Private Citizens has an early mention of Oberlin College, and while that's not what kept me reading, let's just say I appreciate when a book is speaking to me. Even more when it's making fun of me--and that's what this book does very well, getting me on every level: as a Bay Area native, as a writer, as an Asian person with a long last name, as a well-educated person, as someone who is selfish AND giving, as a glasses-wearer, as someone who finds destructive women interesting/hot, as an avid internet user, as an enjoyer of booze and weed in Dolores Park, and as a believer in stories.
These aren't cheap shots. The book is layered with knowing, revealing jabs that come from a certain grudging love and care. Tony Tulathimutte shows us characters who are perfectly aware of their flaws and much smarter than serves them. Their post-Stanford lives are bursting with such high potential, it seems inevitable when they fall beneath the pressure, return to their old wounds, and in a cocoon of failure, transform into something new and beautiful.