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Portnoy's Complaint
Portnoy's Complaint
Author: Philip Roth
Alexander Portnoy is a Jewish boy who has lived most of his childhood in the Newark Jewish neighborhood of New-Jersey. He was a brilliant student admired by his parents. But Portnoy, from his childhood on, has been obsessed by women and sexuality. The clash between his secret thoughts and the morals of his Jewish education is too violent. Soon G...  more »
ISBN: 39320
Pages: 309

0 stars, based on 0 rating
Publisher: Bantam Book (Random House)
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
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kayprime avatar reviewed Portnoy's Complaint on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
'n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933- )] A disorder in which strongly- felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature.'

While reading this book, I wasn't really sure how to feel about it. Now that I have finished, I'm still unsure how to feel about it. The book is told from a very male and very Jewish point of view- neither of which with I can particularly connect. Assuming both perspectives are as authentic as everyone says (and as authentic as it feels, even to me- a female atheist), it's hard to view men as anything other than lecherous, selfish, sex- obsessed dicks and Jews as whiney, guilt- ridden elitists.

I can, however, relate to it's raw sense of humor and stream of consciousness style of writing. It is similar to Fight Club or American Psycho in that way (and equally similar in it's misogyny and depravity)- all of which are compliments to the book!
LaCygne avatar reviewed Portnoy's Complaint on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Completely obscene and uproariously funny.

There's not really much of a plot--just a man telling the story of his life in a monologue to his therapist. As a result, the narrative structure jumps around a lot, much the way the human mind works. One memory brings to mind another memory from years earlier or years later, and then you circle back once again to what you were talking about before.

Highly recommended.
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reviewed Portnoy's Complaint on + 26 more book reviews
This is the seventh printing edition, 1969.