Jamie Fessenden's Reviews > Psycho

Psycho by Robert Bloch
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Oct 04, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: horror
Read from October 04 to 11, 2011

I read this, expecting to find it very different from the Hitchcock film adaptation. That's usually true of adaptations. But I was surprised to discover that the film was extremely faithful to the novel. Apart from Norman Bates being more like Ed Gein, the man who was arrested for similar behavior about the time Psycho was written (though Bloch claimed not to have heard about him, while he was writing) -- fortyish and overweight -- the deviations are minor, though we spend a considerable amount of time in Norman's head, which is fascinating.

The psychology in the novel is a bit hokey, by today's standards. Not exactly wrong, since much of it was inspired by Gein, but cliched by now and sometimes unintentionally humorous. Likewise, the 50s sexism can be a bit much. Marion Crane's despair at having to wait two whole years to marry her fiance, while he paid off his father's debt, so they could have a good income when they were married, seems rather childish and difficult to sympathize with, these days.

Still, most of the novel is suspenseful and rivetting and I highly recommend reading it, especially during the Halloween season!
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