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People Like Us

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,656 ratings  ·  97 reviews
The way journalist Gus Bailey tells it, old money is always preferred, but occasionally new money sneaks in--even where it is most unwelcome. After moving from Cincinnati, Elias and Ruby Renthal strike it even richer in New York, turning their millions into billions. It would be impolite for high society to refuse them now. Not to mention disadvantageous. As long as the ...more
Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Published April 11th 2012 by Ballantine Books (first published May 28th 1988)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,656 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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Karen Fletcher
May 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recommend everything by Dominick Dunne. "People Like Us" is just so much fun. Read "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" and "A Season in Purgatory." His true crime books are amazing and his knowledge is based on personal experience and interaction with the rich and famous and dangerous. He was a victim of crime when his daughter was murdered by her boyfriend. Years of writing a column for "Vanity Fair" magazine enchanced his art, giving him a true insider's view. "A Season in Purgatory" is loosely based ...more
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 but since I have a fond spot in my heart for him he gets a full 5...

Dominick Dunne is Augustus is the story. His daughter, Dominique (the Poltergeist), was choked to death for 5 minutes by her jealous, psycho boyfriend in real life and also in the story. Lefty Flint gets 3 yrs for murder and great behavior. He plays out his fantasy to shoot him in the book. Gus is obsessed with revenge all the while dining with the uber rich New York crowd.

Elias and Ruby Renthal are the "new people"
Joy H.
Added 5/1/15.
I picked this book up for free somewhere. I started reading but bailed out after a few pages. I had a hard time keeping all the characters straight. In fact there were so many characters introduced so early in the book that I gave up after the first few pages. As my husband says, there didn't seem to be any "connectivity". I guess he meant that he didn't see where it was all going... how one character connected to the next. Anyway, both of us gave up in the very beginning. I don't
Brad VanAuken
This is pure entertainment. New money tries to break into New York society. Lots of very funny stereotypical characters interacting in entertaining ways. It revolves around the meteoric rise of a self-made billionaire and his maneuvering to become accepted by the very tight knit New York society to his rapid unraveling as his insider trading is revealed. This is the perfect summer read.
Sep 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fancy Pants
Recommended to Neva by: Me
I am fond of emphasizing the second word in the title. It sounds more pathetic. People LIKE Us! Or, even ask it: People Like Us? I'm sure one of these ways is just how Dominick Dunne intended the title to be said.

Maybe I should ask him.
There are few books I would describe as beautifully trashy, but People Like Us definitely fits the bill. Written in the heyday of 1980s excess, and apparently based on a number of Important Society Folk, People Like Us is the perfect mixture of salaciousness, opulence, and just enough heart to keep the reader from total disgust.

For the reader like me, who has more and more trouble keeping track of a large list of characters, do try and stick it out past the first few chapters. Dunne throws a
J.S. Dunn
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dominick Dunne is / was his own genre. Class warfare fiction? No one else comes to mind who captures the milieu of NYC's 'social x-rays' and with such great humor. As a bonus, he does actually know the difference between, say, Sevres and Meissen. Or, between Savonnerie and Savonarola. His insider bon mots are laughoutloud funny. Politicians, crooked investment gurus and bankers, they all appear, conjured in piquant detail and skewered where it hurts the most.
Feb 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fun read by DD.
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dunne occupied a rare place in our world, the guy who knows everyone! As such, he was uniquely qualified to capture this small and fading world in the time period that he did. While the phenomena of those with new money ascending to dominance amongst the established monied set is a story that has happened repeatedly throughout history, the extravagances of the new money in the 80's were highly entertaining as well as appalling to the rather sedate society that had held sway for quite some time. ...more
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It actually helps to read the fiction books in order. I remember starting with The Two Mrs. Grenvilles; I'm not sure why. Perhaps I just remembered that he died about a year before my daughter, and I'd come across the fact that his own daughter, the actress Dominique Dunne, was murdered in her 20s. Once I started them, I didn't stop. Characters will come in and out of following novels, and it was nice to recognize them. It was as if I was part of the community, albeit, not a very healthy one.

Emily Bails
I hesitate to describe this as a beach read.. it's got some substance. This was a book club pick; I wouldn't have selected it on my own, but have to admit I enjoyed it. The characters are totally unrelatable (seeing as how I'm not a millionaire/billionaire), yet I found myself rooting for certain people and applauding certain successes and failures. Dominic Dunne knows how to tell a story, and his detailed descriptions help paint a clear picture. I quickly wanted to read to the end to see how ...more
Sara Shores
I thought I would love reading about NYC high society... but had a hard time keeping all the characters straight and in the end just didn't care about their 'problems' (talk about dear conga...) it was entertaining but just OK.
Dianne Landry
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dominick Dunne wrote about high society and showed it to be just like the world of high school. Reading his books are a guilty pleasure especially while trying to figure out which society doyenne is which thinly veiled character. Trashy good fun.
Rebecca McNutt
Not a bad crime thriller; People Like Us is exciting, it's suspenseful and it has all the ingredients of a good book.
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trashy, sure, but sometimes you just need a little trash. I plowed right through it, so in fairness, I'm giving it 4 stars.
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strange book from start to end, but enjoyable nonetheless. The beginning was a lot to swallow, but a very fitting introduction- both to the characters and the book's pacing. There was a lot of pretentious language used throughout the book, but that's to be expected, considering the subject manner. The characters were funny and flawed and seemed fairly genuine, especially Gus and Ruby. There wasn't a character I didn't like, and few that I wouldn't have liked to know more about- though the book ...more
Jun 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Old money vs. new money. A story that was old before Mrs. Astor's 400, the accepted society at Almacks, and the castes of India. It is a struggle that is always gossipy and intriguing and Dunne does not disappoint.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a comedy of manners and ultimately a tragedy of morals, the story of the era of the eighties,when the rich went public. Somewhat different from the books I normally read. Old money vs new money.
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a huge fan of Dominick Dunne's crime reporting in Vanity Fair magazine and also on his TV series ("Power, Privilege & Justice"). Always at the core of the murder trials he covered lay his profound grief for the murder of his own daughter, Dominique. Whether the topic of his articles was the Melendez brothers, O.J. Simpson, or Phil Spector, I for one was always aware of that rage he kept under the surface for Dominique's killer. I suppose most readers saw this too.

Except for "A Season
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stinging indictment of the “old money” of NYC in the ‘80s. Along with the rise and fall of fictitious self-made billionaire Elias and his wife Ruby, there is the autobiographical story (loosely) of Gus Bailey who is on the fringe of this entitled society while battling his feelings of revenge for the murder of his daughter. But don’t expect a murder mystery, this book is all about high society and teeth and claws that inhabit the salons there, ready to tear down any upstart unfortunate enough to ...more
Martin Turnbull
Mar 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It’s been a while since I gave up on a book, but this one failed to hold my interest. As far as I can tell, it’s about a bunch of uber-rich New Yorkers, all of whom live vacuous and self-absorbed lives. A plotline like that might have sufficed in the time of “Dynasty” and “Dallas” but in the era of the obscene greed of the 1%-ers, I couldn’t care less about any of these people, and there didn't seem to be much of a plot so I gave up at the 15% mark.
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fun read, well written

I love Dominick Dunne. This book was a great way to spend the weekend. I was in a crummy mood when I started the book. Getting into this high class, trashy novel took care of that! Just a great read--no message, no shoulds. A chance to read about the rich and famous acting like idiots.
teresa McGee
Jun 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book.i like that the names of characters pop up in most of Dominic Dunne's books. I have read several of his books but this one was not my favorite. The plot seemed loose and I didn't think that ending tied up the loose ends very well but I did enjoy it.
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story of the change in social class on the Upper East side of NYC. Dunne must have though the plot too thin, and added a shooting, but I guess that is what classifies it as fiction. Issues of social class are what make this book interesting.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I forgot that I read this as a teenager. Completed the re-read because I forgot what happened to certain characters, and *had* to find out. High society New York in the 1980s was so ick. Must cleanse palate now.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Loved it! This is Dominick Dunne at his finest. I really enjoyed the characters and the stories throughout. It was a fun read.
Sandirad Maccom
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dunne at his best

What a super escape story. After Exodus, I needed this! Crazy twisted ending. I really lost my self in the life style
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
great one liners, can't believe i never read this NY city story or Dominick Dunne
Ursa Mahan-Worlds
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nice read

There's nothing I like better than reading a good book before going to sleep and this is a good one. Rich characters, good storyline.
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"People like us fed my appetite for shock and scandal with real class..."
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Dominick Dunne was an American writer and investigative journalist whose subjects frequently hinged on the ways high society interacts with the judiciary system. He was a producer in Hollywood and is also known from his frequent appearances on television.

After his studies at Williams College and service in World War II, Dunne moved to New York, then to Hollywood, where he directed Playhouse 90 and
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“We've all got trashy friends, but we should choose our trashy friends with more care.” 9 likes
“What am I going to say to my mother tomorrow?” she asked. “Take this in your mouth while you’re thinking about it,” he answered, pushing her head down on him.” 4 likes
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