Thursday 4 January 2018

PSYCHO by Robert Bloch

PsychoPsycho by Robert Bloch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I watched Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho years ago. And if I'm honest, asides from the shower scene, the weirdo Norman Bates and the creepy twist, I don't remember much more. I didn't bother with the remake, for obvious reasons.

But I've been interested in checking out the novel it was based on for a while now. So I started reading it this morning and was instantly hooked!

Norman Bates is a loner who runs a motel. A motel that barely gets any visitors. But he doesn't care because he's got his mother with him.

The night a pretty woman stays in one of the rooms, the many secrets the Bates family keeps well hidden start to unravel. Almost as quickly as Norman's sanity...

That's pretty much all I need to say about a story the whole world is pretty familiar with. LOL. But you know what? In spite of going in knowing so much, I was surprised by how much the story actually surprised me.

This book is an outstanding study of psychology. Focuses on a man who was dominated so deeply by his mother as a child, it splinters his psyche to the point of backfiring against the one person who thought she had such a tight grip on him.

I was fascinated from the beginning. Totally hooked, first by Norman's quiet madness and then by Mary Crane. She was such a cool character. A young woman who wants so badly to get on with her life that one impulsive choice steers her life to a dark place she never expected. I really liked her, and was quite sad when she... you know what happens.

The supporting characters were also interesting. I liked her sister. Mary mentions the sacrifices she made for her younger sister early on, so when Lila goes out of her way to find her it was really touching. I just felt bad about all these men trying to tell her to be patient and calm down so often she ends up taking matters into her own hands. Which was really good to see in a novel from 1959.

Actually, I really liked how women were portrayed as strong enough to run their own lives, while still allowing men to fulfil their roles. This also clashed with the way Norman saw all women as bitches because they were at the root of provoking evil deeds. So it was done very well.

Sam is an odd one. I did like him because he totally comes through in the end, but his calm reaction to his missing fiancé just takes too long to manifest into action. IMO.

Oh, and the last chapter is truly amazing. That chapter wraps up a super spooky and creepy as fuck horror story and turns it into a classic. Seriously awesome stuff.

I'm SO glad I read this book.

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