Paris Trout

[openbook booknumber=”0394563700″]


The novel Paris Trout is about a man of that name and the damage he does to a town by his actions. This book is not exactly my cup of tea, but I was able to get into it and enjoy parts of the book. I definitely can’t complain about it not being a page turner, I ended up going through the second half much faster than I went through the first. I was eager to see what happened to the bad guys.

The book starts with Paris Trout, a white businessman, murdering a 14 year old African American girl. He claims he was perfectly within his rights to do so because someone else in the house owed him a debt. His racism against the family and particularly the girl seems standard of the time at first glance as it is compared and contrasted with how the girl was treated up until then. Though the actual act of murder showed a level of pure malice and spite that went beyond it.

He scart me,” the girl said.
       Miss Mary nodded and looked over at her in a slow, tired way. “That’s your common sense talkin’,” she said. “That man scare anybody got common sense.”

As the novel progresses Pete Dexter manages to completely vilify Paris Trout. He becomes a caricature of a man, pure evil, and there are constant hints throughout the novel that people think there is something “not right” with him. Though none of them are disturbed enough to do anything more about it then give him a wide berth. To their peril.

A lot of people compare this novel with To Kill a Mockingbird. I have to agree and agree also with the fact that, because the racism in Paris Trout was distorted to seem like something only the insane would do, it diminished it and made it seem like an impossibility in polite society. That is not true (and definitely wasn’t true in 1988 when this novel was written) and it’s sticking your head in the sand to portray it that way. It’s there, trying to break it down to cartoonish good guys and bad guys simplicity won’t make it go away not to mention it diminishes it and those that suffer from it.

All in all, a lot of this book was pretty sick. There’s murder, rape, abuse, insanity, infidelity and, of course, racism all written very vividly and that’s just the first half of the book. I don’t really recommend it. Read To Kill a Mockingbird if you want to read a book that gives this issue it’s true justice.

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