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Archive for the ‘Dueling Monsters’ Category

Dueling Monsters reminder

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Just a reminder to get your butts over to The Estella Society to link up to your Red Dragon/American Psycho posts! The Mr. Linky is up, and if you want to weigh in on who the most horrific psycho is (Bateman!), you gotta do it before the 29th (so I can write the wrap-up post for the 31st).

Written by softdrink

October 17, 2012 at 6:00 am

Posted in Dueling Monsters

American Psycho

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American Psycho
Bret Easton Ellis
1991
416 pages

********************

Ever heard of transgressive fiction? Me, neither. According to wikipedia (hey, it’s convenient), transgressive fiction “focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual and/or illicit ways. Because they are rebelling against the basic norms of society, protagonists of transgressional fiction may seem mentally ill, anti-social, or nihilistic. The genre deals extensively with taboo subject matters such as drugs, sex, violence, incest, pedophilia, and crime.”

American Psycho is transgressive fiction.

It is also the most disturbing book I have ever read. The rape/torture/murder scenes are horrifically brutal, and the narrator is so disaffected that it becomes even more chilling. I kid you not…there is NO emotion in this book. Oh wait…there’s rage.

And to make it even worse, you never even know if anything in the book really happens.

Patrick Bateman is filthy rich, ridiculously handsome (according to himself) and possessed of a most excellent tan, very interested in proper attire and home decor (using only the best brands, of course), obsessed with working out (and returning his videotapes on time), and he works on Wall Street. Doing what, I never quite figured out. It seemed like he spent more time lunching and dinner-ing than he did working.

He is a yuppie of the highest order.

He’s also got a bit of a problem with murdering people. Brutally. And just when you think he’s done something so horrific it can’t get any worse, it does. As I mentioned before, whether the murders are just fantasies or actually happened is never disclosed. I tend to subscribe to the fantasy theory myself, since his method of body disposal is so ridiculous and blatant, it seems there’s no way he could escape getting caught. However, I also think that some of the stuff actually happened. Maybe. While I have a hard time calling a book that is so brutal genius, that is part of its genius. It leaves you wondering. For days. Weeks, even. When all you want to do is forget the whole experience ever happened!

And after reading a few too many interviews with the author, I’m even more unsettled. He calls all of his books semi-autobiographical. He says the genesis of American Psycho was in his own New York experiences, a time when he was too caught up in materialism and felt increasingly alienated. He talks about his experiences with coke and watching women have sex (and all these things are key elements in the book). He claims he lies in interviews. He claims he never lies in interviews. He’s practically as disturbing as his damn book!

So after reading both Red Dragon and American Psycho for this year’s Dueling Monsters, I am declaring Patrick the worst monster. Admittedly, Hannibal only has a few scenes in Red Dragon, so it might not seem like a fair battle. But Hannibal’s reputation precedes him, so you could say he has an unfair advantage. What Patrick does to women (even if it is only in his mind) makes him the most disturbing, atrocious monster I have ever had the misfortune to read about. He’s also not that nice to men, but the torturing of women is beyond awful. Not only is he worse than Hannibal, he’s worse than any of the other monsters we’ve ever pitted against each other in the four years we’ve been doing Dueling Monsters.

Also, as much as it kills me to say this, I think Bret Easton Ellis has more talent as a writer. Not that I plan on reading any more of his books. One was more than enough.

How are you doing with the Dueling Monsters reading? Mr. Linky will be up on October 17th over at The Estella Society, so you can link up to your reviews then.

This is also one of my R.I.P. reads.

Written by softdrink

October 11, 2012 at 6:00 am

Red Dragon

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It’s hard to be objective about this one, because it’s my mortal enemy for the month. Because of Dueling Monsters, I’ve sorta brainwashed myself into talking smack about it. But I’ll try my bestest to tell you what I really thought (as opposed to my staunchly anti-Hannibal Dueling Monsters stance).

Will Graham is called out of early retirement to help find a psychopathic serial killer the police have dubbed the Tooth Fairy (he likes to bite). Will is stumped, so he calls upon his old buddy (not really) Hannibal Lecter to help give him some insight into the mind of the Tooth Fairy.

Unfortunately for Dueling Monsters, we went with a book that doesn’t feature much Hannibal. Oops. However, the Tooth Fairy aka the Red Dragon does get quite a bit of attention, and he’s definitely not a nice guy. The Dragon (he much prefers Dragon over Tooth Fairy…wouldn’t you?) has quite a few of his own chapters, so it’s certainly no secret as to who the murderer is. The only question is whether Will can get his shit together quick enough to catch him before the next family is killed.

Although I got bored with parts of the book (the police procedural sections…yawn), the Red Dragon parts were appropriately scary. Especially what happens to Freddy the journalist (and I use that term loosely in reference to poor Freddy). Ewwww. Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew.

The dragon dude (whose real name is Francis Dolarhyde) had a rough childhood (cleft palate, mom who didn’t want him, mentally abusive grandma who came with one scary-ass set of chompers herself) and he’s become obsessed with body building, film, and perfect families. Also, this painting:

That’s William Blake’s The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun. Seems Dolarhyde enjoys fantasizing that he is THE DRAGON. And when he’s THE DRAGON he starts to talk like Owen Meaney (ALL CAPS, ALL THE TIME). Luckily, this doesn’t happen until the end of the book, because as much as I can appreciate an occasional word or two in all caps, continuous all-capsy dialogue is wearisome.

Also, it’s a shame that when Francis made a little snack out of the painting (yes, he EATS it) it didn’t negate it’s existence. Because that painting really does exist, and the dragon image is used on the cover of my copy of the book. Only with more red tones. It’s horrific.

Originally, the Dragon’s focus was on choreographing the perfect, beautiful murder. I thought that was a great premise, but it seems to have been forgotten as The Dragon meets Reba and then loses his shit. Okay, so he’d already lost his shit, but he really, really loses his shit after Reba enters stage right. Anyways…the whole film thing gets lost, and while I certainly am not advocating for more murders, I think that the whole film angle could have played out more had the Dragon been given more time to do his thing. More backstory, maybe? Because he’d only killed and staged two families before the story began. Like I said, it’s not that I want more murder, but I think a longer killing spree might’ve been more effective in showing what he was all about. Cinematically, at least.

A few other notes:

Grandma Dolarhyde? What a bitch.

Mother Dolarhyde? Ditto.

All the Vogt kiddos? Ditto ditto.

Will and Molly’s ending? Tragic.

That old wheelchair? Shudder.

Hannibal? The man is so brilliant it’s frightening. I’ve never read any of the other books, but I saw Silence of the Lambs in college and just the thought of that movie still scares me. Anthony Hopkins whispering Clarice? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

However, when all is said and done? I still think Patrick Bateman from American Psycho is the ultimate bad boy of monsters. Check back later this week and I’ll tell you why.

This is also one of my R.I.P. reads.

Written by softdrink

October 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Banned Books Week

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Today is the start of Banned Books Week. A few weeks ago I was wondering what I could read to commerorate the occasion, because…

But then I realized I already was reading a banned book. And you can, too!

If you are looking for the perfect book with which to celebrate Banned Books Week, I recommend American Psycho. Trust me on this. If there is ever a book that might incite a brief thought of book banning in a person who is normally staunchly opposed to such things, this would be it. So you can celebrate Banned Books Week by being all conflicted!

Even Stephen King had somethin’ to say about it. Go. Go read.

And then go sign up for Dueling Monsters. Do it for the banned books.

Written by softdrink

September 30, 2012 at 6:00 am

I’m not above bribes

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Are you still waffling on whether or not to participate in Dueling Monsters?

If so, have I got a deal for you!

If you live in the US (sorry all you international charlies) and you want to play our who’s the worst monster game and you pinkie swear to sign up and read the book, then I will send you my (previously read) copy of either Red Dragon or American Psycho.

Your choice. You can have one or the other, but not both (because I’m trying to con TWO of you into reading with us).

First person to comment that they’d like Red Dragon (and remember…I’m counting on some Dueling Monsters follow-through) gets Red Dragon. And the first person to comment that they’d like American Psycho gets that one.

Ready, set, go!

Written by softdrink

September 27, 2012 at 6:00 am

Posted in Dueling Monsters

Dueling Monsters

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It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here!!

Okay, it’s not here here…it’s there. But still!

Dueling Monsters is back!

That’s right, people, it’s almost October…that time of year when we read to get our pants scared off of us. And this year we’ve got two books guaran-damn-teed to do just that.

Holy shit! What were we thinking??

This year, Dueling Monsters will be held over at The Estella Society (woo-hoo!), where Trish and I will be your hosts. So be sure to head on over to get the full scoop and sign up*.

Because nothing says fall like Dueling Monsters and Psycho Killers.

*If you want to be on the winning team, be sure to sign up to read my book: American Psycho!

Written by softdrink

September 18, 2012 at 7:53 am

Tips on multi-tasking

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For those of you who are participating in Carl’s most excellent R.I.P. Challenge (which reminds me, I really need to get my shit together and sign up for that. Along with the Stephen King Project.), I’d just like to say that Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho and Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon would be two excellent choices. In fact, you couldn’t pick two books that would work so well for R.I.P.

Because they’d also work for Dueling Monsters!

Yes, that’s right. I said Dueling Monsters. Coming soon to a blog near you

Also. IT. IT would work marvelously for R.I.P.. And the Stephen King Project!

See how I am nothing but helpful hints today?

You’re welcome. And you can re-pay me by putting American Psycho and Red Dragon on your R.I.P. reading lists.

Written by softdrink

September 5, 2012 at 6:00 am

Posted in Dueling Monsters