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The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis
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The Rules of Attraction (1987)

by Bret Easton Ellis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,698212,197 (3.61)26
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» See also 26 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
As funny and sad as Less Than Zero was exhausting and depressing ( )
  champerdamper | Aug 13, 2014 |
Fabulous read & fast paced. BEE doesn't disappoint. ( )
  anissaannalise | Jan 1, 2014 |
Although I've always intended to read Ellis' American Psycho, I read this book today in an entirely unintended way (my Little's fiance brought two books with him to Ohio State University's graduation ceremony and he let me borrow the one he wasn't reading). It's definitely a very interesting book, from its purpose to the way it's executed.

The Rules of Attraction mainly follows three members of a love triangle - Lauren, Paul, and Sean - while fleshing out the story with some interjections from other characters. It takes place during one semester of college, although going to class takes up very little of the students' time. They're mainly concerned with getting laid, high, and drunk. It's extremely different from any other sort of teen comedy, since characters in movies such as Van Wilder or American Pie are generally pretty likable and often experience poignant moments during their depravity. Lauren, Paul, Sean, and their classmates seem to operate on one level - extreme narcissism. The characters' differences in perspective about the same events sharply highlights how self-absorbed and unable to connect with anyone they are. Everyone is madly in love with someone (and that 'someone' changes weekly), but no one ever talks, and beauty and fuckability are tantamount to being loved. At the end of the novel, each character notes that he or she hasn't changed, which flies in the face of normal fiction, where characters are dynamic and their journeys serve a purpose. Major events - abortions, a suicide, the death of one parent and the divorce of another - have absolutely no effect on these people.

This complete unlikability might leave the reader turned off, but the way Ellis handles it redeems it. An unsubtle reading of it might miss the dark humor (which none of the characters are aware of, of course). Ellis seems to be both mocking and mourning the characters as he writes about them, and the fact that Camden College is modeled on his own college suggests he's commenting on things he witnessed firsthand.

Two notes - the book both starts and stops in the middle of sentences (which threw me when I opened it, convinced it was a misprint), and Sean's older brother Patrick pops up later as the main character in the well-known American Psycho. ( )
  BrookeAshley | May 19, 2013 |
I read this book because my stepson wanted me to. I gave him the wonderful book The Last Convertible by Anton Myrer some time ago, and he read that and this back to back. Not surprisingly, he experienced some cognitive dissonance because of it. I found this book, the first I've read by Ellis, to be a dark and depressing slog through a college experience I'm glad to have missed. All the characters struck me as amoral and unlikable. Unlikable is too weak a word, I found these people to be loathsome and abhorrent. I was glad to see the last of them. The artsy plot devices annoyed me, too. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
It's not a long book, but it is a little longer than it really needs to be. There was a lot I liked about it, but after a while, I just felt that Ellis was basically repeating the same ideas.

I especially enjoyed the Rashoman-like quality of using multiple narrators to tell the same story in vastly different ways. The idea that the perspectives of two different people about the same events can be so radically different really tickles my fancy at the moment.

Aside from that, a lot of it seems to be going for shock value (Kids these days are doing the drugs and having the sex ... sometimes with the gays), but it strikes me as over-the-top and forced. ( )
  jawalter | Nov 18, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bret Easton Ellisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davis, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fortgang, LaurenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gerard, DannyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The facts even when beaded on a chain, still did not have real order. Events did not flow. The facts were separate and haphazard and random even as they happened, episodic, broken, no smooth transitions, no sense of events unfolding from prior events--

Tim O'Brien

Going After Cacciato
Dedication
For Phil Holmes
First words
and it's a story that might bore you but you don't have to listen, she told me, because she always knew it was going to be like that, and it was, she thinks, her first year, or, actually weekend, really a Friday, in September, at Camden, and this was three or four years ago, and she got so drunk that she ended up in bed, lost her virginity (late, she was eighteen) in Lorna Slavin's room, because she was a Freshman and had a roommate and Lorna was, she remembers, a Senior or a Junior and usually sometimes at her boyfriend's place off-campus, to who she thought was a Sophomore Ceramics major but who was actually either some guy from N.Y.U., a film student, and up in New Hampshire just for The Dressed To Get Screwed party, or a townie.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 067978148X, Paperback)

Set at a small, affluent liberal-arts college in New England at the height of the Reagan 80s, The Rules of Attraction is a startlingly funny, kaleidoscopic novel about three students with no plans for the future--or even the present--who become entangled in a curious romantic triangle. Bret Easton Ellis trains his incisive gaze on the kids at self-consciously bohemian Camden College and treats their sexual posturings and agonies with a mixture of acrid hilarity and compassion while exposing the moral vacuum at the center of their lives.

Lauren changes boyfriends every time she changes majors and still pines for Victor who split for Europe months ago and she might or might not be writing anonymous love letter to ambivalent, hard-drinking Sean, a hopeless romantic who only has eyes for Lauren, even if he ends up in bed with half the campus, and Paul, Lauren's ex, forthrightly bisexual and whose passion masks a shrewd pragmatism. They waste time getting wasted, race from Thirsty Thursday Happy Hours to Dressed To Get Screwed parties to drinks at The Edge of the World or The Graveyard. The Rules of Attraction is a poignant, hilarious take on the death of romance.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:02:00 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Lauren, Sean, and Paul "waste time getting wasted and race from Thirsty Thurday Happy Hours to Dressed to Get Screwed parties to drinks at the End of the World."--Cover.

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