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Elliot Allagash

3.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,082 Ratings  ·  155 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
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Random House (first published 2010)
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Jun 26, 2010 Alecia rated it it was ok
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 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.
Aug 31, 2010 CheshRCat rated it it was amazing
*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
Oct 20, 2010 CëRïSë rated it it was ok
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
Elliot Allagash is one of literature’s unrepentant monsters like Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. Unlike Jean-Baptiste, Elliot’s machinations are fueled in equal parts by disinterest in human beings, complete and utter disdain for them and the malicious urge to crush them simply for refusing his slightest requests. This attitude of his is fed by an over-abundance of wealth, a competitive, unloving father and the illness that may be killing him.

But Mr. Rich refuses to let us feel sorry for Elliot, just
Geoffrey Kleinman
Apr 05, 2016 Geoffrey Kleinman rated it liked it
I'm a fan of Simon Rich's writing and it's been nice to see him make the leap from short stories, like in his break out novel The Last Girlfriend on Earth: And Other Love Stories to full length novels. I liked Simon's first full novel, What In God's Name, and so I was interested to see what he'd do with Elliot Allagash.

Elliot Allagash is an entertaining and light story of an obscenely rich kid and the lengths he goes to entertain himself, hint: it involves messing with the lives of people around
Andrew Campbell
Jul 14, 2010 Andrew Campbell rated it it was ok
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.)
Jun 26, 2010 Nicole rated it it was ok
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.
What do you get the boy who has everything? A loser.

That's the premise of Simon Rich's Elliot Allagash, the story of social misfit Seymour Herson, who becomes the pet project of the title character, an incredibly wealthy teenager who has been kicked out of every prep school in Manhattan. Bored by the scene at his new school, Elliot uses his vast family resources to transform chubby duckling Seymour into a basketball-playing, class-election winning, Harvard-bound swan. Elliot's diabolical schemes
Clyde Kim
Apr 16, 2015 Clyde Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Moves like an indie comedy movie

If you like Wes Anderson films, this book will definitely be an appealing read. The book has a dry wit that could be found in an episode of the Office. It almost doesn't read like a common prose story. In many ways it reminds me of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy in presentation. The main storyline is separated with the musings and stories told by the main protagonist, Seymour and occasionally by Elliott's father. The only difference is that the narrative of this
Gretchen Rings
Jun 01, 2010 Gretchen Rings rated it liked it
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.
Mar 09, 2015 Aletha rated it did not like it
I guess I'm being pretty brutal giving this only one star but out of all the Simon Rich books I've read this one was just disappointing. It started off interesting but by the time I got halfway through it seemed like such a chore to read. Perhaps it wasn't supposed to be funny, but I don't remember laughing at anything. Maybe I was expecting the humor that I found in the other Rich books I've read.

I didn't like any of the characters, Elliot the most and Seymour especially toward the end. I agree
Feb 11, 2016 Birgit rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Nachdem ich von 'In Gottes Namen, Amen' begeistert war, enttäuscht mich Simon Rich diesmal stark. Seymour, ein unscheinbarer Junge, maximal ausreichend in der Schule und ohne Freunde, trifft auf den reichen Elliot, der daraufhin ein Experiment beginnt, wie man Seymour beliebt machen kann, nur, um sich die Langeweile zu vertreiben. Es folgen gefühlt endlose Intrigen, die anfangs noch ganz interessant klingen, deren Sinn und Zweck einem sich aber bald nicht mehr erschließt. Darüber sind beide Prot ...more
Mar 29, 2014 Nick rated it really liked it
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
Cody Gillespie-Lynch
Jun 01, 2014 Cody Gillespie-Lynch rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
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
Jun 05, 2010 Bethany rated it it was ok
What odd little book.
Jan 29, 2011 Raimy rated it really liked it
“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
Lyndsey O'Halloran
Mar 25, 2011 Lyndsey O'Halloran rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
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
Dec 21, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
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
May 06, 2013 Brandon rated it really liked it
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
Jun 15, 2011 Sophia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 21, 2013 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youth
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
Feb 22, 2013 David O'neill rated it really liked it
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
Jun 25, 2011 Jeff James rated it it was ok
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
Jan 22, 2011 Trin rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, american-lit
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
Nov 20, 2012 Devin rated it liked it
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 McCarthy Brett
Nov 14, 2014 Michelle McCarthy Brett rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Everyone should read it. It's a brilliant concept. I'm not going to say more than that. Because something else has been on my mind since I read it. There was a strange quote on the cover of my copy. Something like, 'Funniest book about teenagers since Catcher in the Rye' which befuddled me greatly because I thought there was nothing funny about Catcher in the Rye. In fact, I thought it was an utterly depressing portrait of a lonely, maladjusted teenager who right up until the ...more
Gila Gila
Aug 03, 2015 Gila Gila rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
Vaguely ashamed that I enjoyed at least the first half of this tripe as much as I did. Even for NY YA (NYAH NYAH?) it's pretty vapid, a sort of teen male nerd Pygmalion meets Arthur (more Dudley Moore than Russell Brand) and actually that's a dreadful description, worse even than this silly if sometimes entertaining little book. Enough of me. Enough of Simon, too, she said through jealous little teeth.
Where is that damn half star when I need it?
Jul 04, 2011 Michelle rated it did not like it
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
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
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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
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