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The way journalist Gus Bailey tells it, old money is always preferred, but occasionally new money sneaks in—even where it is most unwelcome. After moving from Cincinnati, Elias and Ruby Renthal strike it even richer in New York, turning their millions into billions. It would be impolite for high society to refuse them now. Not to mention disadvantageous. As long as the mar The way journalist Gus Bailey tells it, old money is always preferred, but occasionally new money sneaks in—even where it is most unwelcome. After moving from Cincinnati, Elias and Ruby Renthal strike it even richer in New York, turning their millions into billions. It would be impolite for high society to refuse them now. Not to mention disadvantageous. As long as the market is strong, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about—except for those nasty secrets from the past. Scandal, anyone...?


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The way journalist Gus Bailey tells it, old money is always preferred, but occasionally new money sneaks in—even where it is most unwelcome. After moving from Cincinnati, Elias and Ruby Renthal strike it even richer in New York, turning their millions into billions. It would be impolite for high society to refuse them now. Not to mention disadvantageous. As long as the mar The way journalist Gus Bailey tells it, old money is always preferred, but occasionally new money sneaks in—even where it is most unwelcome. After moving from Cincinnati, Elias and Ruby Renthal strike it even richer in New York, turning their millions into billions. It would be impolite for high society to refuse them now. Not to mention disadvantageous. As long as the market is strong, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about—except for those nasty secrets from the past. Scandal, anyone...?

30 review for People Like Us

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karen Fletcher

    I recommend everything by Dominick Dunne. "People Like Us" is just so much fun. Read "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" and "A Season in Purgatory." His true crime books are amazing and his knowledge is based on personal experience and interaction with the rich and famous and dangerous. He was a victim of crime when his daughter was murdered by her boyfriend. Years of writing a column for "Vanity Fair" magazine enchanced his art, giving him a true insider's view. "A Season in Purgatory" is loosely based I recommend everything by Dominick Dunne. "People Like Us" is just so much fun. Read "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" and "A Season in Purgatory." His true crime books are amazing and his knowledge is based on personal experience and interaction with the rich and famous and dangerous. He was a victim of crime when his daughter was murdered by her boyfriend. Years of writing a column for "Vanity Fair" magazine enchanced his art, giving him a true insider's view. "A Season in Purgatory" is loosely based on the 1970's Martha Moxley/Kennedy association murder. I have read all of his fiction and most of his nonfiction. He died a few years ago and I wish there were more to his legacy of literature.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    4.5 but since I have a fond spot in my heart for him he gets a full 5... Dominick Dunne is Augustus is the story. His daughter, Dominique (the Poltergeist), was choked to death for 5 minutes by her jealous, psycho boyfriend in real life and also in the story. Lefty Flint gets 3 yrs for murder and great behavior. He plays out his fantasy to shoot him in the book. Gus is obsessed with revenge all the while dining with the uber rich New York crowd. Elias and Ruby Renthal are the "new people" billion 4.5 but since I have a fond spot in my heart for him he gets a full 5... Dominick Dunne is Augustus is the story. His daughter, Dominique (the Poltergeist), was choked to death for 5 minutes by her jealous, psycho boyfriend in real life and also in the story. Lefty Flint gets 3 yrs for murder and great behavior. He plays out his fantasy to shoot him in the book. Gus is obsessed with revenge all the while dining with the uber rich New York crowd. Elias and Ruby Renthal are the "new people" billionaires of NY society. The story is revolved around them and the hateful "old generation" families. The lengths they go to sully names or get invited to the best dinners with the elite. Dunne does a great job in making the sex just enough to say, "Oh, nice!" Or "That was a sexy scene" without making it overly raunchy or tasteless. Lots of characters but once I got them sorted out the storyline pulled me in to all the rich bastards and their evil ways. I'm wondering if Elias and Ruby are based on any real life specific people like THE TWO MRS. GRENVILLES was.....?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joy H.

    Added 5/1/15. I picked this book up for free somewhere. I started reading but bailed out after a few pages. I had a hard time keeping all the characters straight. In fact there were so many characters introduced so early in the book that I gave up after the first few pages. As my husband says, there didn't seem to be any "connectivity". I guess he meant that he didn't see where it was all going... how one character connected to the next. Anyway, both of us gave up in the very beginning. I don't u Added 5/1/15. I picked this book up for free somewhere. I started reading but bailed out after a few pages. I had a hard time keeping all the characters straight. In fact there were so many characters introduced so early in the book that I gave up after the first few pages. As my husband says, there didn't seem to be any "connectivity". I guess he meant that he didn't see where it was all going... how one character connected to the next. Anyway, both of us gave up in the very beginning. I don't understand how readers can keep reading when there doesn't seem to be anything to grab onto. What's their secret? Are those readers' memories so good that they are they able to keep track of all those characters or don't they let the confusion bother them? Perhaps the book's characters weren't fleshed out enough in the beginning to remember them, in order to keep them straight. In other words, they weren't given any substance or expanded upon. They just had names. Another GR reviewer felt the same. See her short GR review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... PS-Years ago I read Dunne's novel, The Two Mrs. Grenvilles. If my memory serves me correctly, that was a good read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    There are few books I would describe as beautifully trashy, but People Like Us definitely fits the bill. Written in the heyday of 1980s excess, and apparently based on a number of Important Society Folk, People Like Us is the perfect mixture of salaciousness, opulence, and just enough heart to keep the reader from total disgust. For the reader like me, who has more and more trouble keeping track of a large list of characters, do try and stick it out past the first few chapters. Dunne throws a lo There are few books I would describe as beautifully trashy, but People Like Us definitely fits the bill. Written in the heyday of 1980s excess, and apparently based on a number of Important Society Folk, People Like Us is the perfect mixture of salaciousness, opulence, and just enough heart to keep the reader from total disgust. For the reader like me, who has more and more trouble keeping track of a large list of characters, do try and stick it out past the first few chapters. Dunne throws a lot of characters at you at once, but his talent is to make them all so memorable that you'll have no trouble with them once you've gotten stuck in. Like the best of authors, he makes even the terrible people fascinating, so that you are compelled to read what dirty deed they will engage in next. Just a marvelous summer read, overall, even if I did have absolutely no idea who any of the characters were supposed to represent (a bit before my time, I'm afraid).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brad VanAuken

    This is pure entertainment. New money tries to break into New York society. Lots of very funny stereotypical characters interacting in entertaining ways. It revolves around the meteoric rise of a self-made billionaire and his maneuvering to become accepted by the very tight knit New York society to his rapid unraveling as his insider trading is revealed. This is the perfect summer read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Neva

    I am fond of emphasizing the second word in the title. It sounds more pathetic. People LIKE Us! Or, even ask it: People Like Us? I'm sure one of these ways is just how Dominick Dunne intended the title to be said. Maybe I should ask him. I am fond of emphasizing the second word in the title. It sounds more pathetic. People LIKE Us! Or, even ask it: People Like Us? I'm sure one of these ways is just how Dominick Dunne intended the title to be said. Maybe I should ask him.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    It actually helps to read the fiction books in order. I remember starting with The Two Mrs. Grenvilles; I'm not sure why. Perhaps I just remembered that he died about a year before my daughter, and I'd come across the fact that his own daughter, the actress Dominique Dunne, was murdered in her 20s. Once I started them, I didn't stop. Characters will come in and out of following novels, and it was nice to recognize them. It was as if I was part of the community, albeit, not a very healthy one. Sin It actually helps to read the fiction books in order. I remember starting with The Two Mrs. Grenvilles; I'm not sure why. Perhaps I just remembered that he died about a year before my daughter, and I'd come across the fact that his own daughter, the actress Dominique Dunne, was murdered in her 20s. Once I started them, I didn't stop. Characters will come in and out of following novels, and it was nice to recognize them. It was as if I was part of the community, albeit, not a very healthy one. Since Mr. Dunne ended up being somewhat obsessed with injustice (the murderer of his daughter received a short jail time) and wrote for Vanity Fair Magazine, it was culturally interesting to hear the names I could also realize from reality: Menendez Brothers, O.J. Simpson, Kennedy, and others--a kind of present-day historical fiction. A Season in Purgatory was especially poignant since it fictionalizes the death of his daughter. By the time I'd gotten to the final book, Too Much Money, which was published just after his death in 2009, I'd come to love Mr. Gus Bailey, flaws and all.

  8. 5 out of 5

    J.S. Dunn

    Dominick Dunne is / was his own genre. Class warfare fiction? No one else comes to mind who captures the milieu of NYC's 'social x-rays' and with such great humor. As a bonus, he does actually know the difference between, say, Sevres and Meissen. Or, between Savonnerie and Savonarola. His insider bon mots are laughoutloud funny. Politicians, crooked investment gurus and bankers, they all appear, conjured in piquant detail and skewered where it hurts the most. Dominick Dunne is / was his own genre. Class warfare fiction? No one else comes to mind who captures the milieu of NYC's 'social x-rays' and with such great humor. As a bonus, he does actually know the difference between, say, Sevres and Meissen. Or, between Savonnerie and Savonarola. His insider bon mots are laughoutloud funny. Politicians, crooked investment gurus and bankers, they all appear, conjured in piquant detail and skewered where it hurts the most.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sara Shores

    I thought I would love reading about NYC high society... but had a hard time keeping all the characters straight and in the end just didn't care about their 'problems' (talk about dear conga...) it was entertaining but just OK. I thought I would love reading about NYC high society... but had a hard time keeping all the characters straight and in the end just didn't care about their 'problems' (talk about dear conga...) it was entertaining but just OK.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shelli

    Another fun read by DD.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Dunne occupied a rare place in our world, the guy who knows everyone! As such, he was uniquely qualified to capture this small and fading world in the time period that he did. While the phenomena of those with new money ascending to dominance amongst the established monied set is a story that has happened repeatedly throughout history, the extravagances of the new money in the 80's were highly entertaining as well as appalling to the rather sedate society that had held sway for quite some time. Dunne occupied a rare place in our world, the guy who knows everyone! As such, he was uniquely qualified to capture this small and fading world in the time period that he did. While the phenomena of those with new money ascending to dominance amongst the established monied set is a story that has happened repeatedly throughout history, the extravagances of the new money in the 80's were highly entertaining as well as appalling to the rather sedate society that had held sway for quite some time. This is not a fiction book as much as a pastiche of roman a clefs. These are real people...their mannerisms, habits, attitudes, even, I would think, fairly accurate conversations. Dunne, like Gus Bailey, is the guy people tell things to! And he's perfectly correct when he says that these people love to talk about each other more than any other subject! If you enjoy reading about the upper classes, you might enjoy the considerably more literary Louis Auchincloss. His slim books have been documenting the attitudes and morals of this "old money" class throughout the 20th century. And from an insiders point of view, as he is from one of these old families. From a hilarious and gay viewpoint, Joe Keenan's three books also manage to capture society.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Emily Bails

    I hesitate to describe this as a beach read.. it's got some substance. This was a book club pick; I wouldn't have selected it on my own, but have to admit I enjoyed it. The characters are totally unrelatable (seeing as how I'm not a millionaire/billionaire), yet I found myself rooting for certain people and applauding certain successes and failures. Dominic Dunne knows how to tell a story, and his detailed descriptions help paint a clear picture. I quickly wanted to read to the end to see how th I hesitate to describe this as a beach read.. it's got some substance. This was a book club pick; I wouldn't have selected it on my own, but have to admit I enjoyed it. The characters are totally unrelatable (seeing as how I'm not a millionaire/billionaire), yet I found myself rooting for certain people and applauding certain successes and failures. Dominic Dunne knows how to tell a story, and his detailed descriptions help paint a clear picture. I quickly wanted to read to the end to see how this soap opera would play out.. and start another of his novels.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dianne Landry

    Dominick Dunne wrote about high society and showed it to be just like the world of high school. Reading his books are a guilty pleasure especially while trying to figure out which society doyenne is which thinly veiled character. Trashy good fun.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Trashy, sure, but sometimes you just need a little trash. I plowed right through it, so in fairness, I'm giving it 4 stars. Trashy, sure, but sometimes you just need a little trash. I plowed right through it, so in fairness, I'm giving it 4 stars.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anissa

    Enjoyed & am finally donating as I need to cull bookshelves before moving.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Mastrogiovanni

    Brilliant I absolutely loved this book. It’s the first Dunne novel I’ve read. I will be bingeing his work now. He is an utterly superb writer.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ghost

    A strange book from start to end, but enjoyable nonetheless. The beginning was a lot to swallow, but a very fitting introduction- both to the characters and the book's pacing. There was a lot of pretentious language used throughout the book, but that's to be expected, considering the subject manner. The characters were funny and flawed and seemed fairly genuine, especially Gus and Ruby. There wasn't a character I didn't like, and few that I wouldn't have liked to know more about- though the book A strange book from start to end, but enjoyable nonetheless. The beginning was a lot to swallow, but a very fitting introduction- both to the characters and the book's pacing. There was a lot of pretentious language used throughout the book, but that's to be expected, considering the subject manner. The characters were funny and flawed and seemed fairly genuine, especially Gus and Ruby. There wasn't a character I didn't like, and few that I wouldn't have liked to know more about- though the book was definitely long enough as it was! Overall a good read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lynda

    Old money vs. new money. A story that was old before Mrs. Astor's 400, the accepted society at Almacks, and the castes of India. It is a struggle that is always gossipy and intriguing and Dunne does not disappoint. Old money vs. new money. A story that was old before Mrs. Astor's 400, the accepted society at Almacks, and the castes of India. It is a struggle that is always gossipy and intriguing and Dunne does not disappoint.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Muriel

    This book is a comedy of manners and ultimately a tragedy of morals, the story of the era of the eighties,when the rich went public. Somewhat different from the books I normally read. Old money vs new money.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Made it to page 20.......couldn't go further. Made it to page 20.......couldn't go further.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Another one of Kevin Kwan's recommendations list. I really liked it, though I would just say that the editing should be tighter and the pacing sped up. For the first three quarters it reads like satire, yes, but mostly bubbly and shiny, without much substance to it; you think it's going to mostly be a book about social climbing, reputation, gossip, $$, fashion and style among the rich of New York. It isn't until the last quarter that the author reveals that there is, in fact, a lot of substance Another one of Kevin Kwan's recommendations list. I really liked it, though I would just say that the editing should be tighter and the pacing sped up. For the first three quarters it reads like satire, yes, but mostly bubbly and shiny, without much substance to it; you think it's going to mostly be a book about social climbing, reputation, gossip, $$, fashion and style among the rich of New York. It isn't until the last quarter that the author reveals that there is, in fact, a lot of substance in the book, and it becomes actually good. (Who would have thought Ruby would become my absolute favourite character?) Part of the reason that it became so good is perhaps seeing characters who were not particularly substantial in the first half change and grow into good people, but I do think that authors should try to make the entirety of their books good, if at all possible. I feel like the Goodreads summary does not really do this book justice, so here is my pitch for what it is about: social climbing, grief/loss, HIV/AIDS (a given, of course--I think it'd be a red flag if you were writing a book set in New York in the 1980s and it didn't deal with HIV/AIDS in some form), insider trading, families, and finally, as all good books about rich people have to be, what it really means to be a part of the community/class of extremely rich people who are at the end of the day totally nuts and mostly terrible people, and whether living a good life is compatible with that.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    I was a huge fan of Dominick Dunne's crime reporting in Vanity Fair magazine and also on his TV series ("Power, Privilege & Justice"). Always at the core of the murder trials he covered lay his profound grief for the murder of his own daughter, Dominique. Whether the topic of his articles was the Melendez brothers, O.J. Simpson, or Phil Spector, I for one was always aware of that rage he kept under the surface for Dominique's killer. I suppose most readers saw this too. Except for "A Season in Pu I was a huge fan of Dominick Dunne's crime reporting in Vanity Fair magazine and also on his TV series ("Power, Privilege & Justice"). Always at the core of the murder trials he covered lay his profound grief for the murder of his own daughter, Dominique. Whether the topic of his articles was the Melendez brothers, O.J. Simpson, or Phil Spector, I for one was always aware of that rage he kept under the surface for Dominique's killer. I suppose most readers saw this too. Except for "A Season in Purgatory" and "Another City, Not My Own," his two roman à clef accounts of the Martha Moxley and O.J. Simpson trials respectively, I have never taken the time to read any of his novels. In the case of this book, I'm really glad I waited to be in retirement and having the time (and patience) to enjoy it. Indeed, as many of the reviews here mention, it does take some time at the start of the book to absorb all of these characters. There are many! Starting at about page 150, I noticed that I finally began to connect all of the relationships. Dominick Dunne understood the high society 1% because he ran in those same circles both in Hollywood and New York in his own life. Under his literary alter ego of Gus Bailey, he brings readers into the lives of wealthy New Yorkers. At the same time Gus is also plotting to seek revenge for the murder of his daughter. This story is a time piece of 1980's Manhattan culture. There's no Donald Trump specifically, but he's somehow there along with all those Bonfire of the Vanities-types of that era. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it. Just give yourself time to absorb all of those characters at the start.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Very 80's and quite stylised but the endless array of not very sympathetic characters coalesced into a pacey 'thriller' of potential outcomes and a commentary on the very rich, both old and nouveau, 1980's New York. Were any of these people with Too Much Money, the inhabitants of Dominick Dunne's glitzy, gossipy New York Times bestselling novels ever 'People Like Us'? In love and death, pretty much. The central figure is perhaps Gus Bailey, a journalist nursing the wound of plotted revenge for th Very 80's and quite stylised but the endless array of not very sympathetic characters coalesced into a pacey 'thriller' of potential outcomes and a commentary on the very rich, both old and nouveau, 1980's New York. Were any of these people with Too Much Money, the inhabitants of Dominick Dunne's glitzy, gossipy New York Times bestselling novels ever 'People Like Us'? In love and death, pretty much. The central figure is perhaps Gus Bailey, a journalist nursing the wound of plotted revenge for the murder of his daughter. Old money is always preferred, but occasionally new money sneaks in by way of Elias and Ruby Renthal, who strike it even richer, turning their millions into billions. It would be impolite for high society to refuse them now. Not to mention disadvantageous. As long as the market is strong, there's absolutely nothing to worry about, but everyone has secrets from the past and present.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Lawson

    20/3 (Finished 1/24/20): This book provided an interesting glimpse into circles within which I'll never run (not a bad thing!) It was eye-opening, because I'm sure there actually are people like that, who are busy caring about empty stuff like appearances and gossip. And isn't the point of reading to expand our understanding of all worlds? There were some intriguing characters (Gus, both Altemus children, Ruby), but many of them just seemed to lack redeeming qualities (Lil and Ezzie stand out, b 20/3 (Finished 1/24/20): This book provided an interesting glimpse into circles within which I'll never run (not a bad thing!) It was eye-opening, because I'm sure there actually are people like that, who are busy caring about empty stuff like appearances and gossip. And isn't the point of reading to expand our understanding of all worlds? There were some intriguing characters (Gus, both Altemus children, Ruby), but many of them just seemed to lack redeeming qualities (Lil and Ezzie stand out, but most of the others). This book was entertaining enough to keep me turning pages. I'd recommend it for an easy beach read, but it lacked intellectual challenge. My favorite books are those that require me to sit in silence for a bit to digest after finishing. This was not one of those. However, the fact that I finished it at all earns it three stars.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    Stinging indictment of the “old money” of NYC in the ‘80s. Along with the rise and fall of fictitious self-made billionaire Elias and his wife Ruby, there is the autobiographical story (loosely) of Gus Bailey who is on the fringe of this entitled society while battling his feelings of revenge for the murder of his daughter. But don’t expect a murder mystery, this book is all about high society and teeth and claws that inhabit the salons there, ready to tear down any upstart unfortunate enough to Stinging indictment of the “old money” of NYC in the ‘80s. Along with the rise and fall of fictitious self-made billionaire Elias and his wife Ruby, there is the autobiographical story (loosely) of Gus Bailey who is on the fringe of this entitled society while battling his feelings of revenge for the murder of his daughter. But don’t expect a murder mystery, this book is all about high society and teeth and claws that inhabit the salons there, ready to tear down any upstart unfortunate enough to believe that all men are created equal. I wish I knew more about New York society because it would be fun matching the fictional characters to the real people they are based on. Lots of characters, can sometimes be confusing but the ride is great!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Martin Turnbull

    It’s been a while since I gave up on a book, but this one failed to hold my interest. As far as I can tell, it’s about a bunch of uber-rich New Yorkers, all of whom live vacuous and self-absorbed lives. A plotline like that might have sufficed in the time of “Dynasty” and “Dallas” but in the era of the obscene greed of the 1%-ers, I couldn’t care less about any of these people, and there didn't seem to be much of a plot so I gave up at the 15% mark. It’s been a while since I gave up on a book, but this one failed to hold my interest. As far as I can tell, it’s about a bunch of uber-rich New Yorkers, all of whom live vacuous and self-absorbed lives. A plotline like that might have sufficed in the time of “Dynasty” and “Dallas” but in the era of the obscene greed of the 1%-ers, I couldn’t care less about any of these people, and there didn't seem to be much of a plot so I gave up at the 15% mark.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Beaudet

    Dominick Dunne was an amazing author. This novel depicts New York High Society in the mid 80's before the market crashed. As so much is devoted to seeing how trivial some of the members of society are, it also touches upon AIDS and insider trading. The characters are mostly fixated on themselves. I enjoyed the stories of Justine Altemus and Ruby Renthal who really evolve and see that there is more to life than parties. The most poignant character is Gus Bailey who mirrors Dominic Dunne's real li Dominick Dunne was an amazing author. This novel depicts New York High Society in the mid 80's before the market crashed. As so much is devoted to seeing how trivial some of the members of society are, it also touches upon AIDS and insider trading. The characters are mostly fixated on themselves. I enjoyed the stories of Justine Altemus and Ruby Renthal who really evolve and see that there is more to life than parties. The most poignant character is Gus Bailey who mirrors Dominic Dunne's real life tragedy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Fun read, well written I love Dominick Dunne. This book was a great way to spend the weekend. I was in a crummy mood when I started the book. Getting into this high class, trashy novel took care of that! Just a great read--no message, no shoulds. A chance to read about the rich and famous acting like idiots.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    fun book! didn’t get super into it until about 100 pages in. a lot of characters to keep track of, but stuck with it for the delicious 80s socialite drama. heard about the book in an article where kevin kwan recommended it - it’s basically like a not as fun/sassy version of crazy rich asians, but still a good summer “beach” read

  30. 4 out of 5

    Krystal Wilczynski

    I didn't finish this book. I started it and wanted to move it to the shelf "didn't bother to finish" so it would not show up in my currently reading list forever. I don't know why Goodreads insists on making any book I change to a different shelf (from Read, Currently Reading, or Want to Read) and classifying it as Read. I didn't finish this book. I started it and wanted to move it to the shelf "didn't bother to finish" so it would not show up in my currently reading list forever. I don't know why Goodreads insists on making any book I change to a different shelf (from Read, Currently Reading, or Want to Read) and classifying it as Read.

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