Customer Reviews for

An Object of Beauty

Average Rating 3.5
( 302 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Thought provoking

Art writer Daniel Frank of the Stockbridge, Massachusetts Franks is bone marrow weary of his 24/7 thoughts about his amoral former lover Lacey Yeager. He knows she will sleep with anyone to get a head. In hopes of purging her from his blood, he writes down his thought...
Art writer Daniel Frank of the Stockbridge, Massachusetts Franks is bone marrow weary of his 24/7 thoughts about his amoral former lover Lacey Yeager. He knows she will sleep with anyone to get a head. In hopes of purging her from his blood, he writes down his thoughts about the rise and rise of Lacey Yeager in the upscale Manhattan art world.

In the Clintonian Era, twenty-three years old beautiful Lacey Yeager obtains an entry level job as a Sotheby staffer. The intelligent and ambitious Lacey quickly rises up in rank in the company's normally glacial pace. As she did at Sothby's to obtain promotions, Lacey uses her body and brain to obtain a position at exclusive Barton Talley's gallery of "Very Expensive Paintings"; ethics is for the hogs and legalities is for the frightened losers. Finally she achieves her objective of opening up the Lacey Yeager gallery in Chelsea and even 9/11 fails to prevent her meteoric rise to the troposphere of the high priced art universe.

As a microcosm of the greed that led to the crash, An Object of Beauty is a terrific look at the ultra rich in which avarice with a need for more is a way of life as Steve Martin eloquently states that America has an aristocratic class with no moral ties to the country. The addition of pictures of paintings adds a fine art touch to the story line. However, this is Lacey's tale as she is a fascinating prototype as seen through the eyes of her whining former lover who exposes much of himself having a brain with one icon imprinted on it even as he exposes the woman he loathes and cherishes. Although the ending feels off kilter, Mr. Martin provides a profound condemnation of wealth without morality is worthless.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on October 31, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

It's too frantic, although still brilliant.

When I finished "Shopgirl" I hugged it, I literally hugged it for about 20 minutes, that's how much I loved it. The writing, the feeling, the small but ample plot... everything was so delicately placed that before I knew it I was in love. I was sad when I finished it. I...
When I finished "Shopgirl" I hugged it, I literally hugged it for about 20 minutes, that's how much I loved it. The writing, the feeling, the small but ample plot... everything was so delicately placed that before I knew it I was in love. I was sad when I finished it. I read it again.

"An Object Of Beauty" isn't a "bad" book... it just seems to lack those things which made "Shopgirl" so incredibly perfect. The plot was frenzied, I felt like he wanted to tell 12 stories at once, and while I commend the attempt-- even understand why, I just didn't feel like it stacked up. I enjoyed reading it, and I did so in 3 days, but part of the drive behind it was the fact that I kept looking for "it" to happen. I was looking for the spark, the glow, the "aha" moment that would make me go "Oh, here we go, now I can forgive how I felt."

I hit the last page and instead of wanting to hug it, I simply went "Really?" I wasn't satisfied.

I love all things Steve Martin, and probably if it was anyone else I wouldn't push them to so high a bar... but he missed, just by a hair, the beauty that there could have truly been.

posted by NoAutographsPlease on December 4, 2010

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  • Posted November 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    What is the value of beauty?

    Lacey Yeager is a brilliant up and coming art student who upon graduating from college lands herself a job at Sotheby's as an intern. Starting at the bottom doesn't exactly pay the type of money that Lacey's been accustom to and she struggles to find a way to get there one way or another.

    Her life is chronicled in sporadic details by her high school friend, Daniel Chester French Franks, as he meets with her through different times of her life. What he doesn't know as a fact he fills in to make the story complete. He is also an art school graduate and a former one night stand of Lacey's.

    As Lacey works from the basement, cataloging pictures, she begins to look for her next step on the ladder of success. She begins to learn how art works are sold, which ones sell and why others don't. As she begins to work her way to the top, she finds out that they are more than objects of beauty but objects of value. Much of the way she begins to see a parallel in her own life. She begins to work towards the finer things in life she desires which means finding herself a rich, wealthy and successful man willing to lavish it on her.

    In the latest novel by Steve Martin, former Saturday Night Live star, actor and now author, in Object of Beauty we see how Lacey's life and the art objects she finds and sells are similar and how certain some things can be rendered priceless.

    I received this book compliments of Hachette Book Groups for my honest review. I would have to rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars just based on the content contained within the storyline itself that some readers may find offensive, such as profanity and sexual content. Overall I think the story shares a profound message that not all beauty can be seen from the outside and everything has a price.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An Object of Beauty

    Steve Martin's latest novel, An Object of Beauty takes into the world of art; the gallery owners, museums and collectors. Daniel Franks and Lacey Yeager met in college, not really lovers but lifelong friends. She is eager to move up and have her own gallery one day. This is Lacey's story as seen through the eyes of Daniel. I found the novel to be fascinating and enjoyable. I really liked how in depth Martin got with the art world and the people in it.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2013

    This book was good but not great. It was still a very interestin

    This book was good but not great. It was still a very interesting and exceptionally well written book. I do not regret reading. 

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  • Posted March 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Easy Read & Entertaining

    This book is no Shop Girl, but it still was enjoyable. Even though the protaganist is not the most likealbe person, I still found myself wanting her to succeed.

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  • Posted November 12, 2011

    quite good

    I really enjoyed this book.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2011

    The Art World

    This an intriguing look into the art world and its many personalities and characters.
    I've always enjoyed this author's books and this was no disappointment.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2011

    not for everyone, but it was for me

    if you are interested in art and want to think, this is for you.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2011

    Fantastic

    Just enough fact to being you to believe this story could possibly be true! Great read

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    an object of villainy

    Lacey Yeager is a villain. When you get right down to it, you see that she wants to conquer the (art) world and doesn't care how she does it or who she hurts in the process. And I like her for it. I know, it's weird. But she was a very well-written villain which makes you root for her and yet, at the same time despise her actions.

    This book follows the art movements for at least twenty years, educating the reader about what goes on behind auction-house, gallery, and museum walls. Thousands and millions of dollars are being thrown at slabs of paint, depending on what's hip at the moment. Steve Martin goes into a lot of detail and shows that he's done his homework on everything art-related. I learned a lot, along with enjoying the story of Lacey. And I loved the examples of art that he included in the book.

    We even hear about how art was affected through 9/11, as well as the economic collapse a few years later. The image of Lacey biking toward downtown Manhattan while the towers were smoking is quite vivid, as was her subsequent confusion. And then, years later, when she finally decided to invest with Talley right before the recession, the reader could do nothing but shake her head at the horrible timing.

    Through all of this, Lacey is very detached. She commits a crime, and doesn't feel guilty. Men fall at her feet during her rise to the top, and she stomps on their hearts. She uses her grandmother's death to her advantage. Sounds quite supervillain-ish to me...And makes me wonder about Steve Martin's "Object" of Beauty. She was beautiful, but she was an object. A thing who's only emotion is ambition (is that even an emotion?). And in the end, she falls, as most supervillains do at the end of the superhero movie.

    This may seem like an odd comparison to make, but what can I say, I can be an odd person sometimes. I really enjoyed the book, despite Lacey's indifference, and I loved the narrator, Daniel. He was very modest and down-to-earth and his courtship with Tanya was adorable. But of course, Lacey had to ruin even that. It's a very quick read and you'll be done with it in no time, and be wondering how Lacey could rise and fall so very quickly.

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  • Posted February 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Learn about art and be entertained.

    Steve Martin shares many engrossing details about paintings, artists, and the intrigues of the art world that kept me thoroughly engaged. While the main characters Lacey Yeager and Daniel Franks do nothing to endear themselves to anyone, I could not stop reading about their climb through the whirl of the New York art scene. I enjoyed seeing many of the works of art mentioned sprinkled amongst the text.

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    Posted May 7, 2011

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