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Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

July 1, 2013

Rules of CivilityKatey and her friend Eve are working class girls in Manhattan in 1937. On New Year’s Eve, they meet the fun-loving – and rich – Tinker Gray and 1938 begins with a fast friendship.  I loved Rules of Civility by Amor Towles because taking a look inside 1930s Manhattan was absolutely fascinating.

Seeing Katey and Eve’s lives in the working class was super interesting, but a stark contrast to Tinker’s dinner parties, servants, and fancy clothes. The carefree lives of the three friends changes with an accident, and the dynamic of the friendships is altered. As Katey navigates this new landscape, we see her move in new circles, tackle obstacles at work, and become more independent. And we can’t help but fall in love with her. She’s spunky, smart, witty, and independent. I just loved her.

Eve, on the other hand, was a little too self-centered and conniving for my taste, and I didn’t see how our smart and lovable Katey would consider her a good friend. Tinker Gray is immensely likable, a fun and sensitive character, and I loved when he and Katey matched wits. We also meet tons of other characters, get an inside look at the bar scene in New York, and see our three friends grow and change over the course of the years.

Towles has created a terrifically compelling book filled with very interesting characters. From the description of a day as a secretary in a male-centric law firm to the intricate details of high class clothing, from navigating the streets of Manhattan to the endless glasses of gin, Rules of Civility dips you right into the 1930s so you’ll never want to leave.

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