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The Boy Who Followed Ripley Paperback – Aug 26 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Paperback, Aug 26 2008
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton (Aug. 26 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039333211X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393332117
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 2.3 x 21.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #175,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Library Journal

To coincide with the premiere of the paperback publication of 1992's Ripley Under Water ( LJ 10/1/92), Vintage is releasing a brace of Highsmith's earlier adventures of Ripley, the cordial young man with the talent for murder. Dubbed "especially brilliant" by LJ 's reviewer, Ripley's Game ( LJ 5/1/74) finds the protagonist continually bungling a hit, while The Boy Who Followed Ripley ( LJ 5/1/80) finds him trying to protect a young man on the run after murdering his wealthy father.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Patricia Highsmith was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1921 but moved to New York when she was six. In her senior year she edited the college magazine, having decided to become a writer at the age of sixteen. Her first novel Strangers on a Train was made into a famous film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. Patricia Highsmith died in Locarno, Switzerland in 1995. Her last novel Small g: A Summer Idyll was published posthumously just over a month later. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've read 4 Ripley books, in order.

I have found the quality tails off as you read through the series, finally hitting rock bottom with the Boy who followed Ripley. To be fair the second and third are perfectly readable, just not as good as the first. The Talented Mr. Ripley deserves all the credit it gets, it is a well written and attention grabbing tale.
The plot is reasonably straightforward, but I get the feeling that much of the substance remains in the authors head - there are many instances of unlikely events that Tom for some unfathomable reason imagines will happen, and lo and behold, they do. He instantly recognises who the boy is, with little evidence. He immediately comes to the conclusion for no apparent reason that certain things will happen to the boy (I won't spoil it), they all happen. These in our world are called coincidences, in Ripleys world we are expected to swallow them one after the other.
I found myself skimming paragraphs, as I knew what would happen, because Tom had thought about it happening 10 minutes before.
The character of the boy himself is woefully undeveloped. The premise of the boy 'worshipping' Tom Ripley is thought sufficient to explain why the boy meekly does everything Tom tells him to, whether or not it makes sense.
Still, I'm not going to give it no Stars at all. I did manage to finish the book, and I certainly couldn't do any better!
This is not her best work. I found myself turning to my wife and saying 'Boy, this book is boring'. A first for me.
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Format: Paperback
"The Boy Who Followed Ripley," by Patricia Highsmith, is the fourth in her five-book series about Tom Ripley, the amoral psychopath who has so captured readers' (and viewers') hearts over the years. Here, Tom is living a quiet life in suburban France, with a wealthy yet accomodatingly incurious wife, when a young American boy comes into his life. "Billy," or "Frank" as he is more properly called, is the younger son of a very wealthy family, the father of which has recently died, apparently by his own hand after a decade in a wheelchair. Billy wants to stay out of sight, despite his high social profile, and Tom is happy to help him out. But Billy has a dark secret that may lead to more complications than Tom is prepared to handle.... I have not read the second and third books in this series, so I'm a bit in the dark as to how Tom comes to be living the life he is in this book; however, that didn't prevent me from enjoying this volume quite a lot. Although we spend a lot of the story inside Tom's head, his motivations remain as obscure as ever; as nearly as I can determine, he seems to do things simply because it occurs to him to do them, or because it might be amusing to see what happens next. A complicated character, indeed! Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
While folks reading this review have probably read the first three Ripley novels and will probably read the fourth (The Boy Who Followed Ripley) regardless of what I write, let me just say a few words on what to expect. Having read some 20+ Patricia Highsmith novels I have alternated between being a raving fan and a semi-harsh critic of her work. When she is good, she is very good indeed. When she has an off day, her material is just ho-hum. I'm afraid The Boy Who Followed Ripley falls into the latter category.
The Boy Who Followed Ripley has just an interesting premise. A sixteen year-old American rich lad seeks out our rogue Tom Ripley and befriends him. We discover the boy has a dark secret, which he shares exclusively with Ripley. The boy's friendship extends into something like hero-worshipping. At this stage Highsmith could have used some clever homo-erotic angle, which would have been an interesting twist back to the original The Talented Mr Ripley novel, or at least made the boy into some sort of threat to Tom Ripley (..a man with many secrets). But no, the author merely injects some rather unoriginal mystery/criminal handy-panky which involves with boy and Tom Ripley. The only curious bit is that Tom Ripley is the good guy here, which is a bit of disappointment for the fans of the Ripley series.
On a much more minor note, I was unfortunate enough to read a 5-6 year old UK version of this novel. The publisher took liberties in translating many expressions into British slang, which is really appalling since the two main characters in this novel are Americans. It is downright bizarre to read a book where Americans use words like loo (toilet), pissed (drunk) and fag (cigarette). This is the first time I witnessed this in a UK edition Highsmith novel; I hope the most current edition of The Boy Who Followed Ripley is spared from this nonsense.
Bottom line: a very readable, but very mundane Ripley book. Disappointing and, sadly, not recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I just finished this book tonight and was sad to reach the last words - I only have one more Ripley book to go that I have not read, and since the passing of Ms. Highsmith I know regrettably there shall be no more adventures for Tom Ripley after that. I actually paced myself so I could mull this fourth novel in the series over throughout the summer, picking up again where I left off on airplanes, at lunch, and on the bus to work or school. I am very easily drawn into the enticing world of Villeperce and Belle Ombre in the French countryside that Patricia Highsmith has lovingly created for the talented Mr. Ripley to exist in - I am highly disappointed these places are pure fantasy, as I would have enjoyed a pint at Marie and George's bar-tabac with relish. This book is a mixed bag, I think, but still a great read. There are all the wonderful little details that Ms. Highsmith includes that make Tom Ripley a real person for the reader. As referenced by another reviewer, his relationship with his wife Heloise is fascinating to me. Separate beds, stories he doesn't quite share, obviously illegal activities, yet a true sense of devotion that evidences itself in the little presents he loves to buy his wife while on his twisted, dangerous adventures throughout the European continent. Heloise is not stupid, so I am sure she knows exactly what her husband is up to, so she probably doesn't care. There are a lot of marriages like this - maybe she finds Tom's antics entertaining. She does also know of Tom's homosexual evidenced by her strong reaction to the arrival of Frank Pierson into Belle Ombre. Heloise realizes that Frank is infatuated with Tom and that Tom is attracted to Frank, whether he admits it or not.Read more ›
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