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White

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  3,733 ratings  ·  559 reviews
Ellis offers a first work of nonfiction meditating on the social-media age. The result is both a defense of freedom of speech and a critique of the likeability factor that can impede it.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 16th 2019 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Average rating 3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,733 ratings  ·  559 reviews


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matthew
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, non-fiction
Bret Easton Ellis is perhaps my favourite author. I own first editions of two novels and still own my original Vintage paperback of American Psycho from 2001, since high school. No other author has cast such a huge influence on my style, my aesthetic preferences, even down to the very typeface used in his novels (Electra). Thus, it was ever disappointing that Ellis has mostly given up novels and fiction and has instead pivoted to podcast host and near-constant complainer about what he calls Gene ...more
Supreeth
Bret Easton Ellis's fiction books always had these bisexual, queer men who are mostly transgressive, and apparently 'cool' and they had nothing to do with coming out of the closets. He was a classical Liberal and probably believed in everything liberalism stood for, but now that he's so sick of his peers, he wants to switch sides and that has been harder than coming out as a queer. I recently read a book by Jewish Gay conservative Milo and to him, BEE is the prime example of eighties liberals sw ...more
Sam Quixote
Bret Easton Ellis’ first foray into nonfiction, White, is disappointingly unimpressive. Part diatribe on the current state of the political landscape, part memoir, there really isn’t much here that’s especially brilliant or worth reading.

A lot of Ellis’ commentary on politics of the last few years is, if you’re as familiar with similar polemics as I am, simply regurgitated talking points from elsewhere. People these days are overly sensitive, social media witch hunts are reprehensible, the left
...more
Blair
This book has already stirred up controversy – as the author no doubt intended – but a week after reading it, I already find myself without much to say. It's a loosely-strung-together set of essays that are part cultural critique, part rant and part memoir; mostly chaotic, with some (not enough) good bits.

'Acting' is probably the best of the bunch – Ellis writes so beguilingly about the film American Gigolo that I was immediately dying to see it. 'Post-Sex' also has its moments. The author's ana
...more
Tom LA
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So wonderful to read BEE’s voice again. First, I loved the “I don’t give a shit, I’ll write only about what I want” attitude. For that in itself, this book gets 5 stars. Authentic, clear, yes of course self-centered, and it’s including some pieces that he discussed in his podcast, but that’s absolutely fine.

This is the author’s first non-fiction book, and it’s a very autobiographical work, although selectively so. A lot of BEE’s inner life through his young years - including his actual “growing
...more
Meike
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, 2019-read
This collection of essays is enlightening, but not in the way Bret Easton Ellis intended it to be; rather, it shows how some well-supported criticism can easily morph into an anger that dismisses all logic and measure, which is the very behavior the author wanted to attack in the first place: "And the hyperbole I was accusing others of, I realized, I was now voicing myself - but I couldn't help it", he states towards the end of the book. The thing is, Bret, you totally could, if you wanted to, w ...more
Lisa K
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it
your cranky uncle wrote a whole book about being put on blast via twitter
Dany Salvatierra
Snowflakes are having epic meltdowns over this book. Although Bret Easton Ellis, the all-time provocateur, isn’t just triggering social justice warriors: he’s just voicing a very personal ‘opinion’, a notion that no longer exists in the contemporary world, a time when free speech means denouncing and censoring anyone who doesn’t follow an imposed and so-called “progressive” narrative. It’s also his finest piece of writing, but tell that to the mainstream media.
Kusaimamekirai
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
“I never succumbed to the temptation to give an audience what I thought they might have wanted: I was the audience and I was writing to satisfy myself, and to relieve myself from pain.”

It’s not something I typically do, as I prefer to go into a book without any preconceptions, but before reading Bret Easton Ellis’ “White”, I skimmed a few reviews of it online.
Oh my….
I’m curious about how many people read the entire book before calling him a right wing racist, misogynist, or Trump apologist,
...more
Gator
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reading White felt like jumping into a cold lake and your whole being at once is wide awake, this is a certifiably FRESH new read. My meter for a really good book is when you stop page counting and get lost in the pages, I got completely lost in White, especially towards the end when Ellis just completely shredded the lefts pretty little picture of their faux tolerance. Plus it clarifies American Psycho’s protagonist Patrick Bateman and finally after thinking about the book since I’ve read it ab ...more
Kevin Berg
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook version of this release, read by the author, which was fucking great. Obviously he knew exactly which words to stress, the correct tone to use, and made it an enjoyable experience that flew by. I laughed at several points throughout.

It was a collection of anecdotes, essays, and arguments about the society that is changing around us. Stories from childhood, his early success, and how life is years later as a literary badass. Of course, the reviews that seem to catch p
...more
Britta Böhler
Moments of brilliance but also long passages that I found boring, not well thought-through and too often self congratulatory.
3.5* rounded down.
Peter Derk
Despite its provocative title and author, White is not an in-your-face screed. It’s not an angry book, and the title is a joke, it seems.

Ellis was a rebel in the early 90’s, American Psycho being turned down by its publisher as it was bound to be controversial. He was a young, bad boy writer who wrote transgressive novels, was hired to write interviews and profiles, and was then chastised for doing that in a transgressive fashion as well. You hired the American Psycho guy, and then you’re pisse
...more
Cazlam
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
shockingly... i loved it. part memoir and part social commentary on where we are as a society, i found it controversial, entertaining and thought-provoking. while i don't necessarily agree with some of the things he says (king cobra being a good film) i do appreciate that he doesn't want to dictate how i should feel ...more
Steve Erickson
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Dashes of cogent movie criticism (almost all in the first few essays) mixed with lots of "I'm way too cool to give a shit about politics" posturing and hypocritical attacks on "Generation Wuss" when Ellis demonstrates his petty over-sensitivity repeatedly. Here's my review for Gay City News: https://www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2... ...more
Angus McKeogh
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A semi-autobiographical diatribe about the culture of intolerance that exists in the present and how it impinges on our freedom of expression. Political and artistic. Republican and Democratic. Pervasive and nearly impossible to root out. Ellis is putting it under the spotlight. Unfortunately that very fact will bring the criticism. Great read.
Dalton
Apr 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
I am an admirer of Ellis’ provocative work such as American Psycho and believe Rules of Attraction to still be the most accurate and necessary satirization of elitism in liberal arts colleges I’ve come into contact with, but this is simply not a good book. White could have been fascinating, thought provoking, and provocative. Instead this reads as a collection of angry, boastful rants which become repetitive quickly. Ellis’ wit is all but absent, his subtly non-existent, but his furor and hollow ...more
Ben Arzate
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full Review

While Ellis proves he hasn't gotten any less cynical with age, he's also not the old man screaming at the damn kids on his lawn that many have painted him to be, either. Despite all the uproar surrounding this book, I can't say it lives up to the hype of being terrible at all. While it isn't a mind-blowing book, it's still a solid work of art and cultural criticism and memoir that people who enjoy and are familiar with Bret Easton Ellis's fiction will likely find a fulfilling read.
...more
Clare Snow
Sep 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Hey Bret,
How do you fit in?

About to re-watch The Rules of Attraction - spectacular cinematography. How's the royalty situation?

**********************
It must be hard being a sad old white man who wrote his best work in the 1980s, when he was a bright young thing.

These days he dumps on the current bright young things, including his millennial boyfriend. Toxic relationship much.

Get the short version from his angry old man podcast or twitter.
...more
Clay
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I said the other day to a friend that I stopped reading newspapers she was shocked. How was that even possible? I explained that I have been closely following the news for the last ten years and enjoyed it for the majority of that time. But in the last couple of years both the right and the left wingers have become unbearably hateful and toxic. And so the media as well.

This tension led to the so called quality media outlets to join the left in their fight. It is not uncommon that journalist
...more
Sylvester
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, memoir, film
White, originally going to be called White Privileged Male is a provocative commentary on the changes in the society Ellis has observed. It is mostly a memoir with some side comments thrown into the mix. Being a long time fan, I can really see how his writing came about, this was a close up examination of his brilliant mind.

The book was hardly provocative unlike what the absolutely TRIGGERED critics were saying, the book consisted mostly of his reviews on FILMS. The perpetually offended will al
...more
Etienne
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5/5. Some parts of it were great, some parts... well it seem like the author is getting lost in his thoughts process. I like the part about how people victimize themselves in our modern days, the part about how everyone get offended by everything, especially was isn't important. I did think that Twitter is mentioned was too often and that commenting your tweets in a books isn't that interesting. And finally, I was let very indifferent about the big part on gay «culture». Overall I'm glad i lis ...more
Matthew
Our society has become a reactive one. Go on any social media platform and count the “first” comments people make immediately once any piece of content has been posted; you’ll lose count within minutes should you chose to even go through such an innocuous experiment.

The same can be said about Twitter as a whole. The very second after a momentous - or, just as frequently if not more so, not so momentous - event occurs, people are flocking to their accounts to tweet about it, as though under deadl
...more
GONZA
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: posseduto
As a long time reader of Ellis, and the last books were not my favorites, I was a little bit worried about this new book, mostly I was afraid of being disappointed again. Instead, and I am very happy to underline instead, I was really happy, mostly because it's a non fictional essay about the life of the author, of his political ideas and some other stuff about movies and literature, that were a real pleasure to read.

Come lettrice di lunga data di Ellis, e anche delusa da tempo, avevo quasi pau
...more
J.J. Rusz
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You might assume that “White,” a collection of essays by the author of “Less than Zero” and “American Psycho,” would focus narrowly on topics of interest to folks in NYC and LA. And you wouldn’t be wrong. Bret Easton Ellis takes readers inside the uppity enclaves that define American pop culture and art. And much of what he reveals is sensational and sad.

But there’s more going here. If its autobiographical essays sometimes read like high-class gossip, Ellis’s concern throughout “White” is with c
...more
Radiantflux
68th book for 2019.

I enjoyed most of this book. Ellis's discussion of politics, of his childhood watching horror movies and porn, of the dangers of creating too safe environments for children, of NYC in the late 1980s, or political correctness destroying good queer cinema. The analogy between actors hiding their private dark secrets behind happy public personas with those of most millenials using social media so they can remain marketable seemed spot on.

Where things fell apart for me was when h
...more
Peter Bradley
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
Please give my Amazon review a helpful vote - https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-re...

White by Brett Easton Ellis

I purchased this book after seeing Brett Easton Ellis on Tucker Carlson. He seemed to have an intelligent, forthright exasperation with the stifling political correctness that permeates the culture. Despite all that, this is not a book on politics; it is about culture, specifically, the bicoastal, elite, celebrity, literary culture that Ellis has been a part of since he published his
...more
Eben
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first, as many Bret Easton Ellis' fans began to suggest on his Facebook feed, Bret had turned into an uncomfortable racist and an alt-right old man, rambling on about how much better everything was in his day.

I became increasingly worried since I'm a big fan of Bret and have always enjoyed his voice and work. He's one of my biggest influences when it comes to writing compelling, apathetic satire. I have loved, read, and collected all his novels, except for Lunar Park which lost me with its un
...more
Astir
Nov 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
The most ok-est boomer-est book you may ever read. A rich white male conservative who has had it good since young adulthood is here to tell you how things are for women and black people and youth, and if you disagree you're probably upholding the cult of victimhood. Marvel at blind privledge as Bret dismisses Black Lives Matter because he doesn't like its 'aesthetics'. Watch as Bret uses his homosexuality as a shield to critique all social empowerment ventures as wussy disempowering victim worsh ...more
Scott Rhee
Jun 06, 2019 rated it liked it
In the name of full disclosure, here are a few things that one should know before I begin my review of Bret Easton Ellis’s latest book “White”:

1) I have never read anything by Ellis prior to this book. I realize that this is hard to believe given the fact that I read a lot and that I grew up in the 1980s, which was the decade in which Ellis was the most relevant. I have nothing against Ellis, personally. The fact that I have not read anything by him is not due to any calculated effort to avoid
...more
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Bret Easton Ellis is an American author. He is considered to be one of the major Generation X authors and was regarded as one of the so-called literary Brat Pack, which also included Tama Janowitz and Jay McInerney. He has called himself a moralist, although he has often been pegged as a nihilist. His characters are generally young vacuous people, who are aware of their depravity but choose to enj ...more

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“Here’s the dead end of social media: after you’ve created your own bubble that reflects only what you relate to or what you identify with, after you’ve blocked and unfollowed people whose opinions and worldview you judge and disagree with, after you’ve created your own little utopia based on your cherished values, then a kind of demented narcissism begins to warp this pretty picture. Not being able or willing to put yourself in someone else’s shoes—to view life differently from how you yourself experience it—is the first step toward being not empathic, and this is why so many progressive movements become as rigid and as authoritarian as the institutions they’re resisting.” 16 likes
“The litany of what I did want? To be challenged. To not live in the safety of my own little snow globe and be reassured by familiarity and surrounded by what made me comfortable and coddled me. To stand in other people’s shoes and see how they saw the world—especially if they were outsiders and monsters and freaks who would lead me as far away as possible from whatever my comfort zone supposedly was—because I sensed I was that outsider, that monster, that freak. I craved being shaken. I loved ambiguity. I wanted to change my mind, about one thing and another, virtually anything. I wanted to get upset and even be damaged by art. I wanted to get wiped out by the cruelty of someone’s vision of the world, whether it was Shakespeare or Scorsese, Joan Didion or Dennis Cooper. And all of this had a profound effect. It gave me empathy. It helped me realize that another world existed beyond my own, with other viewpoints and backgrounds and proclivities, and I have no doubt that this aided me in becoming an adult. It moved me away from the narcissism of childhood and into the world’s mysteries—the unexplained, the taboo, the other—and drew me closer to a place of understanding and acceptance.” 11 likes
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