I finished reading A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff last week, and I’m going to be blunt about it.
It wasn’t boring by any means–there was enough drama spread amongst the group of friends–but it just wasn’t made…. dramatic enough. AFA follows an upper-class group of Jewish college kids from the 1990’s into the post-September 11th world. The problem was, I never cared about any of them. There was no point to the story at all. In fact, their petty lives and “first world” problems completely annoyed me. They were all so pretentious and awful–Sadie, Dave, Lil, Emily, Tal, Beth–and whomever else. Not to mention their AWFUL choice in mates that we had to hear about for 10+ years. My god. Never have I ever read a book where I actively disliked the main characters. Seriously.
Think Muffy, Buffy, Chip, Kip. Polo shirts and croquet mallets. Pinkies out on tea cups and white fluffy dogs.
Gag me with a stick.
And there were so many of them. Sheesh. It was pretty hard to keep track of them all for the first few chapters. Rakoff could have really halved the character list and been better off for it. The people were absolutely insufferable from start to finish. Lil married Tuck in the first chapter. He is such a complete asshole that I was inwardly screaming WTF are you doing with this loser-face?! Not to mention her friends knew what a bad person he was (and all the sneaky things he was up to) and never bothered to tell her! It really irritated me. Then–towards the end of the book–the random blunt loss of a character took me off guard. Ok…. Well I guess we didn’t really need them! I wasn’t saddened by the loss, but I was irritated by how the information was presented.
Plus, the whole book was told in third person–which nine times out of ten is a mistake. There was hardly any dialogue breaking up the long, LONG paragraphs about their poor-little-rich-kid lives. Give me a break. They’re all going to private schools and getting Master’s degrees on trust funds–do you really expect me to feel sorry that you got knocked up by a moron? OR that you married someone you LITERALLY just met. Unbelievable.
I cry Tiffany diamonds for you, I really do. Little bourgeois twerps.
(By the way, bourgeois is one of my least favorite words of all time. You sound pretentious and pompous just saying it.)
Maybe my slow, Southern upbringing just didn’t prepare me for this story–but in this case I’m gladly an outsider. Simply put, A Forunate Age was just unfortunate.
1 bagel with fucking lox out of 5