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The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis

The Rules of Attraction (1987)

by Bret Easton Ellis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,047262,778 (3.59)35

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English (25)  French (1)  All languages (26)
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Ah, Camden College. My first references to it came through Ellis' other books, but I soon found out about how it links authors Donna Tartt and Jill Eisenstadt, and apparently Jonathan Lethem too.

'From Rockaway' was my first real introduction to the Camden, it wasn't a fantastic book, but decent, so it was fun when Lauren recognized Alex (that-nice-girl-from-rockaway), Joseph and a couple other minor characters from that novel as part of the Friday night crowd at the Pub.

In 'Rules' Ellis magnifies the selfishness, the pettiness, and the insecurity of college social life - I don't think anyone at Camden goes to class - and he ends up with a pretty accurate map of what its like. At least, emotionally. I can't imagine any school as hedonist and underwhelming as Camden existing in real life...though I often did wonder how some people ended up graduating from my own school when they seemed to be blacking out every night.

The most effective aspect of 'Rules' is the shifting first-person narration. Sometimes covering the same party from four or five perspectives. All sides of a relationship came out. I can't remember an author who was so able to highlight characters' delusions, self-inflicted and otherwise. Death of romance indeed.

One short chapter is narrated completely by Sean's French roommate Bertrand, in French. So after half-heartedly looking for a translation online (I couldn't find a decent one), I ended up spending an inordinate amount of time translating it myself with my French-English dictionary and Google Translate (which is hardly perfect, but a lot more sophisticated than Babelfish). So even if none of the characters learned anything, I certainly got a good refresher in foreign languages. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
I loved this book. I started reading it after seeing the movie, and I was not disappointed. I sped through this book in no time. I loved the characters, the way the narratives shift, and the overall style of the book. My first Ellis novel, but not my last. ( )
  Borrows-N-Wants | Sep 22, 2018 |
Non che mi sia dispiaciuto il tipo di narrazione del romanzo, anzi. Trovo molto più interessante un romanzo in cui la storia te la costruisci a partire dai punti di vista e dai racconti dei personaggi, come questo, che il classico romanzo col narratore onnisciente. È proprio il tema che mi ha infastidita, annoiata, e infine lasciata con un grosso "meh". È possibile che io abbia perso il momento giusto per leggerlo -forse avrei dovuto leggerlo quindici anni fa, e un po' mi sarei ritrovata nelle vite dei protagonisti, ai primi anni del college. Ma leggere duecento e passa pagine di droghe, alcool, feste accademiche, sesso promiscuo e non protetto, gravidanze non programmate, ancora sesso, soldi, auto, più droghe, più alcool, e intorno il vuoto, mi ha lasciata un po' delusa. Forse era proprio questo il messaggio che l'autore voleva veicolare -il vuoto dell'esistenza di un mucchio di fighetti viziati. Beh, nel mio caso ci è riuscito. ( )
  lonelypepper | Feb 22, 2018 |
I could barely make my way through this. I hated all the characters so much. I wouldn't have read as much of it as I did if I wasn't having to read it for a class. I realize that that was probably in part the goal of the Ellis, but it left me completely apathetic about the outcome of the characters and the story. As soon as I finished reading it, I wanted to forget it, so I did. ( )
  AmyRogers | Sep 4, 2017 |
I'm such an Ellis fan after "American Psycho" ... I read this book when I was in a "reading slump" to get back in my groove and I'm so glad I did. The movie was a pretty accurate portrayal, even though some of the characters were combined. ( )
1 vote DBrigandi | Jul 3, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bret Easton Ellisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Davis, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fortgang, LaurenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gerard, DannyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
For Phil Holmes
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:03 -0400)

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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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