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The Rules of Attraction [Paperback]

Bret E Ellis
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 13 2002
This novel offers a satirical yet bleak vision of the modern world - a world devoted to conspicuous consumption and consumer-as-king culture - and highlights the feelings of futility and superficiality that mark an entire generation.

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From Publishers Weekly

This tale of privileged college students at their self- absorbed and childish worst is the very book that countless students have dreamed of writing at their most self-absorbed and childish moments. With one bestseller to his credit, Less Than Zero author and recent Bennington College graduate Ellis has had the unique opportunity of seeing his dream become a realityand all those other once-and-future students can breathe a sigh of relief that it didn't happen to them. Through a series of brief first-person accounts, the novel chronicles one term at a fictional New England college, with particular emphasis on a decidedly contemporary love triangle (one woman and two men) in which all possible combinations have been explored, and each pines after the one who's pining after the other. Theirs is a world of physical, chemical and emotional excessan adolescent fantasy of sex, drugs and sturm und drangwherein characters are distinguished only by the respective means by which they squander their health, wealth and youth. Despite its contemporary feel and flashy structurethe book begins and ends midsentencethe narrative relies on the stalest staples of melodrama and manages to pack in a suicide, assorted suicide attempts, an abortion and the death of a parent without giving the impression that anything is happeningor that any of it matters. Major ad/promo.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Two years after his debut best seller, Less Than Zero ( LJ 6/1/85) , Ellis returns with a very different novel. Though still about college students (Ellis graduated only last year), this story is told through numerous student diaries, illustrating the "accidents" that often form the basis of modern relationships. Here, misunderstandings, differing perceptions, and often just bad hearing cause pairings to begin or end, proving Ellis's implied thesis that there are no "rules." Ellis has his pretensions (the book starts and finishes in the middle of a sentence, and one diary entry is in easy French), but he successfully fleshes out his characters and creates involving situations. This should be a hit like the last, especially with college students. For public and academic collections. Susan Avallone, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Before Patrick, there was... June 11 2004
Then, Paul, Lauren, Victor, etc...
Following in the footsteps of 'Less Than Zero', Ellis brings us to another dark area, college. The lavish lifestyles, if that could only be so true, of Hollywood are much different here, in Camden.
The book contorts with drugs, sex, homosexuality, etc. The writing is that of an odd collection of journal samples and interviews. Continuing with the first person, references to culture, etc...Ellis has us wanting more and more. Looking to the next page, to find out the differences in one character or another. We become addicted, not too far from reality television, as we need to know what each character is doing next. Using risque sequences, Ellis pulls us in, even further.
But, in a way, as we read, we become victims ourselves. The book's central purposes are gossip, lust, anger, and self improvement. In a way, self improvement is the key measure, but with a twist. I won't reveal, that's for the reader.
I did enjoy this book, a lot better than Less Than Zero, but not as much as American Psycho. I have yet to read The Informers or Glamorama. Anyway, this book is a fine production. In the realm of teenage angst, or should I say, youth problems, this takes the cake. You see people read sappy novels day after day, well, this is one of them, but realistic in a sense that, every bad thing that could happen, is pulled together.
If I haven't convinced you, then I succeeded, because this is a book you don't just pick up and want to read, to read. It's a book you need to take the time to read, because you really do become in depth with the characters and there are so many things happening, you need to correlate, well.
Rules of Attraction is very odd, and the movie is a mild exposure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular in a most superb way May 19 2004
By A Customer
This was the first Bret Easton Ellis book that I had ever read. It initially caught my eye after hearing of the movie, and that made me interested in the book. It is well written with an interesting way to start and end a book. It starts and ends in mid sentence, which is quite hard to start off with since knowing what is going on is hard to do. The book then progresses in small sections where each character has their own section. This is good and bad. It is good because it makes it easier to read, though it gives it a soap opera feel. Since it changes character lead every couple of pages, following the story is rather difficult and confusing, because sometimes there is a need to flip back to the beginning of the section to see who is supposed to be talking. This is really the only bad part to the book. The rest of the book is quite entertaining and keeping interest in the book is not hard to do. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a book that follows the lives of several college students through the last year of college.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing tedious novel March 9 2004
By A Customer
The rules of attraction is not a book up to par with ellis' usual quality. Although the writing remains consistently good the characters are so melodramatic about seemingly unimportant issues and rather nonchalent about issues, which one would think actually matter. The "kaleidoscopic" approach to the novel one would think is clever but ends up being simply annoying. The characters are not realistic, lauren who spends half her time lamenting over her lost love victor, also sleeps with half the campus, she changes too suddenly too fast, goes from being virginal to being the campus hoe, highly unbeilvable. Sean is just a douche with little to no personality, and in a narrative story that'll put you to sleep. Paul is an overly dramatic queen, and the ease with which he sleeps with seemingly straight men is re god damn diculous. This is nothing like college really is, yes college is filled with overly dramatic romances with a lack of any feeling and ellis' characters are involved with that, however the reader simply does not care. The characters are simply too boring to care. I love ellis' work and I love post modern fiction but save yourself some time and don't bother with this one.
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Ellis' work continues to stand out in large part because he allows his characters to formulate the environment they populate in their own terms. In The Rules of Attraction, perhaps his most subtle work, Ellis accomplishes this masterfully through the absolutely disciplined, even ascetic distance he maintains from their world and values. The true testament to this is that baby boomers and college students alike both embrace Ellis as elucidating their own moral responses to the environment he creates.
Structurally, the book may come off as slightly sophomoric because of its position in Ellis' oeuvre, but the devices of radical subjectivity employed do all arguably add to the pluralistic ideological protagonism Ellis manages to achieve. The plot follows the romantistic relations of a few of the disaffected students of the elite liberal-arts Camden College in New Hampshire with some original linkage of linguistic and sexual confusion, and also substantially Less than Zero. All Ellis' work is ultimately salient if only in his capture of the dearth and excess of emotional energy his characters exquisitely possess.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Unique Novel.... Feb. 10 2004
By Eric
The Rules Of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis, is his second novel, and definitely one of my favorites (the other being American Psycho). The story evolves around Sean Bateman, (Patrick Bateman's brother, the sick and demented character in American Psycho) Lauren, a girl who changes boyfriends as she changes majors, Paul, a bi-sexual who has the hots for Sean, and other guys around the college. It is set in New England during the Regan 80's. They spend their time getting drunk, doing drugs, and having sex. Yet, these characters are unlikable, they dont have a clue what they want to do in their future, or the present. They barely go to class, and that is all they do. What makes this book so good? The writing that Bret Easton Ellis does in this novel. This novel brings back the 80's; full of drugs, sex, and music, and it pokes fun at it. The novel is very entertaining, and yet very unique in many ways. The novel tells us about these slackers who rather have sex and get drunk, and yet they dont have a single clue of what they want to do with their lives. One of the thing that Ellis does not make us feel sorry for them, which is very different from other writers out there; James Patterson, Stephen King, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, and the list goes on. A very unique novel by one of the finest modern writers of our time.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Another winner by Ellis. I loved the journal format, really kept me reading. The characters were great, just as empty and superficial as all the so called "friends" I've... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Violet
2.0 out of 5 stars Good writing, no substance...
As with all of Ellis' books, save for American Psycho, 'The Rules of Attraction' is filled with good and interesting writing (stream of consciousness this time around)and little to... Read more
Published on Dec 14 2007 by Benjamin Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars a great book
this book isn't for everybody but I thought it was awesome. ROA does a great job of showing life from the point of view of everyone involved just like in real life. Read more
Published on July 10 2004 by Michael Allen Miller
3.0 out of 5 stars It's the 80s
This book is good, for an undergrad. You can plainly see when you read Ellis' later work the progress that he made. It does have traces of feeling, but it's a bit strained. Read more
Published on May 11 2004 by Rich
5.0 out of 5 stars Bret's the man
The first book i read by Bret Easton Ellis was American Psycho, although shocked by the violence, i loved his dark humour. Read more
Published on April 27 2004 by "chemical_burn"
4.0 out of 5 stars depressing food for thought
The way in which this book began and ended left the reader with only a snippet of these peoples' lives. What we see has a clear message of moralism. Read more
Published on April 5 2004 by writer and music junkie
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Novel From One of the Best Modern Authors
The Rules of Attraction, set at a fictional New England college very similar to the author's alma mater Bennington, chronicles a few months in the lives of two young men and a... Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2004 by T. H. Pine
5.0 out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE
Oh my god. After seeing the movie based on this book, I was immediately left with an unsettled, almost unsatisfied feeling. Read more
Published on Dec 23 2003
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