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"A witty tale about a high-society wannabe...Little is more delicious than watching an ambitious but tragically flawed protagonist brought down - especially in a designer cocktail dress." -The Washington Post
Everyone yearns to belong, to be part of the "in crowd," but how far are you willing to go to be accepted? In the case of bright, funny and socially ambitious Evelyn Beegan, the answer is much too far...
At 26, Evelyn is determined to carve her own path in life and free herself from the influence of her social-climbing mother, who propelled her through prep school and onto New York's glamorous Upper East Side. Evelyn has long felt like an outsider to her privileged peers, but when she gets a job at a social network aimed at the elite, she's forced to embrace them.
Recruiting new members for the site, Evelyn steps into a promised land of Adirondack camps, Newport cottages and Southampton clubs thick with socialites and Wall Streeters. Despite herself, Evelyn finds the lure of belonging intoxicating, and starts trying to pass as old money herself. When her father, a crusading class-action lawyer, is indicted for bribery, Evelyn must contend with her own family's downfall as she keeps up appearances in her new life, grasping with increasing desperation as the ground underneath her begins to give way.
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|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
STEPHANIE CLIFFORD is a Loeb Award-winning reporter at The New York Times. She grew up in Seattle and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son, and two cats.
Read an Excerpt
By Stephanie Clifford
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 Stephanie Clifford
All rights reserved.
"Your pearl earrings are rather worn down. They're starting to look like molars," Barbara Beegan said to her daughter, poking with a cocktail knife at pâté that was so warmed by the sun that it was nearly the consistency of butter. "Don't you ever take them off?"
Evelyn's right hand jolted up to her ear and rubbed at an earring, which did feel lumpy. She'd bought them as a prep-school graduation gift for herself, and over the years, wearing them during showers and swims and tennis games must have eaten away at the earrings' round perfection, but it wasn't something she'd noticed until now. "You wanted me to wear them," she said.
"I wanted you to look like you were dressing to watch the lacrosse game, not playing in it. You could at least polish them every now and then. People must wonder if you can't take care of your things. I think this pâté has salmonella. Can't you find something else to put out?"
Evelyn sidled along the edge of the 1985 beige Mercedes. Her mother had bought it, used, after Evelyn's orientation at Sheffield, her prep school, once Barbara saw none of the old-money mothers would deign to drive a fresh-off-the-lot BMW like the Beegans had shown up in. The Mercedes was parked just a few inches from the next car, an aged Volvo — there was hardly a post-1996 car to be seen on the field — and Evelyn opened the door to slide her hand into a picnic basket in the backseat. She groped wedges of warm cheese in Saran Wrap, warm wine ... a warm container of cream cheese? No, olive tapenade; and, guessing that the tapenade was the least likely to cause food poisoning, retrieved that. A roar went up from First Field, a few hundred yards away; the crowd approved of her choice. It was Sheffield-Enfield, her prep school's version of a homecoming game, and the spectators were absorbed in the lacrosse matchup.
Shaking her hair forward to cover her earlobes, Evelyn sidestepped up to the table at the car's trunk, one of the freestanding tables lined along Sheffield Academy's Second Field, which had been transformed into a parking lot for the day's game. A few tables had special banners draped across them, Sheffield-Enfield Spring 2006; the alumni association gave these to alums who donated more than $10,000 a year. Tables to Evelyn's left held rounds of triple-crèmes that were melting onto their trays in the May heat. To her right, bottles of white wine and Pellegrino were sweating from the exertion of being outdoors. She noticed ancient alumni toddling by in their varsity sweaters, which they insisted on wearing even in May, and made a mental note. Her bosses at People Like Us would be interested in that.
She was turning to go to the field house when there was a squelching sound, and she saw Charlotte approaching, waving two boxes of water crackers in triumph in one hand and a Styrofoam cup in the other. For such a tiny person, narrow hipped enough that she often shopped at Gap Kids, Charlotte was leaving enormous gullies in the ground as she took huge steps in her rain boots. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail, but the humidity had created a walnut-brown halo of frizz all around her pale face. "Success!" Charlotte said, stomping toward Evelyn. "Babs would have sold me into white slavery had I not found these."
"She didn't send you for crackers, did she? I told her not to. Sorry, Char."
"Listen, at least water crackers are actually something I can find. I was worried she'd send me to root you out a husband." Charlotte stuck out her tongue, and Evelyn side-kicked her in the shins, but the rubber of the boots made her foot bounce off.
"Here," Charlotte said, handing over the Styrofoam cup. "Cider."
"In May?" Charlotte mimicked, in a British accent. "What, you've been working at People Like Us for a day and you find the common people's habits confusing?"
"I've been working there three weeks, Char, and my plan for signing up the nation's elite is already in full effect." Evelyn gestured toward the spectators. "It's basically People Like Us membership sign-up day today. The people here just don't know it yet."
"Ah, Charlotte, you located some crackers." Barbara Beegan had reemerged, casting a blockish shadow over the girls. Her pedicured toes were strapped into flat sandals, which merged into pleated powder-blue pants with sturdy thighs bulging within, up to a crisp white oxford. She ended in dry butter-colored hair arranged in fat waves and a pair of big black sunglasses. In her prime, after a diet based on green apples, Barbara Beegan had been thin; now she was the kind of stout woman who covered up the extra weight with precisely tailored clothes. She smelled, as she always did, of leather. She frowned as she examined the boxes. "These have pepper in them, though."
Charlotte made a silent Munch-scream face at Evelyn. "Well, Mrs. Beegan, they were all I could find."
"They'll have to do, I suppose," Barbara said, looking over Charlotte's head.
"Say thank you, Mom," Evelyn said.
"Yes, thank you," Barbara said listlessly, and opened a box to begin arranging the crackers in a semicircle.
"I live to serve," Charlotte said, bowing briefly. "Ooh, there's Mr. Marshon from prep-year history. Do you think he's still mad at me from when I reenacted the defenestration of Prague with his snow globe? I'm just going to say hi. Back in a jiff."
Evelyn took the opportunity to slip away. Second Field's grass had turned muddy and choppy with tire tracks and Tretorn tracks — Charlotte was smart to wear boots — and Evelyn picked her way over the chewed-up terrain to the field house. She watched in amusement as one alum tried to rein in a toddler while wiping down a Labrador who had apparently been swimming in the Ammonoosuc, but when the alum looked at her, she quickly coughed and looked away.
In the eight years since she'd graduated, she had not been back to Sheffield much, not wanting to see her classmates boasting about their children and jobs and weddings while Evelyn muddled along at her textbook-marketing job. Barbara, on the other hand, had been a steadfast alumna despite not actually attending Sheffield, and every year would call up Evelyn, pushing her to go to Sheffield-Enfield, and every year Evelyn would say no. Evelyn's penance for this resistance was a recurring lecture about how she was aging and needed to meet someone soon and shouldn't give up chances to meet eligible alumni.
This year, though, was different. After the textbook publisher laid her off a few months ago, she'd managed to talk her way into a job at People Like Us, a social-networking site aimed at the elite's elite. Even Charlotte, who was brilliant about business, thought that social-networking sites were going to be huge, and Evelyn sensed if she was a success at People Like Us, she could choose whatever job she wanted.
In the interview, Evelyn had dropped a few references to Sheffield and, pulling from her memory of her upper-year class Novels of the Gilded Age, Newport. When the co-CEOs asked her how she'd access the target members, she'd bluffed, mentioning two Upper East Side benefits and making it sound like she'd attended them when she hadn't. The made-up details she'd provided about the parties, the flower arrangements, and the specialty cocktails came out of her mouth surprisingly easily, and though it had made her feel unsettled, she'd reasoned that everyone stretched the truth in interviews. For $46,000 and a lot of stock options — Charlotte said this was how it worked these days — Evelyn became the director of membership at People Like Us, charged with recruiting society's finest to set up profiles on the site. Now, three weeks after she'd started, she needed some actual recruits and had headed to Sheffield's homecoming for that reason.
She could hear the fragments of a cheer coming from First Field, where the game was in its third quarter. It was the same cheer she had learned when she had arrived at Sheffield as a prep, the school's term for freshmen. The cheer was a paean to the school's mascot, a gryphon. Hearing it, a stooped man with watery blue eyes looked toward the sound and valiantly waved a tiny Sheffield flag, as though he were expecting troops from that direction to liberate him.
The cool gray stone of the field house offered respite from all the sound, and Evelyn followed the familiar path to the girls' bathroom, past the hockey rink on one side and the water-polo pool on the other. Inside, under the fluorescent lights, Evelyn leaned over the gray-concrete slabs of the sink, which stank of beer (that was the recent alumni; she'd barely seen a beer among the older alums all day) and was littered with red plastic cups. She reached into her bag, pulled out a sunglasses case, flipped it open, and extracted a flannel lens cloth. Leaning so close that she could see the thin film of grease forming on her nose, she carefully rubbed one pearl earring to a Vermeer-like shine. It was pockmarked, she admitted, but in her usual self-examination that she performed before seeing her mother, she hadn't caught it.
She briefly made eye contact with herself. Precisely one time, when she was twelve, she was told by one of her father's law partners that she'd be a heartbreaker someday, but it had yet to come true. At twenty-six, she felt like she still hadn't grown into her features, and if she hadn't by now, she probably never would. Her hair was mousy brown and hung limply past her shoulders, her face was too long, her nose too sharp, her blue eyes too small. The only body part she thought was really spectacular was her pointer finger. She'd resisted her mother's suggestions — "suggestions" was putting it mildly — of highlights, lowlights, a makeup session at Nordstrom. "You're telling everyone around you that you don't care," Barbara liked to say.
At least at Sheffield-Enfield this weekend, she and her mother had reached a tentative truce. Going to the school was one thing Evelyn had done right in her mother's eyes, even if, as Barbara said, Evelyn had failed to build on it. Evelyn had made a promising start when she became friends with Preston Hacking, a Winthrop on his mother's side ("Fine old Boston family," Barbara said) and, obviously, a Hacking on his father's. She'd remained close with Preston, but she had failed to parlay that into anything useful, Barbara believed. Evelyn's other best friend from Sheffield was Charlotte Macmillan, who was the daughter of a Procter & Gamble executive and whom her mother still referred to as "that girl in the pigtails" after the hairdo Char had worn when she first met Barbara.
Evelyn rubbed at the other earring. Folding her upper body over the sink until she was an inch from the mirror, she rotated and polished the earring, then rotated and polished it again for good measure. Her mother couldn't get her on that front.
As she heard people approaching, she jumped back from the mirror and turned the faucet on, so when alumnae with maroon S's on their cheeks burst in, she had a plausible explanation of what she had been up to. "Good game," she said brightly, pulling a paper towel from the dispenser.
With the mud trying to suck off her ballet flats, Evelyn resumed her post at the card table behind her mother's car and spread olive paste in careful curves on one of the offending pepper crackers.
"Well, well, well. If it isn't my cheerful little earful."
Preston Hacking's voice was reedy and nasal and familiar, and, hearing it and seeing the edge of his worn-down Top-Siders behind her, Evelyn let the guarded smile that had been fixed on her face since she'd left the field house balloon to a full grin. She spun on her toes and threw her arms around Preston, who picked her up with a yelp, then set her back down, out of breath from the exertion.
Preston looked exactly the same as he had at Sheffield, tall and thin, with thick, loosely curled blond hair, red glasses, and lips that were always in a half smile, the fine features of someone who had never gotten into a fight and instead had politely submitted to the hazing imposed on the well-bred boys as preps. Evelyn remembered hearing he'd been duct-taped to the statue of the Sheffield founder for several hours and, upon release, had offered his tormentors a cigar that he had in his sport-coat pocket; it was a Cuban. An ancient, scratchy-looking Sheffield sweater was hooked over his elbow — his grandfather's, or his great-grandfather's, Evelyn couldn't remember.
"Pres! I thought you were leaving me with the geriatric society. What took you so long?"
"I had, and still have, a massive hangover, and felt I could not take the cheer and school spirit of people such as you. Good God, woman, what was in those martinis last night?"
"Maybe they roofied you."
"If only. Perhaps it was the bathtub gin they seem to serve at these things. I knew I should have brought something up from the city. You can never trust the liquor service in rural New Hampshire. Would you get me a Bloody?"
Evelyn brought out one of the cut-crystal glasses her mother had brought up from Maryland and mixed a bit of vodka from a leather-covered flask with tomato juice. She wondered where her mother had obtained all these bartending accoutrements. They had shown up en masse when the family moved from their exurban ranch house to the grand and crumbling old house in Bibville when Evelyn was in elementary school. With that came aristocratic airs and fine glassware, she thought as she watched the vodka glug out from the flask. "I think my mom brought celery, but she's run off somewhere. And there was ice, but it's all melted. You might have to have warm tomato juice."
"Horseradish. Poppycock," Preston said. "More vodka. More. More. More. Good. If I don't get a drink in me soon, I might have to regurgitate all over this pretty picnic." He gulped down a long slug.
"Now that your thirst is being quenched, why don't you make yourself useful? Babs and I have been trying to sort out how these chairs unfold, and we clearly have not been able to master it," Evelyn said.
"Yes, we all remember your ill-fated forays into manual labor. Put me to work. I've always dreamt of being your handyman." Preston balanced his glass on the car's bumper and was crouched, fiddling with a washer, when Barbara Beegan returned. He jumped up. "Mrs. Beegan, what a pleasure," he said.
"Preston, what a delight. Evie said she saw you last night, during the young people's outing, but I'm glad I got to see you myself today."
"Well, not so young anymore. Did she tell you we're now in the middle-aged alumni grouping? Once you're more than five years out, it's all over."
Evelyn elbowed him in the ribs and tried to make it look like an accident in case her mother was watching, but it was too late.
"She's almost thirty. It's not surprising," Barbara said.
"I'm twenty-six, Mom. I'm not almost thirty," Evelyn muttered. When she'd walked by the current students, though, she'd realized that, to them, she was one of the sea of vaguely old alums who meandered through the dorms during Sheffield-Enfield and talked about what color the carpet was in their day.
"Almost twenty-seven," Barbara said, turning to look at her daughter.
"Nearly twenty-five," Evelyn said.
With a kick, Preston got one chair, then the other, into place. "Done and done. You both look like you've found the fountain of youth. Your daughter has me hard at work as usual. Is Mr. Beegan here as well?" he said.
Evelyn returned his drink to him. "For your labor," she said. "No, Dad had to work this weekend."
"Ah, well, I'm sure he's sad to miss it." This drew no response, so Preston picked up a cracker. "I read about a case he was involved in, in the Journal. I think it was a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company in —"
"Aren't they all," Barbara interrupted with a bright tone. "It's been ages since I saw you last. You've been in London?"
"Just moved back to New York," Preston said.
"That's wonderful. Isn't that wonderful, Evie? I always tell her she needs to keep better track of her old friends. How are your old friends? That darling Nick? And that handsome brother of yours? Are they single?"
Evelyn handed her mother a cracker with cream cheese on it. "All right, Mom, we don't need to review every single person Preston knows for marriage eligibility."
"I'm just having a conversation, Evelyn. She can be so sensitive. Now. Tell me about you, Preston. You must be dating someone."
"The course of true love never did run smooth, Mrs. Beegan," Preston said.
"Of course, you have ages before you need to settle down," Barbara said.
Evelyn rolled her eyes and stuffed a cracker in her mouth. To Barbara, Preston asserted that New York life was treating him well, and his work as an independent investor was going swimmingly (though Evelyn had never been able to pin down exactly what it was Preston did or invested in). He said that Evelyn was doing terrifically in the city, which Evelyn thought he lied about rather nicely, and Barbara raised her sunglasses to the top of her head, her albino-blue eyes brightening with the compliment, which Barbara accepted as though it were about her. Exchanges complete, they separated, stepping away from one another as smoothly as if they were finishing a minuet. Barbara completed the encounter by saying she would find them all seats in the stadium, and she walked off.
Excerpted from Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford. Copyright © 2015 Stephanie Clifford. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
2. Next Stop, Lake James,
4. Camp Sachem,
5. A Bottle of T,
6. Sag Neck,
7. Social History,
8. New York, New York,
9. Wall Street Blues,
10. South of the Highway,
11. Alumni Affairs,
12. Summer in the City,
13. Rich and Happy,
14. A Selection of Jamón,
15. Appointment Book,
16. Silent Night,
17. Security Questions,
18. People Like Us,
19. Scottish Fling,
20. Homeward Bound,
21. Trophy Hall,
23. Le Bal Français,
24. After the Ball,
25. 10:15 Adirondack,
27. Remaining Balance,
28. Everybody Rise,
29. Marina Air,
30. Sentencing Guidelines,
32. On the Dock,
33. Northeast Regional,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It was a great read. I couldn't put it down.
If I could, I would give this book a 3.5. I listened to it on audio and maybe that made a difference for me. I didn't think that the characters were likable however, they seemed to be realistic in the NY setting. I am thinking back in the day, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. These socialites had an entourage of "friends" that were either faking their way to success or just riding on the coattails of others. This was purely an entertaining read. I wouldn't knock it nor would I highly recommend it.
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Evelyn grew up just on the outskirts of everything, she went to the fancy prep school, but wasn't in the in crowd. She lived in New York City, but just one block away from where you were "supposed" to live, so when she gets the chance to be IN she may go overboard and go ALL IN! Evelyn was a great character to follow into this world. I thought her perspective was fun, not unique, but at least fun! I thought the main plot of her working for an exclusive Facebook or MySpace was a great way to get her to reunite with her prep school alums and give her a reason to return to that world. When a book doesn't have a ton of action, the plot and characters must be enough and this one had enough for a summer afternoon of reading.
Everybody Rise is the story of what happens to one woman and her desire to be something that she isn't. Evelyn Beegan is a young 26 year old who lives in Manhatten and just landed a job for recruiting high society members into a social media site for the elite. As Evelyn is lured into this high class world, her family life is far from it with her father, a class-action lawyer just getting indicted for bribery. With Evelyn trying to keep this a secret from her new friends, it all leads to a major downfall about secrets that she has been hiding from everyone and it will force her to realize who her true friends are. For the life of me, I don't understand how this book can be hilarious when it's sad to see somebody not having that much self worth of themselves to do the things that Evelyn did. I could never do what Evelyn did but I could see where it lead her to do those things from what her parents were doing at the time and a mother who cared more about class than what her own daughter was going through. I do have to give Stephanie credit for writing a book that makes you stay glued to it just to see how it all ends! Thank You to Stephanie Clifford for writing a novel that makes me glad to be who I am and curious to see what is to come from you in the future! I received this book from the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2016 in exchange for a honest review.
Oh the struggles of maintaining your status, especially if you are new money. If you are new money, you are held to a higher standard and feel compelled to maintain that image. But what do you do when that new money is now called attention to and that reputation is called to question? I enjoyed the simplistic high society storyline and was pleased that it wasn't an over-the-top/extreme one. I was not a fan of the narrator of the CD book but I enjoyed the storyline.
I was very impressed by Ms. Clifford's writing and superbly vivid characters - this is the kind of book where the characters really stay with you after you put the book down. I read it in one sitting because I could not put it down and definitely recommend it.
Engrossing as a social commentary I received a complimentary copy from St. Martin Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Everybody Rise is wonderful read. An interesting piece of literature and social commentary, and like Edith Wharton, author Stephanie Clifford gives readers a pitiful interloper to hate and love. Evelyn Beegan and her mother, Babs, are social climbers. Evelyn has never felt like she fit in, and Babs has always been desperately trying to be accepted in the next rung up the social ladder. I didn’t “get” Dale, Evelyn’s father; I couldn’t decide if he was brilliant and obtuse or a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I digress as the story is really about Evelyn. Evelyn gets wrapped up in her job at a super elitist version of Facebook and slips into the “it” crowd of the uber-wealthy of New York. She doesn’t have the means to keep up with this crowd, and while her father’s career is tanking, she becomes takes on every bad habit known to mankind as the role model for how not to manage your life. At first, I thought this book was a trite, superficial story about the lovely upper socio-economic class that all of the little people wish to be like. It was all that in a way, but the book became much more interesting when I realized it was really a commentary about the ridiculousness of those superficial, elitist socialites and the stupidity of their hangers-on/wannabe friends. Evelyn was much more interesting after her comeuppance and free fall to a subpar-existence from her private school upbringing. Evelyn’s story in Everybody Rise is an engrossing slow-motion train wreck that you cannot look away from. Keep reading as the figurative body count rises and Evelyn’s life sinks into a deeper and deeper hole. In the end, you’ll see Everybody Rise as a brilliant read.
3.5 stars. While I don't think this was an extraordinary debut, as described in the blurbs, it was okay. I wanted to put it down several times during the first third part of it, but I stayed with it. It did get better, but I didn't feel as though it got great. I mean, I was rooting for Evelyn all the way, but I knew there was a train wreck on the way. I'm surprised she wasn't actually kicked out of her apartment. She kept that facade up longer than I thought she would. There were some fun parts in here and lots of sad parts. I gave the book 3.5 stars because 3 stars is what I thought the first part was and 4 stars is what I thought the last part was. While it finally did start become entertaining, it still felt kind of unbelievable. Kind of like the author was forcing it on me or maybe I'm just overthinking it. As for recommending it? I just got to say, come to your own decision. It's one of those books your either gonna love it or hate it. Or in my case, it was just okay. Thanks St. Martin Press and Net Galley for allowing me to read and review this book. I'm still on the fence about recommending it.