read. As always, she develops some really interesting characters. It is like a train wreck, though, to read about the damage people inflict on each other in a relationship.
Jul 14, 2012 Alex rated it really liked it
My first Jean Thompson experience. This woman can write some dialogue. I think arguments are difficult to write, and she writes very good arguments. I'll be reading more of her ....
Jul 03, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
Very entertaining! Really enjoyed this book - please read my full review for it at
Jul 04, 2013 Gina rated it it was amazing
Couple move to an apartment building. husband is a writer and becomes involve with the pot smokers upstairs. wife cheats
May 12, 2013 Katelyn rated it did not like it
Shelves: didnt-finish
Couldn't get past the first chapter and gave up. That rarely happens so it should tell you something!
Feb 04, 2011 Annie rated it liked it
Shelves: books-2011
This got a little out of control (plot/character-wise), but it was an engaging read anyway.
Deb Oestreicher
Well done depiction of a young couple starting out, but I couldn't love these characters.
Aug 02, 2009 Kathy rated it liked it
Loved her short-story collection, Who Do You Love. This didn't quite measure up to that.
Jul 13, 2013 Carol rated it it was ok
Too lurid for me. No redeemable characters.
always fun to read a book set in Chicago...
Beth Shields-Szostak
Jun 22, 2010 Beth Shields-Szostak marked it as to-read
Shelves: signed
1st edition, signed by author
Mar 11, 2011 Catherine rated it really liked it
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Nov 12, 2014 Kelly rated it it was amazing
<3 her
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Jean Thompson is a New York Times bestselling author and her new novel, The Humanity Project will be published by Blue Rider Press on April 23, 2013.

Thompson is also the author of the novel The Year We Left Home, the acclaimed short fiction collections Do Not Deny Me, and Throw Like a Girl as well as the novel City Boy; the short story collection Who Do You Love, and she is a 1999 National Book
More about Jean Thompson...

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