Sunday, August 28, 2011


I love Bonfire of the Vanities. I read it in high school, college and now again at 33. I feel like I took away different impressions from the book now as compared to when I read it years ago. Plus, now that 23 years have passed since it was written, a lot is different in New York and it seems more dated, more of a reflection on New York society at the time.

So I'm sitting here watching the Weather Channel, watching New York and Connecticut get walloped by Hurricane Irene and thinking of how much I enjoyed this book and how much it makes me think. I was a lot more ambivalent about Sherman this time around. When I was younger, I was rooting for him as the hero of the book, and I wasn't sure I liked him this time. I found his moral ambiguousness startling. I thought it was inconsistent for him to stick up for Maria through almost to the end of the book, even though her interests and his diverged, while he was very easily able to dismiss Judy, his wife, for getting too thin and too interested in her decorating business. Usually Sherman acted entirely in his own interest but when it came to Maria, he had this glaring weak spot that proved to be his undoing.

Anyway, I loved this book as much as I did the first time. I raced through it and was sorry to see it end!

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