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Publisher's Summary

Own it, snowflakes: you've lost everything you claim to hold dear. 

White is Bret Easton Ellis's first work of nonfiction. Already the bad boy of American literature, from Less Than Zero to American Psycho, Ellis has also earned the wrath of right-thinking people everywhere with his provocations on social media, and here he escalates his admonishment of received truths as expressed by today's version of "the left." Eschewing convention, he embraces views that will make many in literary and media communities cringe, as he takes aim at the relentless anti-Trump fixation, coastal elites, corporate censorship, Hollywood, identity politics, Generation Wuss, "woke" cultural watchdogs, the obfuscation of ideals once both cherished and clear, and the fugue state of American democracy. In a young century marked by hysterical correctness and obsessive fervency on both sides of an aisle that's taken on the scale of the Grand Canyon, White is a clarion call for freedom of speech and artistic freedom. 

"The central tension in Ellis's art - or his life, for that matter - is that while [his] aesthetic is the cool reserve of his native California, detachment over ideology, he can't stop generating heat.... He's hard-wired to break furniture." (Karen Heller, The Washington Post

"Sweating with rage...humming with paranoia." (Anna Leszkiewicz, The Guardian

"Snowflakes on both coasts in withdrawal from Rachel Maddow's nightly Kremlinology lesson can purchase a whole book to inspire paroxysms of rage...a veritable thirst trap for the easily microaggressed. It's all here. Rants about Trump derangement syndrome; MSNBC; #MeToo; safe spaces." (Bari Weiss, The New York Times)

©2019 Bret Easton Ellis (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Playfully provocative...a feature-length yawp, equal parts memoir and State of the Union address, that will infuriate or delight.... [Ellis] rails against the diktats of the politically correct." (Charles Arrowsmith, The Washington Post)

"[In] his first book in nine years - and his nonfiction debut - Ellis exudes the same youthful spirit he’s always had: of irreverent amusement, quiet irony, indefatigable artistic curiosity. He’s a living embodiment of how, between the predigital world of 1985 and today, both everything and nothing has changed. And it’s been Ellis’s life’s work to make us confront the absurdity of that world in all its grimness, comedy and plastic beauty." (Lauren Christensen, The New York Times)

"Tough-minded and realistic.... Ellis will lose friends over this book." (Barton Swaim, The Wall Street Journal

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Food for thought for us liberals

Liberals like me can take offense at Ellis’s observations of our reaction to the Trump era, or we can use it to catalyze some productive self-assessment. I will take his critique positively, but not everyone will. YMMV

17 people found this helpful

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A Fantastic Listen

It's very refreshing to here such opinionated takes on today's society by someone who isn't a comedian and is rather a person that is, by his nature, a thinker and an observer (It would've been very difficult to write his novels if he was neither of these things). This is a very fast listen and no one reads Bret Easton Ellis better than himself. As a huge fan of the podcast, I had been looking forward to this book for some time and it definitely didn't disappoint. I only wish that the book was twice the length. Hopefully Mr. Ellis does a followup sooner rather than later. I can't recommend this audiobook highly enough.

25 people found this helpful

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Is This Avant Avant Guard Or A Terminal Crime?

Is this a coming of age tale? Hmmm.... It was once written that hell is an infinite number of facts with no pattern. How to escape? Connect the dots. Ellis'syouthful dots came disconnected so he's found a different vector - perhaps more elegant than the old one? He's preoccupied with growing up and adulthood.

Maybe Ellis has discovered the truth in L.P. Hartley's conclusion that, "The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there." And Ellis realizes that he, and the people who grew up there lack a valid passport to ever returning but still have the baggage they brought along where now everyone has declared war on that other country. Merely having the baggage questions their very patriotism. No... possessing the baggage is proof of treason.

And worse yet, there's no due process here. If you ever did... or thought... regressive stuff... the sentence is at least professionally terminal and in some cases the threats are becoming more personal. He's become a sojourner on the wrong side of the civil war lines. Or maybe he's a cultural war correspondent? Yeah, that's it and his filings are fascinating.

No longer startled that people in this time have shunned him, but is increasingly aware that many past friends seem ready to physically harm him: For what he thinks... and even dreams. He's baffled and frightened that denizens of here consider that opinions are both facts and crimes. His old cultural buddies have morphed to the degree that they now mistake thought and opinions for actual crimes. And he's surrounded by people exhibiting every symptom of sentimental derangement.

He concludes that an engine of the derangement is found in identity politics which are the toxic dead-end of civilization in their creation of savage tribal separation. And his solution to the threat? Um, well before he gets to that – the book ends abruptly.

I guess that's a tad understandable since in a lot of ways this book is a work of art... and its the job of artists to ask questions but answers have always been way above their pay grade.

9 people found this helpful

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<0

I will always owe Bret Easton Ellis a great debt in that he saved a part of my life. I was never a reader growing up. I simply could not bring myself to concentrate long enough and had to listen to books read to me or just read synopses, and I resented the activity and the people who enjoyed it because I just couldn’t bring myself to focus. And then one day during my freshman year in college, I picked up Rules of Attraction and it changed my life. Ever since I have loved reading, and further, began writing myself. It is my new preferential creative outlet, and to this, I owe BEE everything. And about ten years ago, I definitely enjoyed him as a personality. All these years later, this has changed quite a bit. He is libertarian. And proudly so. And so he is, like all libertarians, a funny and occasionally provocative asshole. Constantly posturing. A troll. He spends much of his time ranting about millennials bitching or how they cope with their lot in life, yet seems blissfully ignorant of the fact that he was incredibly fortunate and privileged to be young in a time when he could get one book published and never have to work again if he didn’t want to. It can be grating, but what kept me listening to his podcast before it was stuck behind a paywall, was that he is just so well spoken and is very versed in putting forward his opinion. The Trump apathy and Kanye apologism I can almost abide, but once he literally starts talking about Candace Owens with any real dignity, Ok BEE we onto you.

So I listened to him read WHITE, knowing this would be a pretty annoying, but hopefully insightful or at least thought provoking read like his rants on his podcast were every now and then. And it kind of is. When he isn’t just complaining about young people complaining, he is giving us stuff to chew on, like how horror prepares young minds for the world. That’s not a new take, but the way in which he portrays it is very relatable. It’s also pretty fun to listen to him dish on drama behind the scenes of his celebrity interviews on his podcast. He also airs a lot of he and his “millennial boyfriend’s” dirty laundry, to the point where it’s just uncomfortable at this point. There’s a part at which he is describing a dinner he’s having with another middle aged white dude, and they’re talking about how Black Lives Matter lacks an aesthetic and how it is an example of why Trump won, and I’m just getting douche chills thinking about how it reminds me of every obnoxiously loud conversation I hear drunk White people having in public.

This book is basically just the equivalent of a Michael Moore movies for liberals, or Fox News for conservatives; basically just a clap on the back from a contrarian to contrarians stuck in their own bubble, under the impression that they are the only ones who see things clearly.

I wanted to read/listen to this to come full circle with one of my first literary inspirations. As a member of “Generation Wuss” I’m proud to say I came out the other side unscathed. No, BEE, I didn’t find your book “offensive”, just kind of annoying.

8 people found this helpful

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Very prescient, maybe too prescient

so prescient that the Author will likely be attacked en masse by the very people who DIDN'T read the book .. . but SHOULD HAVE.

14 people found this helpful

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Phenomenal book

I can’t believe someone hasn’t already written this. Everything in this book has needed to be said for a while. I didn’t expect it from Bret Easton Ellis but he did a great job. Everything about this book is solid.

6 people found this helpful

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Haters will hate, but...

Very incisive insights into the state of our nation. I appreciated his perspectives on current issues

4 people found this helpful

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What I’ve been feeling but couldn’t articulate...

A magnificent set of ruminations on the feckless, fascist excesses of PC culture, identity politics, and Trump Derangement Syndrome from a pop-culture commentator par excellence. Thinking lefties would do themselves inestimable service by choking down this jagged pill.

7 people found this helpful

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Truth spoken and should be heard by all.

The first amendment is being attacked and it’s so obvious. Bret clearly shows what is taking place and will probably be hung out and crucified for it. Sad days we live in

3 people found this helpful

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Bravo. Well done. Articulate. Sensible.

The line where he says "My wounds are so tasty. Aren't they delicious? " Had me looking at friends in a new perpetual ambiance of their arms being held outwards asking to be licked.

3 people found this helpful