A social climber is someone who does everything in their power to gain a higher social status. This could mean anything from using people to achieve their objective to overly obsessed with appearances. Over the years, not a few great books, usually novels of manner, have been written about social climbers. They make for exciting, funny, sometimes even rib-tickling satirical stories. Today, we bring to you a list of the best books about social climbers.

Diary of an Accidental Wallflower by Jennifer McQuiston

Best Books About Social Climbers (Diary of an Accidental Wallflower)
Best Books About Social Climbers (Diary of an Accidental Wallflower)

This cute little historical fiction is the story of Miss Clare, who is in pursuit of the area’s most eligible bachelor – the Duke. However, when she sprains her ankle on the day of the dance, she must watch her best friend socialize with the Duke. Meanwhile, she finds herself catching feelings for her doctor, who isn’t elite at all. This leads to a conflict between love and social status. What unfolds is a wonderful story of social climbing and its consequences.

Rich friends by Jacqueline Breskin

Rich friends
Rich friends

Set in the post world war period, this is the story of three rich friends and their families. The first, Em is the descendant of a chain of wealthy supermarket owners and gets married to a war veteran. Her sister Caroline, however, falls for a radical writer. however, must deal with the horrors of the holocaust that haunt her life and choices even today. Set against the backdrop of turbulent times and spanning generations, the book proves that money cannot win it all.

Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin

Best Books About Social Climbers (Primates of Park Avenue)
Best Books About Social Climbers (Primates of Park Avenue)

This memoir offers a glimpse into the elite Upper East Side life – full of privilege and wonder unknown to those outside it. As Martin was married into Manhattan and not born to it, she initially struggles with fitting in. She studies her desires, the culture and practices, the mating practices and physical exhibitions from an anthropological angle. What emerges is an insightful, though provoking and much more informative than expected read.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch
The Goldfinch

This widely loved book tells the story of thirteen year old Theo. After surviving a car  crash that kills his mother, a wealthy family takes him in. As he rises through ranks in society, he discovers the criminal underworld and longs desperately for his mother. Suddenly exposed to the elite, his responses and coping strategies make this book an excellent

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

Best Books About Social Climbers (Vanity Fair)
Best Books About Social Climbers (Vanity Fair)

This wonderful classic is the story of two radically different women. One, Becky Sharp, is poor, orphaned, extremely ambitious, shrewd and amoral – basically a social climber. The second, Amelia Sedley, is a pampered, privileged, wealthy and naive Victorian heroine. Thackeray criticizes and satirizes the British society through Becky’s eyes. This is definitely a must read classic, especially if you love books on social climbers.

An Inconvenient Woman by Dominick Dunne

An Inconvenient Woman
An Inconvenient Woman

This is an intricately woven story that intermingles the rich and the poor, the elite and the mediocre in more ways than one. Jules is an elderly billionaire who lives the perfect life – charitable, artistic and very, very comfortable. Until he falls in love with an actress who works as a waitress. This unleashes a series of events that involve deception and appearances that do not correspond with reality.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Best Books About Social Climbers (Madame Bovary)
Best Books About Social Climbers (Madame Bovary)

This classic French novel seemed simultaneously scandalous and enticingly real when it was released – in 1857. Two centuries later, this novel is still relevant and achingly beautiful. It’s the story of wealthy and beautiful Emma Bovary whose marriage is happy yet devoid of passion. As she seeks refuge increasingly in sentimental novels that never correspond with her reality, she continues to get exasperated. Eventually the boredom culminates into a series of affairs with devastating consequences. A wonderful piece of literature, this one is a must read for social climber lovers.

Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

Past Imperfect
Past Imperfect

This is the curiously witty story of Damian Baxter. He is on his deathbed and has 500 million pounds of inheritance with no one to inherit it. He married late, by which time he was sterile as a result of an illness. However, he wonders if they may have sired any children before the time. And so, he sets out 0on his quest to find the perfect heir. Fellowes writes artistically about a class of society we neither comprehend nor know personally – they stink of privilege and wealth. With dazzling wit and satire, this book is one to put on your TBR is you love books about social climbers and a high class society.

A Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

Best Books About Social Climbers (A Line of Beauty)
Best Books About Social Climbers (A Line of Beauty)

The protagonist of this novel is perhaps the most well-rounded social climber ever. Nick enters the Notting Hill home of the Feddens. The Feddens are rich and privileged members of the parliament but Nick is a stranger to politics and wealth. As he gets a taste of this, however, he begins to desire power, wealth and an elite social circle. He navigates his desire of beauty as well, amidst the scandalous and passionate love affairs around him. This book is a masterpiece of literature as well as a study in the pitfalls and exaltations of social climbing.

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