Elliot Allagash
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Elliot Allagash

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  726 ratings  ·  129 reviews
Simon Rich dazzled readers with his absurdist sense of humor in his hilarious collections Ant Farm and Free-Range Chickens. Now comes Rich’s rollicking debut novel, which explores the strangest, most twisted, and comically fraught terrain of them all: high school.

Seymour Herson is the least popular student at Glendale, a private school in Manhattan. He’s painfully shy, phy...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Random House (first published January 1st 2010)
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Alecia
This is another book I would like to give a 2.5/5 star rating to. Not quite a 3, but extra cred for it's very funny conceit...a brilliant, disturbed, uber rich kid (Elliot Allagash) is manipulationg the protagonist, Seymour, as a kind of sport. Elliot's goal...to make Seymour, a fellow 8th grader who is extremely unpopular, into the most popular kid in school. Some of the parts are funny, but the novel as a whole is too thin and uneven to work as well as it should.
CheshRCat
*There are some minor spoilers in this review, but not large enough ones that I felt the need to click the "this review contains spoilers" button. If you are really paranoid, don't read it, I suppose.*

I saw a write-up for this book in my city's newspaper, and based on what I saw in the review, immediately became desperate to read it. When I finally got my hands on a copy, I was not disappointed.
Elliot Allagash tells the story of Seymour Herson, a chubby boy in grade eight who is the lowest of t...more
CëRïSë
I read this book based on a glowing review, and though I can't now recall the source, I was sufficiently moved to place a hold on it at the local library, and to consider buying it online in case I couldn't wait.

It was a welcome enough diversion (and thankfully arrived at the library before I was forced to purchase it), and the speediest of reads: I finished it in a single afternoon. I didn't think it was terribly funny, although there were certainly some creative bits. I think I would probably...more
Andrew Campbell
SNL writer (and almost impossibly young-looking) Rich displays flashes of real comic invention, but ultimately the book's milquetoast protagonist keeps the book from biting. The details of how the obscenely wealthy Allagashes flaunt and perpetuate their wealth are delightful, but the rest can be found in almost any other comic novel set in high school. (And there are a lot of those, esp. lately.)
Nicole
This was an odd book. I liked the basic idea of it - it reminded me of one of my favorite films, Election, due to the setting and the general plot. It would have made a better short story or novella. There's just not quite enough "there" there to fill a whole novel, and it seems padded/repetitious. Not bad - but could've been better.
Gretchen Rings
An evil teenage billionaire named Elliot Allagash is poised to take over his new prep school--and the world--in this hilarious first novel by Saturday Night Live writer Simon Rich.
Nickawgomez
I fond this book to be intriguing. The concept was simple and classic high school drama but the execution was more complex. Seymour does what so many would do given the chance he did. Although, going the extra mile to perpetuate his lies without Elliot and having it last years is highly questionable. That being said, his "demise" of sorts saved him but wasn't in any way caused by his choices. From start to end, he was the whim of Elliot. I was disappointed that that was the only twist; Seymour b...more
Bethany
What odd little book.
Raimy
“He just sat there, writing. Sometimes he ripped a piece of paper out of his notebook, crumpled in up and tossed it onto the floor. And once in a while he snapped his fingers before jotting something down with a flourish.”


From the minute you start reading this book you can tell that Elliot is not a normal boy. He’s introduced by Seymour telling his parents that Elliot had pushed him down the stairs, and Seymour’s parents throw this comment away by telling him that Elliot was rich. It was like w...more
Lyndsey Rushby
I felt really sorry for Seymour to begin with. For starters, the way he introduces his parents to Elliot is by telling them that he pushed him down the stairs. I was kind of glad, but a bit worried, when Seymour and Elliot became friends. If you can call it friendship anyway. As the two start to spend more time together, it is quite clear that Elliot is walking all over Seymour, even if Seymour cant see that. Seymour does start off well though, questioning Elliot’s choices in his schemes and pla...more
Rebecca
Dec 21, 2011 Rebecca rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
This was a very strange and weird YA book, that thankfully was an easy read. While easy, weird can trump all sometimes and make me not like something and this was just at the cusp. As an adult, I thought the book was pretty stupid, but kids might like its weird and craziness. A total loser/nerd becomes friends with a fellow loser but rich kid who because of his money can manipulate anyone anyway he wants. I found this annoying, especially in today's society, it still teaches kids that the more m...more
Brandon
Elliot Allagash sat on my bookshelf for quite a long time suffering from several afflictions: I could not remember who recommended I read this book. It has a dreadful cover. It has an awkward title. And, so, it sat for quite a few months before I finally decided to just pick it up and start reading... to get it over with.

Lucky for me, the book quickly eliminated any reservations I had about reading it, and got me turning pages very quickly. In fact, I read it over the course of just a couple sit...more
Sophia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rudi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adam
I was recommended "Elliot Allagash" by a fellow teacher when I was looking for something to read on the bus ride home. She told me that while, for adults, "Elliot" is a bit divisive (she loves it, another colleague hated it), it seems that boys of a certain, middle school age, love it unconditionally. I can see why. The book is as close to standard wish-fulfillment as you could get for a teenage boy and still be found in a school library. Elliot, the character, is basically a boy's version of th...more
David O'neill
Seymour Herson is a Jewish boy looking back at the past five years of school, in which he formed an unholy alliance with Elliot Allagash. The latter is a Machiavellian scion of a family that made money by accidentally inventing paper. Seymour attends Glendale (an alternate form of Dalton, which author Rich attended) and, until he befriends Allagash, has no redeeming characteristics, in fact few characteristics at all, save for ubiquitous victimhood. Allagash takes it as a challenge to make this...more
Jeff James
I read Elliot Allagash in one three-hour sitting. It was mildly entertaining, and I remember laughing once or twice, but ultimately it's a remarkably slight novel that felt like a padded novella with pretensions of more. However, it's a quick, easy read, and I finished it before it could lose my interest or outstay its welcome.

The book charts the transformation of one Seymour Herson from chubby high school outcast to aloof popular kid cheating his way through life. His ascendancy comes thanks t...more
Trin
Rich’s books of humorous sketches—especially Free-Range Chickens—totally cracked me up. However this, his debut novel, disappointed me. The plot sounded promising: Seymour, an unpopular nonentity at his New York private school, is befriended/falls into the clutches of rich, deeply fucked up con artist Elliot Allagash. Sounds sort of like The Great Gatsby if Gatsby were evil, or The Catcher in the Rye if Holden had the emotional energy to scheme. (Note: I said sort of.) I usually love that type o...more
Devin
In Elliot Allagash, Rich has created a fascinating, compelling, bewildering -- even tragic -- character. The book focuses on the relationship between Elliot and the first-person narrator, Seymour Herson. In many ways, Elliot embodies that figure we all wish we knew during our awkward middle and high school years: someone who, lavishly wealthy and ensconced in a world of entitlement and power, can make anything happen with a snap of his fingers. In mere months, Elliot transforms dorky, awkward Se...more
Anthony Eaton
This one came to me highly recommended as ‘a fun read’ and I would have to say that the description was dead accurate. it's kind of like a particularly nasty version of Cinderella, written for 14-year-old boys. There are touches of the Grimm brothers, of Clueless, and of any number of US high school films lurking in the background of this one. The title character, the eponymous Elliott Allagash is possibly one of the most compellingly revolting characters I have read in recent times. And yet, de...more
Michelle
I bought this book at Barnes & Noble and now I do not even want to look at the back of it to see how much it cost, simply because I was so disappointed that I am certain to regret the purchase. I found it in the Best New Paperbacks section, and from reading the blurb, I was under the impression that it would be a darkly funny adult novel that was about high school. Such things exist, and it is likely that that is how the shelvers classified it upon placing it in that section.

But it was shel...more
Euryale
Entgegen der Anpreisungen ist das Buch nicht zum Schreien komisch (obwohl ich an einer Stelle wirklich einen Lachanfall bekommen habe - der unsportliche Seymour soll Basketball lernen und damit er auch genügend Trainingspartner hat, gründet Eliot eine ganze Jugend-LIGA für ihn - göttlich!)

Je weiter das Buch voranschreitet, umso tragischer wird die Geschichte. Die Stories und Betrügereien von Elliot und seinem Vater sind teils unterhaltsam, aber oft mit einem unangenehmen Beigeschmack verbunden...more
Amy
Funny send-up of high school and the super rich. Seymour is the least popular kid in his Manhattan prep school. Elliot is devious and rich beyond measure. Elliot decides, as a way to amuse himself, to make Seymour the 9th grade president. The story is about Elliot's manipulations, and about how lonely and out-of-step he is himself.

I actually liked the sidebars best, such as Seymour's description of his more humble family--their obsession with brisket, his parents' placement of post-it notes to c...more
Jenna
I picked up this book by chance at an out of business sell a while ago and just got around to reading it. I wasn't really expecting much but I loved it, it wasn't the best i've ever read but it was worth my time, i think.
Danna
Simon Rich tells a witty, entertaining, and creative tale of two teenage boys. Elliott Allagash is filthy rich, descending from the inventor of paper. He is also difficult, brilliant, and a con-artist. He plots to help Seymour - the narrator, an unpopular, picked-on nobody to become the most popular kid in school. The book tells wild stories of Allagash's family schemes, and also of Seymour's unorthodox rise to the top of his high school. The book is very short and a page-turner, which is good,...more
Shana
Even after finishing this novel, I still can’t decide if I think it’d be better as YA or adult fiction. I guess it’s a good crossover, in a sense. The main character, Seymour Herson, is your typical unpopular nerd character who lacks charisma, intelligence, and ambition. Along comes Elliot Allagash, a bajillionaire with too much time on his hands, who makes Seymour is personal pet project. Predictably enough, Seymour eventually does mature to the point where he understands that he shouldn’t be a...more
jingybopa
Not sure why I tried this book. I skimmed Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations, and also Free Range Chickens. I was less than impressed by both of those books. Nothing in either of those books struck me as even slightly clever, let alone funny. This book did nothing to change my opinions on the merits of Simon Rich as a humorist, or a writer. It was an easy read, but was so uninteresting, I was unable to finish it. For a vastly superior book (in both the writing, and the humor department) wh...more
Marsia
ELLIOT ALAGASH is a story of the narrator's extraordinary friendship with an extraordinary person (Elliot Alagash) and his equally unusual father, Terry Alagash. They are two of the richest males in the world, and the story tells how they use their money to satisfy their infantile desires--because they can.
(Well, wouldn't you?)

The story is funny, a bit touching despite its antisentimentality, and full of surprises. The antics to which Elliot and Seymour, the narrator, get up are generally inven...more
Belle
Aug 10, 2011 Belle marked it as dnf
I gave up on this one. I've never liked to do this to books, but there are just too many that I want to read at the moment to persist with ones that do nothing but infuriate me. I got up to page 73, can't stand the characters - especially Elliot - and I'm not enjoying the story at all, so I've had enough. After reading the reviews on here it seems a lot of people had a similar experience even after finishing it, so I really don't want to keep reading now. The quotes on the cover are very mislead...more
Brian
I went into this with cautious optimism. This was the lowest rated of Rich's books, and I had just read "What in God's Name?" and thought it was good, but no "Ant Farm". I was surprised at how much I like EA. I never found myself losing interest, despite it being far more dry than WIGN. You can definitely tell why it was picked up by a guy like Jason Reitman, though. He'll make an awesome movie out of it, plus Rich is also adapting the script. All in all, another great book from Rich. Definitely...more
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158635
Simon Rich (born 1984) is an American humorist whose first book, Ant Farm and Other Desperate Situations, was published by Random House in April 2007.

Rich is an alumnus of The Dalton School and a former president of The Harvard Lampoon, and the son of The New York Times editorialist Frank Rich. He received a two book contract from Random House prior to his graduation from Harvard University in 200...more
More about Simon Rich...
Ant Farm and Other Desperate Situations Free-Range Chickens The Last Girlfriend on Earth: And Other Love Stories What in God's Name The Married Kama Sutra: The World's Least Erotic Sex Manual

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