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Books that are like a movie...
October 23, 2012 5:16 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: "I'm looking for the equivalent of American Beauty the movie in a book. Any suggestions?"

I suggested The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides and I found this short list of suggestions.

Any others?
posted by dfriedman to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Something Happened by Joseph Heller (yes, that Joseph Heller)
posted by carsonb at 5:18 PM on October 23, 2012


I might suggest The Corrections?
posted by Lutoslawski at 5:19 PM on October 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Lolita?
posted by Rykey at 5:39 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Little Children by Tom Perrotta
posted by sallybrown at 5:46 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Came in here to suggest The Corrections or Freedom.
posted by murfed13 at 5:48 PM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


In what sense? If you're looking for something with a stylized, lyrical, everything-goes-to-hell-isn't-life-strange aspect, Bel Canto gets there.
posted by mochapickle at 5:50 PM on October 23, 2012


Tom Perrotta's Election also has themes similar to American Beauty. Older man having an affair with a teenage girl, dark humor, some family dysfunction (brother and sister running against each other in school election).
posted by houndsoflove at 6:16 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Virgin Suicides, Little Children, and All We Ever Wanted Was Everything were the first "American ideal suburbs go to hell in a lyrical fashion" novels that jumped to mind. Cintra Wilson's books tend to be a bit more urban, way less lyrical, and way more cynical, but sometimes fit that same niche for me.
posted by jaguar at 6:20 PM on October 23, 2012


Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates;
Rabbit, Run, by John Updike;
the early stories of that writer;
the stories of John Cheever, which are a stretch because they portray an older and richer group of people than that portrayed in American Beauty;
pretty much anything by Tom Perotta, as mentioned above;
and Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger, deals with some of the themes of alienation you'd find in American Beauty, but in a more religious way than the movie does.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:45 PM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Came in here to recommend Something Happened. Great book.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:53 PM on October 23, 2012


Midlife crisis but good? Family falling apart? Preston Falls, by David Gates. I have read and reread it over and over.
posted by scratch at 7:06 PM on October 23, 2012


books by tom robbins - stylized, themes of youthful and aged sexual relations - both one sided and reciprocal, that feeling of being out of place but connected, drugs.
posted by nadawi at 2:46 AM on October 24, 2012


Anne Tyler writes books about human existence. Sometimes something shocking happens, other times things happen off stage and you're left with how people feel and deal with what has happened. She is just about the truest author I've ever read.
posted by h00py at 8:20 AM on October 24, 2012


Revolutionary Road, short stories by John Cheever, Wonder Boys (by Michael Chabon), Underworld (Don Delillo)
posted by forkisbetter at 10:09 AM on October 24, 2012


Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow.

By "same as American Beauty" what I mean is a story of a dude in mid-life crisis with a superficially great life who decides to just chuck it all. It is a great book.
posted by bukvich at 3:27 PM on October 24, 2012


what I mean is a story of a dude in mid-life crisis with a superficially great life who decides to just chuck it all.

In that case, you might enjoy The Magic Christian by Terry Southern.
posted by Rykey at 6:56 PM on October 24, 2012


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