Written by Marquis de Sade

1787 ***** 218 pages

I first became aware of the Marquis de Sade thanks to Pier Paolo Pasolini's disturbing film Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom. I found a copy of Justine at my local Barnes and Noble, and I bought it out of curiosity. I'm sure glad I did. Justine is an amazing, brisk little read about a young woman's misfortunes throughout her life. In fact, the full title of the book on some printings is Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue. An orphan, she lived at a convent until money ran out, then she was forced to live on the streets. From one sad encounter to the next, she was taken advantage of in just about every way imaginable. It's a tragic tale that really opens one's eyes to the real world and how it treats the most innocent. de Sade wrote this book while incarcerated for committing some of the sexual acts as depicted in this tale. Its sexual debaucheries are not always easy to read, so the more faint-hearted should steer clear.