Sistermagpie's Reviews > Compulsion

Compulsion by Meyer Levin
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review

liked it
bookshelves: mysteries, novels

A fictional retelling of the Leopold and Loeb murders, Compulsion is definitely an interesting look into the pov of the time when it was written. I have to admit, I was prepared for the homophobia, and was expecting the characters' relationship to be seen as a mental illness, and explained through quasi-Freudian ideas that don't work at all, but the misogyny was possibly even worse. The murderers unsurprisingly have a lot of issues with women, but unfortunately the women in the book seem there to act out the weird ideas.

The character of Ruth is the very worst example, desperate to save the self-loathing murderer Judd through sex. This is a girl who is afraid "for Judd" even when he's attempting to attack her. Of course, it's hard to know where Levin is just presenting the way the characters would think and saying something that he himself believes. For instance, when the reporter character who's always been reliable, admits to fantasizing about raping a woman for fun during the war, it seems like Meyer must be saying a lot of men, even "good" ones feel entitled to rape, but having Ruth react to a near-attack (and Judd's lecturing about how rape isn't actually possible because all women consent in the end) as if it's the equivalent of a less than perfect (but far from terrible) date is harder to take.

It did make me want to read non-fiction about the actual murders, though.
2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Compulsion.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 11, 2012 – Finished Reading
October 15, 2012 – Shelved
October 15, 2012 – Shelved as: mysteries
October 15, 2012 – Shelved as: novels

No comments have been added yet.