Our main character, Jerome Esterson is an idealistic and wealthy young man who, to put it simply, wants things that are not "conventional." I put it in quotes because honestly, the things he wants are what a lot of people want, or think they want, or would want if there were no rules: threesomes, underage babes, violence without consequence. Eric is a force, brimming with raw and primal urges. He rallies against domesticity and monogamy - any mention of suburban life makes him sick. He uses his natural talents in persuasion and public speaking to spread his controversial message. He builds up a reputation, aids some companies with his PR prowess, and meets some tempting women (and some tempting technology), in the process. All throughout, Jerome is honing his body into a killing machine, but to what end? Jerome pushes all those around him to their social limits while he pushes himself toward madness.
And then Run was not my favorite book.
However, this was a deviance from the typical genres I read, so that may be playing a part in my inability to grasp the motives and meaning of this novel.
I think the easiest, kindest way to write this review would be to split it into some well-defined sections: Things I Appreciated, and Things I Didn't.
Things I Appreciated
- I enjoyed the skepticism of Jerome. His assessments of social norms were often witty.
- I liked the honesty he provided us concerning the world of business, marketing, Hollywood, and crime. For example, he continually referred to mainstream movies and romance novels as "Monogamy Commercials," which made me smile.
- Jerome lived in the modern world. He played video games I've heard of, watched movies I've watched, and read books I've read. This inclusion added some context to the story and made it scarier/more thought-provoking. I could relate to Jerome, despite him being a psychopath and all.
- The erotic bits got better as the book went on, which ties into....
Things I Didn't
- The erotic portions of this novel were not very erotic to me. Perhaps I am jaded. However, the last few sexual encounters in the book contain a fair bit more detail, which, I think helped out a bit. I never really found any of them realistic or interesting, though. Then again, I don't read erotica.
- The first 90% of this novel literally just felt like dialog. Jerome seems to spend most of his time engaged in long discourses with his cocky friends, fights with his unbelievably horrible girlfriend(s) (see the below bullet point...), or, get this, giving speeches. It felt like Jerome was only giving speeches in order to tell us more about his boring, "edgy" views. It felt like characters like Madison existed only to give him an excuse to rant. These all came off like cheap tricks. At times, I got the impression that Hublot was unsure how to show us how characters other than Jerome felt or acted without giving it to us in straight dialog. Some might enjoy this and interpret it as a stylistic choice, but, I found it boring and slow. I guess I would have liked this novel a bit better, if, instead of just giving us giant scripts of the characters' interactions, we got to see more of their physical reactions and nuances, and Jerome's reactions to these more subtle displays.
- As I said above, certain characters, especially female characters, seemed only to exist to give Jerome an excuse to rant and be angry about things. Madison was so one-dimensional and horrible that I doubted she existed from the start. I thought, surely, that she was some weird Fight Club-ian projection of Jerome's psyche. But, unfortunately, I don't think she was. Every time Jerome would speak, Madison would start screaming and crying. This was frustrating because 1) Jerome is funny. He has plenty of witty observations. Why does a smart, scholarly girl like Madison have absolutely no sense of humor? 2) We are meant to believe that Madison and Jerome have wanted each other for a long time, yet they act like this? Have they really hid their true selves from each other for this long? 3) If Madison hated him so much, why didn't she just leave? She's not very empowered or strong-willed, despite being educated. She knows that her opinion matters and that what Jerome is doing is wrong, but refuses to do anything but bitch. This applies to all of Jerome's girlfriends. They are all just varying shades of bitchy.
I read elsewhere (but I forget where...) that this book came off as American Psycho meets Fight Club meets The Great Gatsby. A combination such as this has potential, but, it just wasn't executed in a way I could appreciate.
That being said, I have no doubt that there are people out there who will adore this novel and find it disturbing and thought-provoking.
Buy And Then Run now at Amazon, in Kindle E-book format or in paperback.