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Necessary People

Review

Necessary People

Being enrolled at the same college, and wearing the same tennis shoes at the moment of their encounter, was the only touchpoint for Violet Trapp and Stella Bradley. Apart from that, they could not be more different. Violet is an ordinary girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Attending this prestigious college on scholarship was her way out from a small town in Florida and a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father and an abusive mother. Stella, on the other hand, is a beautiful, pampered, attractive, funny and filthy rich girl from New York high society.

A few weeks after they meet, Stella decides that she wants to be Violet’s roommate. And what Stella wants, Stella gets. This is how their friendship started, which endured through all four years.

"NECESSARY PEOPLE is a phenomenally written novel that keeps up the tension from the beginning until the very end, with a storyline that is flawless."

After graduation, Stella decides to travel and have some fun. Violet moves to New York, where she lives in Stella's parents' apartment while pursuing a career as the producer of cable news. At one point, Stella returns to New York, a bit lost but persistent in continuing her lifestyle of having fun and not doing much. But regardless of her spoiled-brat image, Stella is just as ambitious as Violet. The last thing she can bear is to have her plain, simple friend be more successful than she is. And so, little by little, their friendship begins to erode.

Stella, who always seeks to be the center of attention and wants her every whim to be fulfilled, heavily takes advantage of Violet's passivity. Even her family behaves oddly towards Violet, treating her as both Stella's poor friend and their maid. Violet doesn't respond, though, and in kind of a spineless manner endures these minor wrongdoings and tacit disapproval. Still, her ambitions and laser focus on her career remain alive and well --- until everything she has worked so hard for is threatened.

The novel is told only from Violet’s point of view, which gives a somewhat one-dimensional picture of her and Stella’s relationship. Both Stella and her entire family are watched through Violet's prism; there is no hatred, but there is indignation and resentment. Looking at the story from this perspective, the reader does not gain insight into Stella's thoughts and feelings, so sometimes she is very confusing. In the beginning, Stella appears to be a frivolous, spoiled rich girl. Eventually, though, she turns into an ambitious woman who stops at nothing to get her five minutes of fame.

NECESSARY PEOPLE is a phenomenally written novel that keeps up the tension from the beginning until the very end, with a storyline that is flawless. It is a psychological thriller (I kept asking myself Who is the bad guy and who is the victim here?); a critique of society; and a showcase into the world of the privileged and super-rich ("old money"), and their offspring.

This is a book worth reading because, in addition to what already has been said, it poses and addresses an important question: “What are we prepared to do, and how far would we go, in order to achieve our ambitions and be successful?”

Reviewed by Dunja Bonacci Skenderović on June 28, 2019

Necessary People
by Anna Pitoniak

  • Publication Date: May 21, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • ISBN-10: 0316451703
  • ISBN-13: 9780316451703