The Talented Mr. Ripley

I came to The Talented Mr. Ripley via my book club and I was pretty happy we read it during October. It was spooky and gripping-the perfect Halloween read. Patricia Highsmith, the prolific American black comedy writer, is new to me; but I’m so glad I found her. I can’t wait to catch up on the film adaptations of her work.

The Talented Mr. Ripley follows Tom Ripley on a journey to bring an acquaintance, Dickie Greenleaf, home to New York from Italy. Tom is a lay about who hasn’t really gotten his life together and his hoping this journey to jumpstart a new life. His desire to become just like Dickie is overwhelming and leads him down a dark path.

While I did find the story to be without major twists or turns, the world Highsmith creates is high stress and high stakes. I could feel my breathing get shallow and my stress rise each and every time I opened the book. Ripley struck me as a sinister, yet profoundly broken, man who is willing to do anything to have the freedom money provides. I was really challenged by the book-it certainly didn’t end the way I wanted it to. However, I do think Highsmith does a powerful job painting a portrait of just how far we can fall.

What about you? Have you read any of Highsmith’s work? Is the movie better than the book? I’m checking it out next!

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