Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Honestly, when I type “by Amor Towles” I just want to add a big ol’ heart by his name. I will forever love him for writing A Gentleman in Moscow.

This one? It was ok.
I never felt particularly attached to our main character, and that’s fine. I don’t need to love who I’m reading about, but I do want to understand them.
Her motives were strange to me. Her story was vague. I had no connection to or interest in the setting.

The best way I know to describe my experience with this book is to explain how I felt as a young teenager watching the old Sydney Poitier movie, To Sir, With Love. There is a scene where one of the female students walks into the class and Sir confiscates a paper bag from her. He pulls out what is in the bag and reprimands her harshly about having self respect, or something like that. Given the context, I could tell that what was in the bag was deemed inappropriate, maybe a birth control device or drugs? I had no idea what the thing was. The viewer watching in 1967 would have known.

That’s the feeling I was getting from Rules of Civility. Like, what are you people motivated by and what is actually happening in your lives? If I was a socialite in New York in the 1930s, then I would have followed along nicely. And no doubt Mr. Towles, (swoon) knew the time he was writing about and did an excellent job painting the picture. But I had a hard time really grasping the emotion of what this girl was going through. There was this whole conflict where she became angry at a particular character and basically froze him out for being less than authentic, you know, deceptive, fake. But I’ll be honest with you, I felt like she was the same way.

Everything ends well with her and she achieves the life style she was shooting for.
I didn’t really dislike her, I just could not relate to her.
That’s not Mr. Towles fault.
Obviously, that man has no faults.

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