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Summary

The controversial Sunday Times top ten best seller.

Candid, fearless and provocative – the author of American Psycho on who he is and what he thinks is wrong with the world today. 

Bret Easton Ellis is most famous for his era-defining novel American Psycho and its terrifying anti-hero, Patrick Bateman. With that book, and many times since, Ellis proved himself to be one of the world’s most fearless and clear-sighted observers of society – the glittering surface and the darkness beneath.

In White, his first work of non-fiction, Ellis offers a wide-ranging exploration of what the hell is going on right now. He tells personal stories from his own life. He writes with razor-sharp precision about the music, movies, books and TV he loves and hates. He examines the ways our culture, politics and relationships have changed over the last four decades. He talks about social media, Hollywood celebrities and Donald Trump. 

Ellis considers conflicting positions without flinching and adheres to no status quo. His forthright views are powered by a fervent belief in artistic freedom and freedom of speech. 

Candid, funny, entertaining and blisteringly honest, he offers opinions that are impossible to ignore and certain to provoke. What he values above all is the truth.

©2019 Bret Easton Ellis (P)2019 Penguin Random House LLC

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The trolls have taken the centre

As a Scotsman and worn out lefty trying to keep up with the modern age of shifting moral goalposts, group think, victim olympics and the thought crime justice system that is social media, I have waited for a rational monologue from anyone with integrity and a spine. I just didn’t expect it to be the guy who invented Patrick Bateman.

I now firmly believe the most punk rock thing anyone can do is speak their own mind.

Bret, whether he realises it or not, is standing up to the cry bullies selfishly dismantling everything that makes our western culture a space where they can exist. He will go down in history as one of the few who saw true intolerance and stared it down. In his own meandering, roguish way.

Cheers Bret

5 people found this helpful

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Totally brilliant.

An outstanding work by BEE. Terrifically narrated. I’m bemused by some of the criticism of this first class book. He has such a distinct view and is a completely honest commentator on the Culture.

Don’t miss out.

2 people found this helpful

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stream of consciousness, but good writing

it's Bret Easton Ellis read by Bret Easton Ellis about his life. If you like him or are a fan, this is perfect. I found it interesting, sometimes enlightening, to read about his childhood, writing his first (less than zero) and subsequent books including American Psycho, and how characters such as Patrick Bateman emerged. However, there doesn't seem to be a cohesive narrative; he often jumps from his life to a film to people he met. It finishes off with a long essay about political correctness and the politicisation of society.

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How freedom of expression became an ‘aesthetic death wish’

As a corrective to the endless virtue-signalling of liberal American as it experienced a collective post-Trump nervous breakdown, this is a masterpiece you won’t want to end. There’s waspish wisdom throughout, and a strong element of memoir, as Ellis looks back on his career, with a particular focus on American Psycho (in which Trump is a recurring character). He also recounts meetings with celebrities including Tarantino. Whatever your politics (and Ellis didn’t vote for Trump), this is an intelligent, funny and thought-provoking book by a fiction writer who has evolved into a fiery and compelling polemicist.

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You do not have to agree, it is his opinion

If you like movies, if contemporary news interest you, if looking behind the curtain of Hollywood is some thing of interest, if you want to spend time with someone that is not part of your echochamber this is a perfectly good book, be prepared to confronted by ideas that are not your own and enjoy the stories of people that you will never meet, this is a monolog by someone who is just himself and we need more of that.
Did I agree with all he had to say? no. did he spout propaganda? no he is just what he is and deliciously self deprecating also he confesses things that most of us would not even tell ourselves.
A good read of someone different.

2 people found this helpful

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Superb! clear, intelligent overdue perspective

Ellis articulates, in noninflammatory terms, an alternative view that McMedia tries to drown out. fantastic!

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Not great. It's all White...

Bret Easton Ellis - White

Let me begin by saying that in many ways this is incomparable to his other books just down to the concept in itself. At worst it’s an extended rambling rant, but at best it’s an intriguing insight in to Ellis’s paranoia and grievances with the culture of today.

The good:
Interconnected themes woven together in the essays, which could seem never ending and pointless if they weren’t so expertly collated.
There are occasional references to American Psycho, which in all honesty are the real insights we want to hear about. This includes an ongoing ambiguity about whether AS is about himself, as well as an ambiguity about his own experiences in that period.
He’s invariably against happy endings and resolutions in storytelling. I found myself agreeing with his to some extent, but it just pointed out how important it is for him to continue writing novels.
His unease at how the digital age has made everything disposable really spoke to me.

The bad:
I became quite annoyed with his indifference to Trump, which is ironic if you read the chapter itself. I get how it may become annoying that other people overreact to his indifference, but his preoccupation with this becomes even more annoying. I guess most people just assume that an educated writer that many look up to would be expected to be against a leader who seems to have the opposite ideals.
His work has rarely been about plot, but I do miss the times when he at least tried to construct one.

That said, I sincerely hope that his next release is a novel, because for me this was not quite worth the wait.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting and provocative but a bit repetitive

BEE is his usual challenging and engaging self. He makes worthwhile points (if in a deliberately challenging way), about freedom of speech in the era of Trump and Identity politics. Basically he’s reminding people that “Sticks and Stones...”, and wondering why people have become so sensitive to criticism or simple comment. He reads his own book, so couldn’t be better as a performance. Book is full of back stage stories from his career but the key points are made a too often. Feels a bit padded...