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The New ‘American Psycho’

Few people can deny that American Psycho is a great piece of cinema and the novel by Bret Easton Ellis is said to describe severed heads of prostitutes hanging off of Patrick Bateman’s erect member be even more provocative. If you’re in the market for something a little less graphic but still just as psycho read on.

LA based author Caroline Kepnes’ newly released novel You is a sort of romantic thriller based on obsession and lust that has been performing quite well on the sales charts. Many readers say it has an addictive quality, with some finishing in one night because they were unable to put the book down. In fact a sequel is already in the works and Kepnes has been very hush hush about whether or not she’s in talks for a movie based on the book, which means she probably is.

And to what does she owe all of this success to? Well in part, American Psycho. When asked in an interview with Popsugar about her use of pop culture references, she replied:

“American Psycho was one of my big influences, because Bret Easton Ellis is someone who writes unabashedly about pop culture. I remember reading that in high school and shaking my head, like “Oh my god! You can do this. You can write about Whitney Houston for five pages in a novel and it’s still part of the story.”

Whitney Houston is an instrumental part of the film as well, but 5 straight pages on the prolific singer is probably even better.

[Image: Mentalfloss] From the film Lolita

While I’m sure specific pop culture references are bound to attract some and discard others just as quickly, the thing I found most interesting about You was the frequent comparison to Nabokov’s literary masterpiece Lolita. Readers felt that the novel convincingly builds empathy around its manic narrator Joe Goldberg, an obsessive and yet oddly relatable young man, as he creates lies and loses control.

Though I suppose one could argue that Humbert Humbert felt romantically about Lolita, both of these novels are less about romance and more about the idea of romance through a deranged characters eyes. In fact, one reviewer called You, “brilliantly effed up,” so if that doesn’t make you want to read it, I don’t know what will.

So there you have it, American Psycho meets Lolita in the age of Social Media.

You can grab a copy of You from Amazon below, mine is in the mail:

About You:
When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe works, he’s instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: She’s gorgeous, tough, razor-smart, and as sexy as his wildest dreams. Beck doesn’t know it yet, but she’s perfect for him, and soon she can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom made for her. But there’s more to Joe than Beck realizes, and much more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect façade. Their mutual obsession quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences . . .

A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age. You is a compulsively readable page-turner that’s being compared to Gone Girl, American Psycho, and Stephen King’s Misery. Get it here.

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