Everybody Rise, a first novel by Brooklyn journalist Stephanie Clifford, was the hot book this summer — seen on bestseller and Best Beach Reads lists – then quickly incurring the inevitable backlash to the hype — because no book is liked by everyone, no matter how popular it gets.
Set in New York City before the 2008 economic crash, 26-year-old Evelyn — desperately resisting her class-conscious, nouveau riche mother’s urging to marry up and do it quickly – leverages her prep school alumna status to dump her mediocre post-college textbook marketing job to shill for an exclusive social media start-up — People Like Us — aimed at the beautiful people who appear in the Times‘ society pages, e.g. debutantes, former debutantes, family scions, eligible bachelors, etc.
Narrated wonderfully by Katherine Kellgren, the audiobook hooked me immediately, and should probably have gone on my 2015 list of favorite literary fiction on audio. Katherine Kellgren does all of the characters’ voices so well, but especially:
- Evelyn’s mother (social snob with an undercurrent of neediness);
- Evelyn’s prep school friend, Preston (drawling son of old money, with a strong whiff of despair);
- Evelyn’s best prep school friend, Charlotte (brisk and practical, but sympathetic to friends who aren’t as well-adjusted);
- Evelyn herself (smart enough to recognize her envy of upper-class privilege but not strong enough to resist it).
Listen to a spoiler-free AudioFile review and a clip from the audiobook on SoundCloud.
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Clifford, Stephanie (auth.)
Kellgren, Katherine (narr.)
12.5 hrs/11 CDs
Disclosure: I received a free advance review copy of this audiobook at a library conference last May, or possibly won it as a prize through Armchair BEA last spring.
Other opinions on the audiobook:
Literate Housewife (“pleasantly surprised”)
Publishers Weekly (“marvelous narration”)