Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
I'm not a big fan of Ayn Rand, although she was very popular back in the '70s. I finally got around to reading Atlas Shrugged a few years ago, and was apalled by the main character's masochistic adoration of a very scary man, supposedly the hero of the novel. He was the type to say "You little fool!" as he violently 'romanced' her. Clearly Rand was portraying him as the ideal man, quite the alpha male, he was. The novel offers the idea that everyone should be pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, and if they don't, for any reason, they really don't deserve to exist, anyway.
I used to know this philosophy as "Pull up the ladder, Jake. I'm up." I found the ideas expressed in this novel quite chilling, as opposed to idealistic. That's why I feel such empathy for this young woman whose father took Ayn Rand very seriously, to the point of modelling his belief system on her principles. While one book can heal, another can certainly harm. It always helps to look at both sides of a coin. Take a look at her article in Salon magazine, "How Ayn Rand Ruined my Childhood", and please let me know if your life, like hers, has been damaged by a book.