(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Diary of a Yuppie is a candid first-person account of a crucial period in a young lawyer’s life. The book is presented as a private journal but is unlike most such works in that it is surprisingly free of confessions of guilt or even expressions of regret. To Robert Service, the title character, the end always justifies the means.

The novel begins in 1979. At thirty-two, Service is happily married to Alice, a beautiful, intelligent woman whom he met at Columbia University, and they have two daughters. Service specializes in corporate takeovers, and he has done so well that at the beginning of the next year, he expects to be made a partner in his firm. With this achievement, he will have outdone his father, who never became a partner but settled instead for an inferior position. The respect that Service might otherwise have bestowed on his real father has gone to Branders Blakelock, a highly respected member of the firm and the young man’s mentor and sponsor.

However, from Service’s vantage point, Blakelock no longer deserves his respect or even his loyalty when, by criticizing the younger man’s tactics, he proves to have what Service considers nineteenth century values. To Service, that criticism justifies his conspiring with Glenn Deane, another unscrupulous lawyer, and Peter Stubbs, a gifted and wealthy young man, to steal the most capable young men from their present firm and start their own. After Blakelock informs her as...

(The entire section is 548 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Bryer, Jackson R. Louis Auchincloss and His Critics: A Bibliographical Record. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1977.

Dahl, Christopher C. Louis Auchincloss. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1986.

Gelderman, Carol. Louis Auchincloss: A Writer’s Life. New York: Crown, 1993.

Parsell, David B. Louis Auchincloss. Boston: Twayne, 1988.

Piket, Vincent. Louis Auchincloss: The Growth of a Novelist. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991.

Tuttleton, James W. “Louis Auchincloss at 80.” New Criterion 16, no. 2 (October 1, 1997): 32-36.

Tuttleton, James W. “Louis Auchincloss: The Image of Lost Elegance and Virtue.” In A Fine Silver Thread: Essays on American Writing and Criticism. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1998.

Vidal, Gore. “The Great World and Louis Auchincloss.” In United States. New York: Random House, 1993.