Books and Movies Reviews

The Bonfire of the Vanities

The book The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe tells the story of an affluent businessman, Sherman McCoy, and how his life enters a downward spiral after a hit and run accident. The Bonfire of the Vanities takes place in New York City in the late nineteen eighties. Sherman is a thirty-eight year old successful bond salesman for a large Wall Street firm, Pierce and Pierce. He is married to an interior decorator named Judy and they have a six-year old named Campbell, who is very precious to him. Sherman is constantly bothered by the stress of having a million dollar loan to pay off for his Park Avenue apartment and by the guilt he feels about having a mistress. Maria Ruskin is a young, southern, attractive woman who is married to an older millionaire. The Bonfire of the Vanities also tells the story of Larry Kramer, an assistant district attorney in the Bronx. His lifestyle is dramatically different from that of Sherman McCoy. Kramer lives in a small apartment with his wife and infant son. Kramer, like Sherman, is trapped in a loveless marriage and dreams of affairs with young, sexier women than his own wife, Rhoda. One night after picking up Maria at the airport, Sherman makes a wrong turn in his Mercedes and they end up in a very bad neighborhood in the Bronx. Two young black men approach them and Sherman gets scared and assumes that they are trying to mug him and Maria. After a struggle, Maria speeds away and Sherman thinks they may have hit one of the boys so he suggests telling the police. Maria assures him that everything will be all right so Sherman pushes the accident to the back of his mind. However, a few days later, Sherman reads about the hit and run in a tabloid called The City Light. A drunken journalist named Peter Fallow had gotten word of the story and he made it into a scandal. A Harlem leader and opportunist, Reverend Bacon, has gotten involved in story and turns the accident into a racially motivated attack. The p…

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