Have you ever read a book like mad just to get the darn thing over with? That’s what I’m doing right now. It’s not that I Am Charlotte Simmons is a bad book. It’s not. Tom Wolfe is a wonderful author. Reading this book is like getting a second hand look at the thought processes I had when I was in the midst of the worst two years of my life suffering from PPD. Charlotte’s situation and neurosis are very different from mine, but it all stems from “perfection anxiety” that is entirely focused on the body. I recognized this pretty quickly after the first time I found myself yelling inside my head, “If she thinks about that again I’m going to throw this book against the wall.” If Tom Wolfe were to write a novel about me, Charlotte would do the same thing. “Get over it already!”
While I’m determined to finish every book I start this year, it is tempting to skip over some of those page and a half long paragraphs. I just can’t wait to finish this book. It’s painful to get such a close-up look at how crazy things were in my head while I thought I was thinking and reacting in a perfectly rational way.
Tom Wolfe accurately paints a portrait of someone whose unrealistic expectations for herself and her body morph into a deep depression and anxiety when experiences related to those expectations head south. That isn’t all that is included in this book. It’s a pretty interesting look at modern college life. I Am Charlotte Simmons is different from anything I’ve read thus far. I don’t regret reading the book, but I’ll be very happy when Charlotte and my experiences with PPD are put someplace on a shelf and get lost in the dust.