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Vanity Fierce

(The Indignities #prequel)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  102 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Graeme Aitken's last novel was fifty ways. This novel is fabulous in fifty different ways...bitchy, funny, camp, tender, vain, glamorous, capricious, Sydney itself where this tale of the city is set. The ultimate comic novel of gay Sydney — Armistead Maupin meets Melrose Place at the Mardi Gras!

Stephen Spear is everyone's golden boy (includi
Kindle Edition, 518 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Random House Australia (first published December 3rd 1998)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  102 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Experiment BL626
CAUTION: Long Review

If you have read 3-5 romances, then you have read at least one where one of the obstacles, if not the obstacle, is a “friend” of the couple who has an unrequited love for one of the couple. That “friend” is often meddlesome, selfish, and rude, serving as a contrived proof that the couple belongs together. Stephen Spear is that “friend,” and he’s worse.

This isn't really a mm-romance; the tag is for my benefit. I only tagged it as such because the book focused entirely on Steph
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
This book was a read-to-review for Net Galley, and I really tried to finish it. I really did. The problem is, I hated it. I hated it so much. I DNF at 40%.

The premise of the book is as follows: Stephen Spear is a golden boy. Everything comes easily for him, and he is universally adored by everyone at his high school. He is athletic, good looking, and son of a famous actress. When he moves out on his own and becomes infatuated with his neighbor, Anthony, he is shocked and dismayed to find out th
Andrew Chidzey
This was the first book I have read by Graeme Aitken - I picked it up in a book store in Sydney that I visit 3-4 times per year (great independent bookstore in Darlinghurst). I am indifferent - on one hand I enjoyed the witty prose and the fact that the book was set in and around Sydney (which I could easily visualise). On the other hand - I think the description of Aitken as 'Australia's answer to Armisted Maupin' is flattering at best. The writing was somewhat predictable in parts and I found ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The odd genre listing is because while Vanity Fierce was a contemporary when it was new (1998), it’s definitely a look at a very specific time, and simply isn’t transportable into current day. Which is fine—we need periodic reminders of what went before, because it affects our world now.

Our protag, Stephen, introduces himself to us while he’s in the Australian equivalent of high school and brings us along for the next few years of his life in Sydney, while he’s exploring his sexuality and trying
Sammy Goode
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stephen fancied himself in love…or perhaps it was the idea that Ant was a conquest—someone who held him at arm’s length when he had always been the “golden boy”. With an actress for a mother and a distant father whom he suspected was a closeted homosexual Stephen was able to drift through his life, never really having to take responsibility for himself or his actions.

He was a careless, young, handsome boy who left a string of one-night stands in his wake until he crossed paths with the somewhat
Casey Carlisle
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbtqia, contemporary
This was a nice break away from my typical reads, and it was great to see Sydney shine through the text.

Getting a glimpse into a life far different from my own, shedding a humorous eye over the darker side of the Kings Cross and Darlinghurst gay scene in the nineties… a truly surprising novel. There were times when it started to drag – especially in excerpts from the novel featured within the story, but on the whole thoroughly entertaining. I applaud the usage of this to take a peek into a diff
Elisa Rolle
With the title literary reference, I was expecting for Vanity Fierce to be a metaphor on how beauty is not all in life… but indeed I have the feeling that Stephen, the golden boy whose life is the center of the novel, didn’t catch the moral theme of his story, and I’m pretty sure he is still convinced that being the more beautiful of the batch is the ultimate solution. The fact is that, he is so sure of his persuasion that the reader admittedly has to agree with him, and while he is probably the ...more
Bear And Back Again
I’ve read this book about 20 times. I genuinely love it. Every other book I’ve read where the main character is the ‘villain’ I’ve had to put down. Because I just don’t care about the villain enough. But this book sucks me in. Maybe because I lived in Sydney at the same times this was based. Maybe because I, like Stephen, was madly in love with Ant. But something keeps me coming back. And I fall in love again every time I read it. I know that a lot of the younger people won’t understand the comi ...more
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
This was wild. All that shit that happen because of the main character not being able to say what he feel. Be honest with each other people. Very good, I've enjoyed every tense moment of it. ...more
Jonathan Solomon
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is of its time, a snapshot of an almost golden era of Sydney life in the 1990s. I really enjoyed reading this novel and a big part of what drew me in was the gossip-like storylines and personalities. This novel is in some ways like an encyclopaedia of gay life. Stephen Spear as a character can be quite unlikeable and it is unusual for me to read novels where an unlikeable character is telling the story. There were insights dropped throughout this novel that made me stop reading every s ...more
Dec 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Possibly one of my favourite books (and I am still kicking myself for turning down a job to worth with the author in his bookshop in Sydney!), Vanity Fierce deals with some dark themes but still remains upbeat and funny throughout.
Despite doing some awful things to achieve his ends (or get his end away with the man of his dreams, as the case may be) the main character is still so well written that you can't help but like him and understand why he does the things he does. There are times when I
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read-books, lgbt
Hilarious, enjoyable and very funny. A rare book which had me needing to read it each day. I read most books on the train to work and put them away when I get home, but this one I could not put down. Stephen’s antics in his love quest with the too-hot-for-words Ant were something I’m sure we have all done sometime in our early youth.
So far I've read it twice, but that was 15 years ago. I finally found a copy on online with the Australian cover sleeve at Hares & Hyenas - http://www.hares-hyenas.c
Rachel (Sfogs)
Finally finished!
This book was ok, but was very long-winded.
The main character I really couldn't stand.
He calls himself the 'Golden Boy' though spoilt, selfish brat springs more to mind.
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now this was a funny book. I was slightly wary when I first purchased it many years ago, but I was laughing throughout. Can recommend it to anyone.
Jun 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit
This is a fantastic book. I've written a paper on it and will pop it in here just as soon as I get a moment to do so :).

*sigh* The paper I wrote about this book is too large to add.

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The Indignities (3 books)
  • Time to Upsize (The Indignities #1)
  • Private Party ( The Indignities,  #2 )
  • Me, Myself and Someone Else (The Indignities, #3)

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