Adam's Reviews > The Bonfire of the Vanities

The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
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's review
Sep 08, 2009

liked it

It makes sense that this and Jay McInerney were popping up around the same time. Rich, cultured people in Manhattan in the 80s have problems too, you know? Feel bad for them. Having money is tough. I know Wolfe wasn't actually trying to say that, that this was more tongue in cheek, but, then, who the fuck cares.
Everyone in the book is terrible (except maybe McCoy's daughter but she'll grow up to be terrible, probably, in this world; well, the Lambs are good people, but Henry's never given a line and his mother only makes a brief appearance), it's impossible to care about the characters. Whether they're rich and gossip and want more money, or they're poor and how awful is that?
I don't see how Sherman becomes an admirable character as he twists and falls into a desperate animal. I suppose it takes guts to do what he does at the end of the book, but it certainly doesn't make him moral or admirable, at least in my estimation.

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