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Fierce People

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  659 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Fifteen-year-old Finn Earl's mother, Liz, is a thirty-two-year-old masseuse with a taste for cocaine. When Liz's habit forces them to flee the city, they find protection under the wing of one of her clients, ageing billionaire Mr Osborne. In Vlyvalle, a golden playground for the super-rich, Finn discovers a people who are stranger and more savage than any tribe in National ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 2nd 2009 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published July 5th 2002)
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Pamela Pickering
Apr 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coming-of-age
Every once in a while I try to pick up something which is different than my normal choice of reading material. This certainly qualifies. Quite a few reviewers have commpared this story to Catcher in the Rye which worried me since I detested the Salinger's classic. Surprisingly, I found myself drawn into Finn's tale. Albeit, Finn is a rebellious teenager, a liar, a bit of an asshole, and likes to use his recreational drugs, you just can't help but root for him. I think the difference between him ...more
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Beryl by: Sara
This is one of the best books I have ever read. Well written, incredibly told coming of age story. Beautifully developed characters. I was right there, watching it all. A masterpiece. I loved it!
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm gonna be honest. I saw the film before reading the book. The film was marvelous, with Donald Sutherland and Chris Evans being excellent as always. After reading the book, i realised they played the characters so well!
Wittenborns novel was equally brilliant to his screenplay but they're two different beasts and that's how I tend to look at most books and their movie adaptations. Appreciate them by themselves instead of comparing.
The book was definitely more tragic though, I found myself shoc
I made the mistake of reading this novel after watching the failure of a film. Don't do it! If you've seen the movie already, there's nothing in the novel for you. Most of the narration is taken directly from the text, and the revisions made for the screenplay don't detract anything important from the story as a whole.

If you haven't seen the movie yet, I suppose it's worth a read. But whatever this book does has been done better and with more style in The Catcher in the Rye, The Perks of Being
May 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose to read this book after reading Pharmakon by Wittenborn, a quirky novel I immensely enjoyed. Fierce People was nothing deep- just an enjoyable story with a main theme somewhat similar to Nick Carraway's disenchantment of wealth in Gatsby. It was fun to read how the main character (Finn) navigated the fierce social environment he is brought to. However, towards the end the novel took a turn for the worse and veered off into ridiculousness, or so I thought. Unfortunately the ending was pre ...more
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daily Mirror ”Impresionant…aruncă în aer ipocrizia visului american”
The Tmes ”Modern și feroce …oferă o privire nemiloasă asupra corupției celor foarte bogați”
Sunday Telegraph ”Deopotrivă sălbatică și amuzantă”
Chiar și autorul Dirk Wittenbornne zice despre cartea creată de el ”O carte despre o adolescență într-o Americăa libertăților depline, care aduce în prim plan intimitatea și frumusețeaanilor autodistrugători când sexul era liber, iar cocaina nu dădea dependență”
Cartea lui Dirk Wittenborn ”
Nov 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I thought the writing in this book was incredible. It was dense, descriptive, witty, and fast paced. Totally, utterly entertaining. I'm not surprised it's being made into movie. My ONLY criticism is this: I thought the writing was at such a higher level than the typical beach read that when I reached the end, which was insanely shocking and packed with surprises, I was almost disapointed because it was almost too "blockbuster." Is it possible to think a book has too entertaining an ending? I thi ...more
Jul 03, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw a preview somewhere of a film made from this book, and it looked intriguing, so when I found the book at a shop in London I figured I'd read it since it would probably be better the movie and who knows when I would see the movie anyway. After reading the book I'm curious to know what the movie version of it would be like. It's about a teenage boy whose mother is a drug addict and takes him to live in a wealthy town where she's working for a millionaire as his masseuse. The boy gets involve ...more
Jul 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gold diggers, money lovers
I never saw the movie, but the book... Dirk Wittenborn can write.

It really dived into the subtle selfishness of money. It creeps in like you wouldn't suspect, and makes some more evil than you could imagine. It's amazing how a family, filled with all the finest things in life, could be so dissatisfied. This books has it all, family, love, sex, deception, war-tactics... you name it.

Did you know that Dirk's nephew is Jamie Johnson of the J&J Pharma. Johnson's? I think this book might be about
Apr 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of The Emporer's Children and The Secret History
I liked this book a lot. I'm very stingy with five-star ratings, but I considered giving it five stars. Consider this a 4.5 star. There are probably enough page-turning, what-happens-next moments here for two or three different books. It strikes a pretty good balance on the predictable/unpredictable scale, the characters are interesting and sad and a little funny, and the narrator is appealing and believable. If each of those elements were kicked up just a notch further, and if the book had a bi ...more
I bought this book quite a while ago at a used book store years ago. It was a sale and I just grabbed whatever book I could grab. I'm actually glad I waited those years to read this or I probably wouldn't enjoy it as much. Back then I would have been extremely offended by 99% of the content in the book but life happened and now I'm chuckling at (and wishing for) my innocence. Either way, I enjoyed this book. A bit predictable near the end but a very good read. This is going on my favorites list.
Dirk Wittenborn offers up a humorous and witty coming of age story that follows rebellious, curious and relatable teen Finn Earl through his interactions with a wealthy and twisted family. The plot gives readers a peek into the world of the privileged through a cast of eccentric characters, and some of their behavior is downright disturbing. The book started out very strong and I greatly enjoyed the first half, but the action meandered around in the second half to a somewhat unsatisfying, predic ...more
Dec 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I seriously bought this book by accident at a book fair. I picked it up to check it out and in the mad frenzy of looking at more books I never even looked at it before I bought it. Thank God! Cause I know myself well enough to say that if I had read the dusk jacket flap I would have not wanted to proceed with the book. But the book so far is awesome! Very well written. Personal but also distanced from real life. You can sense the bear traps coming (of a sort) but you still want to keep reading e ...more
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent insight into the psyche of a troubled 15/16 year old boy. It has been compared favourably to Cather in the Rye and I would have to agree that this is a far better prtrayal of a troubled teen, and much wittier to boot! It's full of humour, has a bit of a dark side, starts off as a bit of a jaunt, though with a slightly seedy aspect and tumbles into a little bit of whodunnit mystery. An absolutely superb read with intriguing, alive characters and a fast paced story that will keep your ...more
Mark Speed
Oh dear. My criticism and that of the critics seem to diverge. "Both savage and funny" says the Sunday Telegraph. Maybe it's only savage, and it's only savage on the reader. I honestly didn't find this witty or engaging. I'm sure there's an audience for it somewhere. Not here. Sorry.

Just looking at Wikipedia here. Apparently it was cinematized in 2005. What? Oh, you mean made into a film/movie that didn't work either. Apparently it 'earned negative reviews'. Wow - apparently it was so bad it had
Jun 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

What a great book. It wasn't what I would have usually picked up for a holiday read, but really enjoyed it nonetheless!

I found myself laughing at the characters in this unusual story... I really give credit to Wittenborn for that!

Wittenborn did a fabulous job in this one- it gave insight (whether accurate or not I would not know) into a world that most would never get to know, and into perspectives and characters that we also would never seem to know.

I really enjoyed Fierce people, and found it
Calyb Burton
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this. The drama, though on a couple occasions more over-the-top than was necessary, is still wildly entertaining. I personally really felt sympathy for Finn, and enjoyed when things more-or-less worked out for him when all was said-and-done. This is one of the books responsible for getting my back into reading a couple years ago now, and it will always have a spot on my shelf!
Christopher Cariola
Quirkiness in books, when used correctly, can work wonders to get a story to work even if it's a simple one.
This book did not do it for me. First, the main character and narrator, Finn is just not humorous enough and the supporting characters just run through the cliche aspects of their characters. His cocaine addicted mother, Liz and living off of an aging billionaire, Mr. Osborne, never made me feel riveted enough to enjoy.
The book reads off as an unfunny television screenplay.
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ich fand das Buch gut, aber "Ein letzter Sommer" hat mir besser gefallen. Vielleicht auch, weil es nicht wirklich ein so schönes Ende genommen hat, wie in diesem hier. Zum Schluß hat er geerbt, seine Ex-Freundin ist total verstört, weil der Großvater den Enkel auf einer Insel für immer verbannt hat, und der hat es auch noch verdient. Ich schwanke zwischen drei und vier Sterne.
Wendy Siryj
Jul 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved this book. Loved the complex characters, and the book captured the 70's beautifully. This book reminded me of my all time favorite book, "Music for Torching" by A.M. Homes, another book about dysfunctional families. A great read for those that like quirkiness!! Look forward to reading more by this author.
Harry Tomos
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know how this book would read, I liked the synopsis on the back but it was a great book, some twists I did not see coming, a couple I thought were coming didn't, a bond between mother and son who clearly just loved him and he just loved her despite their flaws, yes I have to say I really enjoyed it!
Carmen wells
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't love this book, but I genuinely enjoyed it. There's a lot (I feel) was written in purely for shock value, but I found myself wanting to read it quickly to see what else would happen and how it would all end. I wasn't disappointed.

Prepare for a dark read. The sticker from the book shop I purchased it at says "funny," and "witty." It's not. If anything, it's kinda sad.
Jul 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My nineteen year old nephew shoplifted this book , pretty daring if you consider the shocking pink cover and yellow edged pages. So glad he did ! (I don't actually condone theft , karma will catch up with him )Anyway , excellent summer read fast paced and plot thats twisted to say the least.
Gary Lee
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A strange, uneven, satirical tale of American class structure placed in late 1970s. This novel started off very strong, but ended in a strained mess of cliches and predictablity.
(If nothing else, it made for an interesting parallel read to Hollinghurst's The Swimming-Pool Library.)
Dec 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written, engaging from the first couple of pages, and characters that I will remember. I realized that I saw the movie halfway through reading this book...strange way to read it. For that reason, I enjoyed the first half more than the second.
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, young-adult
Saw the film with Diane Lane as the mom and Anton Yelchin as the son, Finn. I really liked this one. The blurb compares this to the Catcher in the Rye, and the cynicism and wise-beyond-his-years vibe is certainly there.
Kate Spinklesparks
Loved the book, it got really interesting toward the end, the twist made it a really addictive read but I was actually expecting a double twist or something at the end (even though what you find out is pretty disturbing). Could've ended better but I really enjoyed reading it.
William Waller
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. At once witty and unsettling, Fierce People savors the best things in the worst people, and dramatizes what we often talk about but never fully attend to: the problem of money and how we cope with it.
Apr 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes the contemporary-bildungsroman genre
a hilarious & fiercely "classy" bildungsroman / anthropology of American "old money" - manages to stay emotionally real despite increasing outrages of plot as it snarks along.

(note: i'm rating this one without the final chapter, without which ever-after-all tack-on the book is much stronger.)
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written from the point of view of a teenaged boy. Reminded me of "Cather in the Rye", but made me laugh instead of cry!
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DIRK WITTENBORN is a novelist (Fierce People, Pharmakon), screenwriter and the Emmy-nominated producer of the HBO documentary, Born Rich. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter and summers on the wrong side of the tracks in East Hampton, NY.
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“We are the sum of all people we have ever met; you change the tribe and the tribe changes you.” 78 likes
“A real miracle's a reminder and a warning that the line that separates the possible from the impossible isn't as firm as we like to think it is.” 3 likes
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