FTS Book Club: “Private Citizens”

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The Book:

Private Citizens

 

The Author:

Tony Tulathimutte

 

What It’s About:

Although too proud to admit it, Linda is self-destructing. She graduated from Stanford in 2005 only to go on and pursue sex dungeon work, a constant cocaine high, and an utter denial of writer’s block. Her ex-fiance Henrik is an exhausted grad student with closet bipolar disorder and a disturbing childhood that helped foster it.

In this satire based on the early-2000s, an era we remember all too clearly, Linda and Henrik are thrown back into their sadomasochist tendencies when they decide to take a road trip with their old college friends, Will and Cory, who have rich story lines of their own.

Will, a computer-savvy introvert with a controlling, manipulative, and disabled girlfriend, is almost the antithesis of Cory: a chubby and wildly outspoken Jewish girl with big dreams that involve taking power away from big corporate.
Reuniting after years apart post-graduation, Tulathimutte takes us through the grueling years millennials face when they are forced to leave college and the comfort of their childhood bedrooms and take on the real world.

 

Thoughts:

This is honestly the best thing I’ve read in years. I wasn’t expecting it to be so fantastic, but it set the bar for every novel I will read from now on. I was completely enthralled by this book.

What I loved most is how personable the characters are. While we are shown each characters’ strengths (Linda’s confidence, Will’s humor, Henrik’s intelligence, and Cory’s thirst for goodwill), we are also given a healthy helping of their weaknesses (Linda’s addictiveness, Will’s passivity, Henrik’s anger, and Cory’s crippling insecurity). Upon reading, you may be caught asking yourself: Which character am I the most like? I know I was. It feels like each character is representative of a specific type of millennial, a category we all fall under in some way.

Although this is Tulathimutte’s debut novel, I got the sense that he has been writing for years. His words spoke directly to me as a college student and a millennial who experienced this decade firsthand. It’s bitingly funny, honest, and unapologetic. The reader is able to see directly into each character’s person: where they came from, why they are the way they are, and how likely they are to change and grow. It also ends rather openly, possibly setting Tulathimutte up for a sequel.

 

FTS Rating:

10/10

 

Tony Tulathimutte is a graduate from Stanford University who has written for Vice, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and more. He lives in New York City. This is his first novel.

Taylor Engle

Fashion and culture writer/editor at Forever Twenty Somethings. Judging your outfit. Let me write about it.

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