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The Psycho Ex Game

3.34  ·  Rating Details  ·  417 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
Lisa Roberty is a successful screenwriter with an impoverished social life who’s enduring a demoralizing job at the mind-numbing sitcom You Go, Girl. Grant Repka is an obscure indie rock musician who, in his forties, finds his career surprisingly resurrected with the success of his comic operetta about the doomed romance of Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson. When Grant and Lis ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published July 12th 2005 by Villard (first published 2004)
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Aug 05, 2007 Steph rated it really liked it
Shelves: postcollege
Just fun. I'd especially recommend it to anyone who has been in a relationship, and later thought, "What was I thinking?"
Claire M.
Mar 06, 2009 Claire M. rated it really liked it
I adored this book. Being something of a journaling whore, I found the gradual and eventually heart-wrenching confessional tone to these email exchanges just amazing and so true. There is something about the email/journaling medium (I look back on what I've said to strangers without a thought and it's pretty scary) that has you saying things you never would face to face. This confessional aspect to it, as the story progresses and the stakes get higher (as evidenced by the points!), was exception ...more
Oct 19, 2009 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, didnt-finish
I've been having mixed feelings while reading this one, so I think I'm gonna put it aside for now. I made it to page 110 out of 432; maybe I'll pick it up again some day.

The book is written from two points of view, his and hers, and switches back and forth by chapter. The two main characters start an on-going email dialogue in which they compare stories about their "psycho exes" to see who's had the worst of it. Each chapter relates their thoughts and daily goings-on along with their email excha
Jun 28, 2016 Denise rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vanessa Escobedo
Jun 28, 2012 Vanessa Escobedo rated it liked it
It was a good read. Not great but it was interesting enough to keep me wanting more and when I finished, my exact words were "what the hell?!"
Aug 30, 2009 Jenny rated it liked it
Pretty funny book. Though I feel like I better be careful what I put out to the universe.
Jul 15, 2015 Jessica rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book. I bought it after reading an article Markoe wrote and finding it super clever and funny. I saw she had a slew of books, so I looked forward to discovering a new author to dive into. I hope I just picked a bad book of hers to read. I have only not finished 4 books in my life, I am desperately trying to finish this one out of spite. Update: Finished, nothing changed except I added WInnie to the list of people I didn't like either.

The characters are shallow and unlikeabl
Nicole Sanglay
I was just supposed to read this so that my eyes can see words. (Yes, I do that, abnormally so.) I did not expect that I would genuinely like it!

This book was utterly hilarious. This is the only book that has made me laugh this hard. It's usually difficult for me to crack up when the humor is written, but I had no difficulty laughing at the hilarity of the situations of the characters here.

However, beyond that, I liked how this was very psychological: It paid a lot of attention to how the two ma
Apr 23, 2009 Jen rated it liked it
Like most of the author's books, without actual canine dialogue and personality to add some warmth and humor, the characters seem rather drab and depressing. I don't think I've ever read quite so many books where mid-life adult characters spend most of their time blaming everything that goes wrong in their personal lives on their parents. None of the parents in any of Markoe's books are warm, loving or supportive. Instead they all harbor varying degrees of selfishness, depression, abusive tenden ...more
Sep 18, 2015 Judy rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-and-read
Maybe it's because I was there in the 1990's and saw the scene firsthand, or because I was a fan of the co-author Andy Prieboy (though not as odd or desperate as those groupies detailed in the book) but whatever, the reason, I loved this email-epistolary. Andy Prieboy is a gifted writer with a strong voice and a dark sense of humor who can sustain the story and develop characters who have depth and complexity. Merrill Markoe's throughline is solidly anchored in her strong comedic sense. I do apo ...more
Dec 26, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who have had a major breakup, anyone with a taste for dry, sometimes dark humor.
Shelves: fiction
Merrill Markoe does an amazing job of bringing two characters together in a way like no other. Grant and Lisa share their weakest and sometimes their strongest moments in playing a game of "Who's got the worst Ex." Through these reflections, the reader learns about the two characters more and more and it seems almost inevitable that they will somehow come to depend on one another based upon their previous mistakes and personal desires.

Both characters are likable and even relatable based on thei
Allen Berry
Aug 10, 2010 Allen Berry rated it liked it
Interesting book, vivid characters and a good read for anyone who's ever had a psycho-ex. But where the book falls short is it's topicality. This is a novel situated in a particular place and time that will ultimately alienate readers in years to come. I have a soft spot for the book, I freely admit it, but I don't think that it will be remembered in the way that...say Less than Zero is. The conclusion felt rushed, like the author was trying to wrap things up. It was like there was no exit strat ...more
Sep 25, 2013 Marcie rated it liked it
A man and woman compete through emailed anecdotes to see who has the craziest ex. Of course, this is very revealing about the storytellers themselves, Grant (an aging rocker) and Lisa (a demoralized screenwriter). What's worse -- a heroin addict or a cruel, narcissistic film producer?

I love books that incorporate emails as the method of conveying the narrative. It feels modern -- and relevant. How many damaged people are looking for a human connection in cyberspace right now?

So, the bottom line
James Lundy
Mar 27, 2008 James Lundy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who are unevolved in unhealthy relationships
Quite funny, interesting two author format. I think the shine comes off the apple at the point where you realize carping about how crazy your ex was is really a reflection of your shortcomings as half of that coupling. It's interesting to think that since Merrill Markoe dated David Letterman this is a thinly disguised autobiography of that time. I think I would have found it more interesting to read a non-fictionalized version of that story.
Apr 08, 2013 Monica rated it liked it
Merril Markoe has got to be one the funniest female comedy writers in the last couple of decades. And her fictional take on relationships gone horribly wrong in “The Psycho Ex Game” does not disappoint. Reading this book reminded me a lot of early Carrie Fisher (in a good way), but at times felt a little dated—think Hollywood in the early-to-mid nineties. Even so, it was pretty fun. Now, if you don’t mind, “It’s sake time!”
Jul 24, 2012 Melissa rated it liked it
Attracted to this book for obvious reasons, I was not disappointed. Merrill Markoe is an excellent comedic writer, and it was fun to speculate as to how much of her half of the book was inspired by antics of her own famous ex. The book does not, however, make the leap to great epistolary novel.
Jun 20, 2010 Andrea rated it liked it
I liked how the two parts were written by two different people- the man and the woman. The separate voices added to the character interaction in the story. I also liked how they presented both sides of situations, being completely different from eachother based in the characters perspective
Jul 31, 2008 Jess rated it it was ok
This was an entertaining book, filled with swapped stories of crazy exes. I just started to lose a bit of interest after a while. However, if you're looking for a slew of psychotic tendencies by former lovers, this is the right place to go.
Sep 01, 2007 Kena rated it liked it
Recommends it for: If you're looking for a laugh
An easy fun read about disfunctional relationships. Two people meet and try to best each other as to who has the worst ex. Kinda makes you feel a bit better about yourself in the end and you get some great laughs along the way too.
Nov 23, 2008 Bree rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
It was so horribly boring that it took me over a month to read. I can honestly say The Psycho Ex Game is a piece of trash. No wonder it ended up at Goodwill where I bought it for 70 cents! It was a waste of money and time.
Linda Robinson
Aug 27, 2009 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A clever twist on the story of a breakup, told by both of the injured parties via an avalanche of email. Markoe's a skilled writer, and funny to boot. It's harder to be funny. That's why the Bronte sisters didn't do comedy.
Jul 22, 2009 Krista rated it it was amazing
Funny, funny author.I have loved everything I read by her. This is the story of a weird relationship between an aging rocker and a kooky TV sitcom writer -who communicate soley by e-mail telling stories of their psycho ex's.
May 01, 2009 Rowan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
Story flattens toward the end, but the real meat is the obsessive ruminations on failed love affairs. At the very least, it makes me happy I'm not alone in overthinking these things or picking horrible, horrible partners.
Kat O
Aug 20, 2013 Kat O rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
So I guess when you have 2 authors a book turns out to be twice as long as it needs to be?

Hated the ending.

Other criticism: this book will forever be a time warp.

Entertaining enough for a beach or summer read, however.
Kae Sharpe
Feb 09, 2015 Kae Sharpe rated it really liked it
Great if you are a fan of either Andy Prieboy or Merrill Markoe. The humor and writing are first rate. I was expecting more romance (marital relations) but the original comedy writing makes up for it.
Mandee DeNatale
Dec 30, 2012 Mandee DeNatale rated it really liked it
I didn't like the ending.....I thought the book had a lot of build up, which I enjoyed, only to be let down at the end. I think a sequel would be good. I want to know what happened with Grant & Lisa.
Aug 11, 2010 Dana rated it liked it
An interesting story about a man and a woman who begin a correspondence about their psycho exes and eventually get involved. Well written, but would have benefitted from additional editing.
Jul 27, 2010 Kimberly rated it liked it
A surprisingly entertaining book. I chose it from the library because I liked the cover and it was a really good choice! A light, cute book. The characters were endearing.
Apr 23, 2008 Kortney rated it liked it
An interesting novel where the main characters interact through e-mail while comparing stories about their exes. Good for a beach read, or just a light entertaining read.
Dec 14, 2013 Rashmi rated it really liked it
Big fan of Merrill Markoe and I was predisposed to like it. Entertaining, hilarious clever take on failed relationships and obsessive rumination on the aftermath.
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An author, a television writer and a sometime standup comedienne.
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“At least watching dirty movies can be kind of fascinating if they aren't too horribly strange. And even the horribly strange ones are still more interesting than televised sports.” 1 likes
“I have a very hard time getting to rage. I always assume that maybe I've done something wrong and then forgotten about it.” 1 likes
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