One Vicious Author

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You remember the 1987 movie, Throw Mama from the Train?

I learned last night that it was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1951 movie, Strangers on a Train, which was in turn based on the novel by the same name.

The author of the novel?

Patricia Highsmith, a nasty woman whose biography makes Ellen Degeneres look like Maria von Trapp.

“[S]he was a predatory lesbian, in addition to being a professional homebreaker; a nasty drunk; an emotional sadist; and an equal-opportunity bigot who seems to have detested every group except the American and European gratin. Arabs, Jews, the French, Catholics, evangelicals, Latinos, blacks, Koreans, Indians both dot and feather . . . the list goes on and on.”

When I read that, I was like, “Wow. She didn’t like Catholics?! That bitch!”

So I had to keep reading.

(New TDE readers, please note: my prose occasionally lapses into irony.)

It turns out she had a rough childhood. She was an abortion survivor (her mother tried to terminate the pregnancy with turpentine) and a divorce survivor (her parents divorced when she was six months). She speculated later that she was sexually assaulted as a child but couldn’t recall, or didn’t divulge, details. For her entire life, she was filled with murderous rage.

But she could apparently write: 22 novels and numerous short stories.

And when she wasn’t writing, she was traveling and trying to get married women to have lesbian affairs with her. She loved to break-up marriages.

Like I said, she was an awful person.

Anyway, if you want to read more about this awful person, check out this review of Devils, Lusts and Strange Desires, a brand new biography about Patricia Highsmith released a few days ago.