I actually saw the movie before reading the book, so unfortunately, I knew where the plot was headed. Even so, the book was every bit as gripping as the movie. I'm not one of those purists who get angry because things in the movie don't match up exactly with things in the book (in fact, I barely remember the details of the movie...only the ending), so I wasn't troubled by any discrepancies. However, others who are purists may be bothered.
The narrative style of this book is probably not for every one. It's written in first person with a very helter-skelter style, but I loved that. The jagged, off-beat narrative was a perfect voice to use for this frenetic, depressing plot.
To say the story is gritty is like saying the public bathrooms in a city bus station are gritty. No big surprise there. But what did surprise me was the depth of insight. Even as a middle-aged woman, I could relate to some of the things in this book that seemed to be written with disillusioned, young men in mind. Like I said, the entire thing was gripping.
The plot itself is, of course, so overblown as to be ridiculous (as if this could ever happen), but again, it put me in a certain mood. I was engulfed in it the way I am engulfed by dystopian fiction. It all seemed right somehow. Sick, but right.
This book isn't for everyone, but I loved it.