“What’s the Point?
Prior to actually reading it, my understanding of Bonfire was that it’s one of those “must reads” for any self proclaimed American bibliophile because it is a landmark piece of cultural satire. Now that I’ve read it I can say that in no way does this book live up to ANY of its hype.
Although this is not the first time this has happened, it never ceases to irritate me when I walk away from a book with no actual “walk aways”, ie, “what a GREAT story!” or “did not see that twist coming”, or “I need a moment alone…those sex scenes were ridiculous!” After finish Bonfire, my only thought was, “ok, so what?” The story takes place in NYC circa the 80’s. The focal character is a quintessential, self made yuppie, Wall Street bonds trader whose life comes crumbling down after he’s involved in an unfortunate late night encounter in the Bronx, apparently the borough from hell during this decade. What ensues is a strange smattering of social clichés with little cultural context (I would’ve loved more references to the political and pop culture landscapes of the time) and zero character development. I suppose you could draw some parallels with greed of Wall Street then to the all out corruption of Wall Street today but when the author seemingly has no opinion about it, there is nothing the reader can do with it.
In short, this is 685 pages you could be spending elsewhere.
“The thing that I liked most about this book was the satirical perspective and the humor. I had orginal thought that I wasn't going to really enjoy this book as much as I did. The characters were colorful. the descriptions were very detailed. I think that I will enjoy reading more books by this author. ”Jill wrote this review Tuesday, April 6, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Loved it. Very descriptive. Could not stop reading it until there was nothing left...”PugLover wrote this review Monday, March 1, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A wonderful and prophetic view of NY at the end of the 1980's.”Debbie D wrote this review Thursday, February 18, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Brash. Funny. Vicious. Wonderful.”Gene K wrote this review Friday, January 29, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“more than anything, was an existential book for me.”Wendelle So wrote this review Tuesday, January 19, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Shelfari review: Tom Wolfe’s modern American satire tells the story of Sherman McCoy, a Wall Street “Master of the Universe” who has it all — a Park Avenue apartment, a job that brings wealth, power and prestige, a beautiful wife, an even more beautiful mistress. Suddenly, one wrong turn makes it all go wrong, and Sherman spirals downward in a sudden fall from grace that sucks him into the ravenous heart of a New York City gone mad during the go-go, racially turbulent, socially hilarious 1980s.
“Good story but was a bit drawn out. I may revisit it one day.”Valerie P wrote this review Saturday, December 19, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Interesting commentary on modern life; different writing style. Glad I read it.”Cathy D wrote this review Thursday, October 15, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No