Book Review: Frederic Beigbeder – Was 9.99, Now 6.99

The back cover of this book compares it to Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho and it wouldn’t be too far off. In fact, it’s kind of the bastard child of American Psycho and Naomi Klein’s No Logo. Beigbeder was a respected advertising executive when he wrote this fictional condemnation of his trade and of the materialistic culture of branding that it supports.

This novel tells the story of Octave, a successful, 33-year-old advertising executive earning a ridiculous amount of money for selling a lifestyle to the world for his clients. He has just dumped his girlfriend, who is carrying his child. He has a terrible cocaine habit, a very bad attitude and he has decided he wants to get himself fired. Of course, he doesn’t actually manage this, not even when he runs out of a meeting with his most important client with a massive nosebleed caused by his drug intake and uses the blood from his nose to write the word “pig” all over the walls of the client’s toilets and hallway. In fact, he gets a promotion instead.

Beigbeder, through Octave, has created a ruthless diatribe against the way in which we, the modern consumer, have allowed ourselves to be manipulated into believing that we must consume to exist and that our lives are empty if they don’t mirror the perfection preached in advertisements. He accuses everyone, especially his cynical and knowledgeable lead characters, who realise that they are corrupted by their jobs and by their lifestyle but continue to go into work because they like the obscene amounts of money they earn.

This book is funny, and I do mean laugh-out-loud funny, as well as disturbing and very very astute. It captures the idiocy of noughties culture where the rich try to look poor, the poor try to look rich and everybody uses their clothes, their posessions and their lifestyles in general as a giant billboard for their favourite products and brands. Octave makes lists of his prized posessions as if to show off his taste by owning the right brand of furniture, the right fabrics, the right labels and art by the right artists, even though he knows all fashion is manipulated by corporate money via clever marketing. The book is about being unable to take pleasure in anything other than image and as a result being miserable as styles change faster than the minutes tick away on a clock. It’s about being trapped in modernity where life as we know it makes you miserable, but to throw it all away is equally miserable. Beigbeder’s work stands in stark contrast to the work of his existentialist countrymen such as Sartre or Camus and almost as a philosophical counterfoil to them, because Octave, try as he might to get himself fired, seems to constantly be a victim of fate rather than an instrument of free will. He is forever trapped in his world, dragged along by circumstance and those with more power.

In Was 9.99, Now 6.99, Beigbeder has captured the essence of our age: the frustrations, the beauty, the corruption, the insanity and the surreal rhythms of modernity. Everybody is disillusioned with the world yet feels that it is always someone else’s problem to fix. Characters wash their hands of responsibility for the way in which their own behaviours propagate a system they despise because that system enables them to be physically comfortable, surrounded by their expensive posessions.

At times achingly comical, yet hopelessly depressing this book is certain to become a cult classic.

10 Responses to “Book Review: Frederic Beigbeder – Was 9.99, Now 6.99

  • ???????? ????? Says:

    ???????? ?????…

    Hey there, You’ve done an incredible job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this site.|…

  • louis vuitton schal monogram Says:

    Ende eines phantastischen Tages f?r das ganze Revier.
    [url=]louis vuitton schal monogram[/url]

  • John Hilbner Says:

    naturally like your web site however you need to test the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very troublesome to inform the reality on the other hand I¡¦ll definitely come again again.

  • plastic dinnerware dart white Says:

    I do not know whether it’s just me or if everybody else encountering issues with
    your site. It looks like some of the written text in your posts are running
    off the screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening
    to them too? This could be a problem with my internet browser because
    I’ve had this happen previously. Kudos

  • cheap air max 1 Says:

    you will have to sell your home to clear the debt. tell them about it.RUTH SUNDERLAND: Threat of dollar debt mountain casts shadow over global financeWe don’t yet know whether the greenback is still in the foothills of a prolonged rise,Assange believes that if he goes to Sweden,9million. which was released last month.But it seems Nessie is not the first monster to grace Scottish waters after it emerged a long-lost relative may have been discovered.’Their fossils are very rare, LobbyFriend also provides messages with information on local events,Dubbed the ‘first-ever temporary social network’, Once they arrive in England camp.
    cheap air max 1

  • Chaussure Jordan 4 Says:

    280 for a day’s driving to a full three-day package with ranch accommodation at ? But it wasn’t actually in the Turkish city ‘Carletto’ learned this lesson.To win back-to-back Champions Leagues.I remember Neil Lennon talking to us saying ‘Look, I like action films, US. In comparison, brokers and developers aggressively pursued the property. in the bustling NoHo part of Manhattan, who created an indelible portrait of Hawking’ s first wife Jane Wilde.
    Chaussure Jordan 4

  • nike air max 90 ice Says:

    Scroll down for video’Everything leads us to believe that the pictures actually reveal the chassis of the Galaxy S6, Robert Yi.Adding: ‘We reserve the right,Firms will hire hackers to attempt to infiltrate their networks and highlight flaws.Consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokeswoman, manipulative and controlling and deluded for making things up.Teenage Muslim convert who had hoped to marry her Asian boyfriend but argued over her tight clothing is cleared of manslaughter after insisting HE stabbed himself to death A teenage Muslim covert accused of knifing her Asian boyfriend to death after rows over her ‘tight and short clothing’ has been cleared of his killing The anti-wrinkle pill will cost at least ? Gone for ever. The only remaining puzzle is why we let people like Holland run company after company (five at the last count) when they repeatedly break the rules that everyone else is expected to obey.
    nike air max 90 ice

  • AnnieSPellish Says:

    Excellent article. I’m facing many of these issues as well..

  • Warqa Says:

    I’m not against the agree with the things you suggested.

  • Jameela Says:

    I? should talk to you here. Which is not some thing I do! I quite like reading a post which will make people believe. Also, many thanks permitting me to comment!

Leave a Reply