The Fall of Princes by Robert Goolrick

Cover of The Fall of Princes

The Fall of Princes by Robert Goolrick

Published by: Algonquin Books

Published on: August 25, 2015

Page Count: 304

Genre: Fiction

My Reading Format: Review copy sent to me for consideration by the publisher

Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook

Summary from the Publisher:

New York City. The 1980s. Young men, princes all. Too much money. Too much freedom. They thought it would never end.

In The Fall of Princes, bestselling author Robert Goolrick brings to vivid life a world of excess and self-indulgence, where limousines waited for hours outside Manhattan’s newest trendy club or the latest dining hot spot. Where drugs were bountiful and not refused. Where no price was too high and flesh was always on offer. Where a quick trip to Europe or a weekend on the coast or a fabulous Hamptons beach house were just part of what was expected. When the money just kept coming, and coming, and coming . . . until it didn’t.

Looking back on a Wall Street career that began with great success and ended with a precipitous crash, Rooney tells the story of how he and a group of other young turks made it to the top in the financial world and then, one by one, took a fall. For some, it was tragic; for others, it was the simple but bruising act of yielding to a life of mediocrity. For Rooney, however, it became a lifelong struggle to maintain a sense of dignity and to cling to the illusion of the life he once led.

My Review

When I was growing up in the 80s, the lives of 20-somethings looked so glamorous on TV and at the movies. While I had never given Wall Street life during that time period much thought, when I found out what Robert Goolrick’s latest book was about, I was excited to get a glimpse at that decadent era. After all, by the time my generation came of age, grunge was in and vogue was out. After reading The Fall of Princes I was thankful both for my time with Rooney and that I missed the soulless excess of the Wall Street culture of the 80s.

With A Reliable Wife, Heading Out to Wonderful, and now The Fall of Princes, Robert Goolrick has brought three distinct, compelling worlds to life. I can’t pick a favorite. I’ve loved what he’s done with each. The Fall of Princes did, however, surprise me with the raw emotion of Rooney’s insight. As he reflected back at his time at the top and the society within which he experienced it, the more obvious things were not the ones that made him remorseful, hurt, or angry. The truth in those moments scraped my heart and made this novel worth reading.

Robert Goolrick is one of my favorite modern authors. He consistently creates characters with unexpected dark places that are perfectly in tune with his writing style. Goolrick’s novels consistently result in binge reading, even when I’m not in an especially open to getting lost in book. If I weren’t such a glutton for his work, I’d be tempted to save his next novel for a deep reading malaise. While I recommend Goolrick without reservation, what makes him special to me is the way his books always energize me to read more. They remind me why I became a book lover in the first place. You just can’t beat that kind of pleasure.

Monday Mini ~ Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (Audiobook Review)

MondayMini3Getting back into the swing of things each week is hard. So is finding the quiet time to write a review over the weekend. In order to ease out of the weekend, I’ve decided to begin my blogging week with a mini review.

I did a lot of driving this summer. My last trip was to Columbus, OH to meet my best friend and pick up my girls after they spent a week with her and her family in Michigan. One the way there I finished an audiobook with an extra hour to spare. Nothing really caught my fancy, so I decided to revisit Rebecca. It was one of the free summer downloads from SYNC this year. Since it was a reread, I wouldn’t feel compelled to finish once I got back home. Right. I defy anyone to start this audiobook and not finish it.

Rebecca by Daphne du MaurierCover of Rebecca
Hachette Audio ~ Anna Massey ~ 14 hours 48 minutes

When I first saw the movie and then read Rebecca, I was a young woman myself much like the second Mrs. de Winter. I wasn’t at all confident in myself or clear about what I wanted to do with my life. I very much related to our nameless narrator. I could understand why she did and said the things she did, and I never once questioned Maxim. He was very much an authority figure, not a partner. Reading Rebecca then was a wonderful experience, but I found reading it with a gifted audiobook narrator as a woman with nearly 18 years of marriage and a thriving career under her belt even more enriching.

I admit to being disappointed to discover that Juliet Stevenson was not narrating Rebecca. I needn’t have been. Anna Massey is extraordinary. Her Mrs. Danvers turned my blood cold. The scene at Rebecca’s window was delicious. I enjoyed comparing Mrs. Danvers to Satan the entire time. As much as I enjoy loving to hate a character, what impressed me the most with this audiobook was the way in which Mrs. de Winter II matured and grew through Massey’s narration. She was a mousy, unsure girl as the story begins, but with perfect subtlety, Massey’s approach the character shifts as she becomes a more experienced, stronger woman.

After finishing Rebecca, I went to my local public library and checked out the movie. Hitchcock’s adaptation was the reason I read the book the first time. While I still enjoyed the movie, Massey’s narration made Joan Fontaine’s acting seem exaggerated. When an audiobook’s that good, you don’t really need the movie.

Special thanks to SYNC for making this listening experience possible! Be sure to bookmark their website for more free young adult audiobooks next summer.

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