Jeannette's Reviews > Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
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Jan 02, 12

bookshelves: adult-fiction, 2011-read, being-your-true-self, between-the-wars, five-stars
Recommended to Jeannette by: Diane D.
Read from December 28 to 31, 2011

Rating 4-1/2 stars.

There are so many things to recommend about this book. It is well-written, and peppered with passages that make you laugh, or cry, but always make you think. The characters are well-drawn, and fully human. And, it had so many twists, that it was never predictable; it always kept me reading.

Tinker Grey, handsome and well-bred, lives his life by the principles set forth by a young George Washington, The Rules of Civility of the title. The author includes all 110 Rules at the back of the book. Katey Kon tent is working-class tough, and lives by a set of maxims passed down to her by her Russian immigrant father and uncle.

“Old times, as my father used to say: If you're not careful, they'll gut you like a fish."

”Whatever setbacks he had faced in his life, he said, […] he always knew that he would make it through, as long as when he woke in the morning he was looking forward to his first cup of coffee.”

These two meet in a NYC jazz club, in 1938, when Tinker is on top of the world, and Katey is just beginning to work her way up. This chance encounter will change them both, but not in ways the reader expects. Katey will move back and forth between this new world of the rich and powerful, and the old world of her six-story walkup.

Katey’s life takes many unexpected turns, and this kept the story very interesting, and made for a compelling read. I came in to this read expecting some standard between-the-wars fare, but almost immediately, the author tips that notion on its head. And, then the ride begins.

I initially awarded this book 5 stars, but there are a few minor points with the book’s ending that just didn’t quite ring true for me. The Epilogue brought tears to my eyes, and really brings home the message about life that the author wants us to take away with us.
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Quotes Jeannette Liked

Amor Towles
“It is a lovely oddity of human nature that a person is more inclined to interrupt two people in conversation than one person alone with a book.”
Amor Towles, Rules of Civility

Amor Towles
“In our twenties, when there is still so much time ahead of us, time that seems ample for a hundred indecisions, for a hundred visions and revisions—we draw a card, and we must decide right then and there whether to keep that card and discard the next, or discard the first card and keep the second. And before we know it, the deck has been played out and the decisions we have just made will shape our lives for decades to come.”
Amor Towles, Rules of Civility

Amor Towles
“If we only fell in love with people who were perfect for us...then there wouldn't be so much fuss about love in the first place.”
Amor Towles, Rules of Civility


Reading Progress

12/28/2011 page 27
8.0%
12/28/2011 page 78
23.0% "Old, times, as my father used to say: If you're not careful, they'll gut you like a fish."
12/31/2011 page 251
75.0% "There is nothing predictable in this story. I really like it!"
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Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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Diane D. Jeannette, I'm so happy you added this!


Jeannette Hard to ignore a 5-star rating. :)


Diane D. Yeah, and I am not too forthcoming with my 5 stars :)


Jeannette I'm not either. It looks interesting.


message 5: by Kathy (new) - added it

Kathy Great review, Jeannette! I'm adding it to my list.


Jeannette Thanks, Kathy! I really did enjoy it.


Diane D. Jeannette, excellent review!


Jeannette Thanks, Diane! And, thanks for making me aware of this book. :)


Diane D. You are welcome. I'm always nervous when I make a glowing recommendation, but so far, everyone feels the way I do about this one. But my goodness, you could be a professional reviewer!


message 10: by Jeannette (last edited Jan 03, 2012 04:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeannette Thank you! That's truly a compliment coming from someone who loved the book. I have a hard time writing these kinds of reviews. It's always hard to find the right kind of phrase to describe this kind of good writing.

Of course, I composed the perfect review while lying in bed, and once it is out there, it evaporates. I wonder why that is?

Were you completely convinced by the ending? Maybe you could PM me, because I want to talk about the ending, but not on the review thread.


message 11: by Kathryn (new) - added it

Kathryn Sounds wonderful! I have read "Washington's Rules of Civility" and loved them. Some great wisdom there, but some are also just so hilarious.

So, would you say this book is more on the uplifting or depressing side? Sounds wonderful, just want to be sure I come to it with the right expectation ;-)


Jeannette No, not uplifting. Thoughtful, honest (maybe), more real-life, I think.


message 13: by Kathryn (new) - added it

Kathryn Jeannette wrote: "No, not uplifting. Thoughtful, honest (maybe), more real-life, I think."

Okay, thanks so much!


Jeannette Well, I hope it helped. It's certainly not chick-lit, no fluff. But, I don't think it's meant to be depressing, either, even though it has it's share of unhappy moments.


message 15: by Kathryn (new) - added it

Kathryn Jeannette wrote: "Well, I hope it helped. It's certainly not chick-lit, no fluff. But, I don't think it's meant to be depressing, either, even though it has it's share of unhappy moments."

That's good. I don't like completely depressing books, but if there is a share of happy and sad, like real life, sometimes I am in the mood for those. This sounds wonderful, so many glowing reviews by trusted GR friends!


Linda Cohen It's wonderful so far Jeannette! I knew when I saw it in the new book area at the library it was a sign. :)


Jeannette I'm glad you are reading it, Linda! It's one of those books that I just really enjoyed reading, being submerged in the world of the main characters.


Diane D. Jeannette wrote: "Thank you! That's truly a compliment coming from someone who loved the book. I have a hard time writing these kinds of reviews. It's always hard to find the right kind of phrase to describe this..."

Holy cow, Jeannette, I totally missed this comment from you until today when you just commented to Linda. I am so sorry. I will pm you.


Jeannette Stupid goodreads notifications! I didn't even notice, I'm sure! :) But, still, I'd love to hear what you think about the ending.


Linda Cohen This was just optioned for a movie-read the news this morning! He held out forever and when he got the terms he wanted finally said OK.


Jeannette Wow. I hope they do a good job with it. Maybe Tom Hiddleston for Tinker Grey? But, who to play Katey?


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