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Once upon a time, young!me opened up a copy of Bret Easton Ellis's book, Rules of Attraction, and was so horrified by the amoral, apathetic characters that she shunned all things Ellis for years to come. Ellis's literary landscape is no place for the hopeful young ingenue who knows what she wants and how she's going to get it, thank you very much.

But for the bitter, disillusioned grad student? Completely different ballgame. I don't know what it says about my current state of being-- haha, of course I do-- but I've fallen into an Ellis-shaped hole. Less than Zero is such a bizarre, awful, perfect book. Young!me didn't have a chance, if only because you really need to have gone through the college party scene (or at least the hangovers) to get this book. Well, I guess that's more true of Rules of Attraction, but I think it applies to Less than Zero as well.

The present-tense, stream-of-consciousness style is fairly addictive. And Ellis, the son of a bitch, wrote Less than Zero when he was nineteen. I also love how he incorporates the same cast of characters throughout all his books in this huge expanded universe. A main character in one book might get referenced or pop up in one line of another. If I'm honest, then the sheer apathy (almost a character unto itself) is kind of addictive, too.

The Less than Zero movie is a particular flavor of '80s awful, but Robert Downey, Jr. and James Spader are fantastic in it. There are other Brat Packers in it, but Downey and Spader blow them all away. Downey as the charming but ultimately doomed and heroine-addicted Julian and Spader as his sadistic pusher/pimp. The biggest flaw of the movie is that they twist the plot around to make an anti-drug morality tale (propaganda) that is completely anathema to the amorality of the book, but there's still a certain charm there.



Bonus tidbit: I discovered that the copy of Rules of Attraction I borrowed from the campus library is a 1st edition that was actually signed by Ellis. I very much want to steal this book. Am contemplating it.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-02-27 01:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sparkleloli.livejournal.com
I completely, completely trust your sense of literature, so I'm adding those two books to my list of books to buy. :D Along with The Unbearable Lightness of Being and maybe some Margaret Atwood. Thought on those two, please?

(no subject)

Date: 2010-02-27 01:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starvinbohemian.livejournal.com
Wow, careful how much power you give me! Who knows what I could recommend. ;)

I do recommend Less than Zero and Rules of Attraction, but I do so with a huge warning. These books are really messed up with no happiness or light anywhere to be found. So fair warning!

Margaret Atwood is a genius, and I think everyone should have to read The Handmaid's Tale. Haven't read the other one.

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