I have just finished reading I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe.
I have also read nearly 500 reader reviews at the Amazon site, and about 15 reviews by professional reviewers.
Not once have I seen anyone bring up the other Thomas Wolfe, the North Carolinian of Look Homeward, Angel fame.
I am not so sure that you can "get" the one's book without reading the other's.
In this era of Google searches, if I were the talented writer that Tom Wolfe is, I'd have to play with the confusion of names.