Because I read so much, there are plots that I tend to see repeated in books. None more popular than the poor kid who gets dropped into rich society and learns that all rich people have secrets. The storyline has to have an added element of interest for me to not feel bored (the recent book, “White Ivy” by Susie Yang comes to mind). However, “The Fortunate Ones,” written by Ed Tarkington, stuck to a pretty safe script.
Poor kid, Charlie, comes from the wrong side of the tracks and ends up going to an elite private school in Nashville. He becomes friends with a boy named Archer Creigh, who serves as his emissary to the world of the uber-rich. Charlie learns that the wealthy have just as many problems as the poor. The book follows him through adulthood and shows how he manages to survive in an environment where lying and secrecy is the name of the game.
Because this book stuck to a pretty tried and true plot, I didn’t find any events shocking or surprising. This predictability left the story feeling really flat to me. Also, some of the most exciting or interesting plot points happened off the page – so just when I felt the story get a little juicy, it was passed by pretty quickly. I don’t want to give anything away, but the book would have benefitted greatly from leaning in to the more salacious plot points.
This book is a three-star read for me because there wasn’t anything particularly bad about it (but nothing amazing either). I didn’t connect to any of the characters and wasn’t too sad when the book was over. However, I think Tarkington could write more successful books in the future if he came up with a storyline that hasn’t been overdone already. His writing is straightforward and totally readable, so I can see why this book would have some fans. It just didn’t work for me, unfortunately.
*Free ARC provided by Algonquin Books in exchange for an honest review*