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The Fortunate Ones

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  174 ratings  ·  84 reviews
The Fortunate Ones feels like a fresh and remarkably sure-footed take on The Great Gatsby, examining the complex costs of attempting to transcend or exchange your given class for a more gilded one. Tarkington’s understanding of the human heart and mind is deep, wise, and uncommonly empathetic. As a novelist, he is the real deal. I can’t wait to see this story reach a wide ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 5th 2021 by Algonquin Books
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  • The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington
    The Fortunate Ones

    Release date: Jan 05, 2021
    "Tarkington knows how to let his finely developed characters do the heavy lifting... An impressive literary balancing act that entertains as it enrich ...more

    Format: Print book

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    Availability: 10 copies available, 1949 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Jan 12 - Jan 25, 2021

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Will Mitchell No, as a teacher myself, there are some scenes that I think are too explicit for early teens.
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    4.5 Stars

    ”And what we students of history always learn is that the human being is a very complicated contraption and that they are not good or bad but are good and bad and the good comes out of the bad and the bad out of the good, and the devil take the hindmost.”
    -- Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men

    This story begins with two men pulling up in front of a house, the third time in a month they were sent out on an errand to deliver unwanted news. By the time they stopped in front of this house
    Larry H
    Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: arc, blog-tour
    4.5 stars.

    Ed Tarkington's new book, The Fortunate Ones , was a great book to start off 2021 with!

    Charlie was growing up in a poor neighborhood in East Nashville with his single mother, and didn’t really think about what more life could offer. But when his mother gets him a scholarship to The Yeatman School, an exclusive private school, his life changes tremendously. Suddenly he realizes the ease by which people of privilege move through the world, seemingly impervious to problems and rules an
    I picked this book up to read the first few pages because I wasn't into my current read. What began as a few pages, turned into the prologue, then the first couple chapters and when I looked up 40ish minutes later, I was on page 60. I couldn't get enough of this story. I read the whole book in two days and it was a marvelous story. This was on its way to being a 5 star read and while the writing was superb, I think there was a missed opportunity. (I will explain that in a moment.)

    Charlie Boykin
    Amy Imogene Reads
    4.5 stars

    A Southern exposé in a certain way, with grace and pain wrapped between frankly beautiful written pages. I was not expecting to love this story of a white man in the South, but there are some kernels here and no one was more surprised to find them than me.

    Characters: ★★★★ 1/2
    Writing: ★★★★★
    Pacing: ★★★★★

    For those who know me here on Goodreads and in the book community, you might be thinking this really isn't my type of read. (You're totally right) A book written by a white dude, about a w
    Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
    Charlie Botkin is having a tough time adjusting to ninth grade at an elite prep school. His transition is awkward because he is on scholarship and from a working-class family. All that changes when Archer is assigned as his big brother. Charlie is drawn to Archer’s charm and kindness and also gets access to his privileged background. Charlie finds himself spending time in the upscale town of Belle Meade, Tennessee where he indulges in private parties, country clubs, and luxury vacations.

    Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
    This is one of those books that I thought after reading the prologue that it was going to be another not-so-subtle political diatribe and not my type of book - I was wrong.

    This book echoes the classic platitude of be careful what you wish for, as money does not buy happiness. In the 1960s, a teenage mom living in the South becomes pregnant by a boy drafted to Vietnam and never to be seen again. Her father is unrelenting about her raising a child out of wedlock in his house, so she chooses to be
    This was an exceptional story that really grabbed me from the beginning. The writing is superb, and a great character driven story I really enjoyed. The story is centered on Charlie Boykin, a son of a pregnant runaway, who was given an opportunity of a lifetime by being accepted into one of Nashvilles’s elite and most prestigious schools. In this story, Ed Tarkington writes about a great coming-of-age story that highlights wealth and privilege, friendships and loyalties, morality and corruption, ...more
    Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
    This was a compelling story about wealth, power, privilege, and entitlement; and the story of a young man not born to those things who is pulled into that world. I have spent a lot of the last 4 years questioning what has happened to people’s moral compass. This book explores blurry lines and how they are crossed, each time a little more easily than the last, until it’s forgotten that a line was even there. Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways and Algonquin Books for a copy of the ARC.
    Crystal Zavala
    Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
    The Fortunate Ones is a coming of age novel that follows Charlie Boykin from his entry into a private high school through adulthood.
    Honestly, I wasn't sure how much I would be interested in reading about privileged white boys in Nashville, but I was immediately intrigued by the prologue.
    When Charlie is unexpectedly accepted on scholarship to an elite private school, it triggers a confluence of events that change the trajectory of his life.
    The Fortunate Ones is a solid 4⭐ read. I did find the end
    Liz Hein
    Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it
    The Fortunate Ones is the story of average Charlie, and what happens when is he suddenly thrust into high society Nashville and is taken underneath the wing of Arch, a wealthy upperclassmen. Obviously, the shine doesn’t last long. It’s the story of pride, family, and trying to rise above one’s station.

    I’m guessing a lot of people will love this, but for me it was too polite at best a look at privilege. I didn’t realize this going in, but it’s a loose Gatsby retelling and still misses that mark
    Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: arc-netgalley
    Charlie Boykin is raised by a single mother who had to run away from home when she got pregnant. Eventually his mother's connections get him into an elite boarding school, where Charlie befriends a group of wealthy, privileged students. This is the story of those friendships and how they affect Charlie's life.

    This book is a character study; don't read it if you are looking for an active plot. It is the story of Charlie. How he and his mother's relationship grows and then changes when surrounded
    Oct 15, 2020 rated it liked it
    Charlie Boykin lives on the wrong side of the tracks or, at least, in the wrong part of Nashville. His mother fled her affluent life at 15 because she was pregnant with Charlie and defiantly unwilling to part with him. For over a decade she lived a hand-to-mouth life, raising Charlie, working as a waitress, living with her cousin, an aspiring singer who never moves beyond the local bar scene.

    Then Charlie lucks out. His mother dresses them both in their Sunday best and takes her son to an intervi
    Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: modern-mrs-darcy
    “Most of us imagine that, were we to be as have millions in the bank, to live in a sprawling have servants at our beck and call, to fly around in a private jet and buy whatever we liked without even looking at the price tags, to have a social calendar filled with grand events in opulence settings--most of us imagine this would be more than enough to make us happy, or, at least, content. But what if we were to have all of these things and discover that they weren’t enoug ...more
    Paige Green
    Dec 31, 2020 rated it liked it
    Disclaimer: I received this book and earc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

    Book: The Fortunate Ones

    Author: Ed Tarkington

    Book Series: Standalone

    Rating: 3.5/5

    Recommended For...: Historical fiction fans

    Publication Date: January 5, 2021

    Publisher: Algonquin Books

    Pages: 320

    Recommended Age: 16+ (sexual content, romance, law breaking behavior)

    Synopsis: When Charlie Boykin was young, he thought his life with his single mother on the working-class side of Nashville was perfectly fine. B
    Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: netgalley
    "Charismatic Southern Republican Senator commits suicide."

    Charlie Boykin thought he had escaped the past when Arch Creigh was the center of his world, when he had carried a torch for Arch's girlfriend, the beautiful Vanessa.

    The news sends Charlie reeling back in time to when he was the fortunate recipient of a scholarship to an elite private school where met Arch and was invited into the homes of the wealthy and privileged. It was a world built on tradition, the personal quashed for the sake of
    Addie BookCrazyBlogger
    Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: arc-s
    Charlie Boykin is a Casualty Notification officer in the Army meaning he’s the one who informs the loved ones of fallen service members, that they have completed their service with honor. He is at such a notification, when he notices on TV, that the charismatic Republican senator, Arch Creigh, has shot and killed himself. Charlie is shocked like the rest of the country, although for an entirely different reason: Charlie and Arch were classmates at an exclusive private school in Nashville, althou ...more
    Dini - dinipandareads
    I read this book as part of the blog tour hosted by Algonquin Books. Thanks to Algonquin for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    I’m quite conflicted with how I feel about this book because overall it was very enjoyable. Tarkington’s writing makes for easy reading and I sped through the story in a little less than two days because my mind wouldn’t stop coming back to it. I was captivated in the first half of the book and I was invested in Charlie’s coming-of-age story; however, my
    Phoebe E
    Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
    I wasn't sure what to expect when I began this book, but I was so pleased to end up really enjoying it. 'The Fortunate Ones' is a thoughtful musing on privilege and politics, and on the people we become. I loved the chance to follow Charlie's friendships and loves from the beginning and watch the ways in which each character spiraled into their own stories, all eventually reaching back to find each other again. The whole book feels very Gatsby-esque in the ways that grief and longing hang over t ...more
    A.L. Goulden
    Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    I couldn't put this novel down. I loved it! It has a nostalgic quality that yearns like a classic "lost generation" novel in the vein of The Sun Also Rises while also reflecting on wealth and privilege like a Fitzgerald classic. A tale of unrequited love and our common search for a meaning to this life. This is more than a story of lost innocence, it's that realization that comes too late in life that many of one's heroes are flimsy and trite. The themes of ambition and corruption and a confused ...more
    Sean Kinch
    Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    A novel of education, politics, love, family, secrets—and every combination of those ingredients.
    Lori L (She Treads Softly)
    Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington is a very highly recommended literary coming-of-age story that also mixes in class differences with a political drama.

    Charlie Boykin lived with his single mother and aunt on the working-class side of Nashville and relies on his friend to protect him until his mother arranges for him to be admitted as a scholarship student to the elite Yeatman school in the wealthy neighboring town of Belle Meade in the 1980's. Once there, Charlie is paired up with upperclassma
    Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
    The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington has been called a contemporary The Great Gatsby, and I can definitely see the similarities. Charlie Boykin is definitely from the "have nots" and the wrong-side of town according to those in the know in Nashville society. His life changes, possibly for the better and then again maybe not, when he is provided a scholarship to an elite all-boys school and is befriended by Archer Creigh. Over the course of Charlie's high school career, he eventually moves away fr ...more
    Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    The Fortunate Ones was one of those books I plowed through in just a few says. Author Ed Tarkington immerses the readers into the world of central character Charlie Boykin, a young man who lives with his single, cocktail-waitress mother ( a former debutante that fled her wealthy upbringing when she got pregnant with Charlie and her family was forcing her to give him up) in a lower income area in east Nashville. Charlie is perfectly happy with his life, and their African American neighbors who ta ...more
    Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it

    (My shift key isn’t working consistently so please forgive the capitalization errors!)
    I’ve been a Californian for more than 20 years now, but i grew up and went to college in Virginia, where I studied Southern writers as part of my English major. Ed Tarkington’s The Fortunate Ones was like putting on a comfortable pair of old shoes, ones I hadn’t worn in a very long time but had definitely walked some miles in long ago.

    It’s hard to beat a good coming-of-age tale, and this, a southern great gatsb
    Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
    *The Fortunate Ones is most certainly a book for those who, rather than shy away from discussions of privilege and political power in today’s America, want to shine a smarting, blistering light on it.*

    In the opening pages of Ed Tarkington’s forthcoming novel, The Fortunate Ones (pub. date: 5 January 2021), we meet Casualty Notification Officer Charlie Boykin as he informs a family of their lost son and soldier. We learn that Charlie’s own father died while serving in Vietnam before Charlie was b
    Denice Barker
    Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Much is said and written about class structure and the rightness of giving the less fortunate their chance at the good life and giving people the opportunity to make a choice. And all of that is absolutely true. But what happens when someone who was born to a single mother, goes to a school whose student body is from the same unrealized class background you are a part of, whose mother works more than one job to make a life for you and yet you don’t feel any less loved? And what happens when your ...more
    Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
    I was completely captivated by this book. The prologue grabbed me when Charlie Boykin, an Army soldier, is stunned to learn of the suicide of a prominent Southern senator, a senator he knew well. I immediately wondered what the connection was between the two men.

    We tend to be envious of “the fortunate ones”, the ones “born with a silver spoon in their mouths”. This is a strong character study told from the perspective of an outsider who has been granted access to the elitist insiders. Thus, we
    Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
    The Fortunate Ones was a delight to read with its dark fairytale feel, and I felt myself diving into a complex world. In the story we are provided with Tarkington’s acute understanding and keen observational insights of what it is to be human, the complex nature of family and the dysfunctional dynamics of a broken home.

    This story is a character driven plot and very much a character study. The reader will follow Charlie’s life and how he grows and changes based on his new life among the wealthy a
    Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: 2020, book-tour, arc
    "No one, however exceptional, transcends the bitter fact of his humanity. Like the man says in that old book they made us read back in senior year: 'There's always something.' And no great temple was ever built without a few bodies buried beneath its foundation."

    The Fortunate Ones is the story of Charlie Boykin, who was born to a teenage single mother and grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Nashville. When he ends up at a prestigious prep school, his life becomes intertwined with his weal
    Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    4.5 stars.

    The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington is a riveting coming of age novel set in Nashville, TN.

    Raised by his single mother, Bonnie, Charlie Boykin's father died in Vietnam before he was born. He and his mom live with his cousin in an impoverished part of Nashville.  His mother works as a cocktail waitress and money is extremely tight. But his life drastically changes when Bonnie secures Charlie a scholarship to a private school.  He is befriended by Archer "Arch" Creigh and Charlie is sudd
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    Ed Tarkington’s debut novel ONLY LOVE CAN BREAK YOUR HEART (2016) was a ABA Indies Introduce selection (top 10 debuts of the publishing season), an Indie Next pick, a Book of the Month Club Main Selection, and a Southern Independent Booksellers Association bestseller. His second novel, THE FORTUNATE ONES, is forthcoming from Algonquin Books. A regular contributor to, his articles, es ...more

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