Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Requiem for a Dream” as Want to Read:
Requiem for a Dream
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Requiem for a Dream

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  35,589 Ratings  ·  807 Reviews
An evocative, poignant saga of four people trapped—and ultimately destroyed—by their addictions

Sara Goldfarb is devastated by the death of her husband. She spends her days watching game shows and obsessing over appearing on television as a contestant—and her prescription diet pills only accelerate her mania. Her son, Harry, is living in the streets with his friend Tyrone a
...more
ebook, 284 pages
Published December 13th 2011 by Open Road Media (first published 1978)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Requiem for a Dream, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Pat C. I don't think I could take a repeat of this story either by watching the movie again or reading the book. This was one of the most disturbing and…moreI don't think I could take a repeat of this story either by watching the movie again or reading the book. This was one of the most disturbing and intense movies I have ever seen. I can't really say I would recommend it unless a young adult I cared about was headed toward drug addiction - then I say pull out all the stops. It is is not an enjoyable piece of entertainment.(less)
KT My answer is going to be very biased. This book is one of my favorites. I loved the book and I loved the movie. Of all the book-to-movie adaptations…moreMy answer is going to be very biased. This book is one of my favorites. I loved the book and I loved the movie. Of all the book-to-movie adaptations I've seen, Requiem for a Dream was one of the best as far as staying true to the source goes. Since you loved the movie, I'd say "Sure! Why not?".
Just be warned, the writing style can trip you up a bit at first. Hubert Selby Jr. doesn't like punctuation. You will see many run-on sentences. Forget about quotation marks. I was having a hard time with it at first, but then I got used to it. If anything, it really makes you feel like you are experiencing the story. To me, it made the book even more powerful.
Hope this helps!
(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 25, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, drama
We all want to have better lives. When I was young, I wanted to be a teacher my father said no money in teaching. So, I wanted to be an agriculturist he said you will be digging dirt till the day you die. So, I wanted to be a priest priests die with their ass dirty as no one takes care of them. So, what? Why not be a doctor? Okay. After becoming a medtech, what? But he did not have money to send me to a medical school. Ha ha ha ha

In my iPod, I have this song by The Pussycat Dolls. One morning,
...more
Charles
Jan 12, 2009 Charles rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: literary
Am I the only person in the world who thought this book was terrible? From the Amazon reviews, apparently so. The book is all narrative and dialouge. In other words, all telling with virtually no "showing."

And what's up with cramming everyone's dialogue into the same paragraph so you can't always tell who is speaking? Why not just break it normally so it's clear? Or for goodness sake, use quotation marks. And can you get any more pretentious than being too good to use an apostraphe when you wri
...more
Becky
Man. MAN. That's some fucked up shit, right there. I have so much to say about this book that I don't know where I should start or how to say anything, and last night when I started this review, I was just kind of stuck in a kind of disturbed loss for words. And I've seen the movie and I knew what to expect - but I still feel a deep sadness and revulsion and shock after finishing the story. It's just... traumatizing. Brilliant, but traumatizing.

I'll just go ahead and say now that if you're conc
...more
Parthiban Sekar
Among the people who try to find the meaning of the dreams or even interpret them, there are some for whom the mere hint of any positive dream is Life. The solitude, oblivious to the surrounding and the troubles which keep them wide awake in the darkest nights, is what they look for feeling them as a whole. Unable to find it, these ill-fated souls stimulate their solitude by poisoning their veins to save themselves from the madness that is leisurely side-walking toward them. Little do they know ...more
MJ Nicholls
Mar 26, 2012 MJ Nicholls rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, merkins
Selby’s novels are transgressive masterpieces with a bigness of heart and a strange, spiritual tenderness. The epigraph to this book alludes to Selby’s faith (in God) and I can see him writing about these doomed dope fiends with the compassion of a pastor tending to his flock. This heartbreaking novel follows the decline of four distinct Americans—young working-class white male Jew, young middle-class white female Jew, young working-class black non-Jew, and elderly widow. All four are addicts th ...more
Kelly
Wow wow wow wow wow. Requiem for a Dream manages to be so painful and beautiful at the same time. Although I'd seen the film before I read this book and knew the fate of the characters, I was still following their paths with such anxiety and hope. It's an account of people who dream big but lose much bigger.

It follows four characters in the Bronx. There's Sarah, a widow who spends her days living vicariously through her television while eating boxed chocolates. On the warm days, she joins her li
...more
Kandice
May 31, 2015 Kandice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not even sure where to begin.This book was incredibly hard, and at times painful, to read. The opening scene is of a young man and his friend taking his mother's television to the pawn shop to get money for heroin. Although there is nothing funny about that when you really think about it, I thought that I was in for a sad story told in a comical way. I mean this t.v. has been pawned by the boy and then bought back by the mom so many times that the pawn shop owner has a book to record the tra ...more
Lavinia
Jan 07, 2009 Lavinia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, fiction
I'm quite surprised that many readers regard it as a book about drug addiction and junkies of different types. I (as the title clearly states) mainly see it as an attempt of pursuing the American Dream, the one that grants all American citizens total and pure freedom. And so, since nobody really knows if the Dream is dead or not, anybody is free to try it out.

What makes it better than the film (if this was ever debatable), is the story-line and the stories behind the characters. Due to my bad me
...more
Julian Meynell
I came to Selby because I realized that I was interested in a genre called transgressive fiction, which I had not, until recently, even heard of. When I checked out the genre, in addition to many of my favorite books, I discovered that Selby was a leading writer. I then read Last Exit To Brooklyn and loved it, so I followed up with this book. It never occurred to me it would be as good. It turns out that Requiem For A Dream is the best book I have read written since the 1950's.

The book is about
...more
sweet jane
Όσοι με γνωρίζουν, ξέρουν την αδυναμία που έχω στα βιβλία που μεταφέρθηκαν στον κινηματογράφο. Φανταστείτε, λοιπόν, την χαρά μου όταν σε ένα παζάρι βρήκα το Ρέκβιεμ για ένα Όνειρο του Hubert Selby! Η εμβληματική ταινία του Aronofky που τόσο μου άρεσε, πίστευα ότι θα με μαγέψει ακόμα περισσότερο με την λογοτεχνική της διάσταση. Μέγα λάθος μου. Το βιβλίο ήταν ωμό, τραχύ και ανατριχιαστικό όσο και η ταινία, η αξία του όμως μειωνόταν αισθητά στην συγκεκριμένη έκδοση. Υπήρχαν ολόκληρα κομμάτια του κε ...more
Kathryn
Requiem for a Dream was an addiction for me.

The pun intended.

I couldn't read this fast enough. I wish I hadn't been so busy, and could have devoured this in one day. This is an easy, five star favorite for me.

Requiem was my first Selby, Jr. read, and it definitely impressed me. The writing style is his own, and every character's personality was so visual and real. The story of these four people is heartbreaking in their own ways, but, compulsively readable in their own right.

Is it weird to s
...more
Marie Antoinette
“For weeks Tyrone thought he was going to die any minute, and there were also times when he was afraid he wasnt going to die.”

Somehow after watching the movie the book is bearable but still pretty heartbreaking. It is a great book if you have the time to actually read it , it's not a book that can be read lightly.

This books has its ups and downs. My best advice is: If you don't like the first pages Odds are, you won't like it at all.

“Eventually we all have to accept full and total responsibili
...more
Todd
Feb 11, 2013 Todd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some stories can shake me to the core. Today, I finished one such story.

I’ve heard talk about the film Requiem for a Dream for several years now, how it’s considered one of the most disturbing and hopeless movies of all time.

Sounds fun, right?

Due to the hype, I decided to check out the novel off of which the film is based.

Premise

Hubert Selby Jr.’s 1978 book of the same title has what sounds like a simple plot: people get addicted to drugs, and it’s bad. From the back of the book: “In Coney Islan
...more
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*

All have disappointments in life - for me, this book turned out to be one of them. The movie has always seemed an art form, the perfect and in-your-face warning to stay off the drugs, kids, they're just no good. I was beyond excited to finally read the book that turned into such a (at least to me...) well-done movie.

Disappointing. :( And, after looking at other reviews, I'm apparently in the minority.

The main issue is the writing style. It just doesn't work with my brain. It's supposed to be ar
...more
Laura Martinez
May 11, 2008 Laura Martinez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read a review about the movie that said that the movie, Requiem, burrows under your skin and stays there for a while. This is true of the book, too. Each character speaks differently and you have to get used to their way of speaking as the author doesn't use punctuation marks and end sentences with 'Harry replied' or 'Marian said.' It is a fresh style of reading. This book IS very disturbing; so disturbing that a friend of mine threw it across the room when he finished it and asked me why anyo ...more
Anya
UPDATE "On acid stars you're getting there"-Hole

BAD MOVE.


Requiem For A Dream follows the downward trajectory of lives of four people in 1980's living in Bronx. It talks about addiction. About how it plunges a knife in the stomach and ruthlessly murders the American Dream.

“I suspect there will never be a requiem for a dream, simply because it will destroy us before we have the opportunity to mourn it's passing.”


Requiem for a Dream is the story of four addicts. There's Sara, the empty nester, TV
...more
Arax Miltiadous
Feb 15, 2016 Arax Miltiadous rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ξεμένω από λογία...
όσοι έχουν δει την ταινία , ναι, είναι σίγουρα αριστούργημα και είναι από τις πολύ λίγες που ο σκηνοθέτης κατάφερε να μεταφέρει ταυτόσημα και να εξυψώσει αντίστοιχα το σενάριο του με το ίδιο το βιβλίο.
Η αργκό του συγγραφέα σε βάζει αμέσως στο πετσί των δρώμενων και καταφέρνει να αποφύγει την πολυπλοκότητα που κάνει έναν εκ των έξω να σηκώνει τα χέρια ψηλά και να απηυδεί.
Είναι χίλιες και μια πραγματικές ιστορίες. Η σύλληψη και στέψη οποιουδήποτε ονείρου, το οποίο δύναται να χα
...more
Rita Meade
Mar 21, 2010 Rita Meade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Remember that slow horrible realization you had when you were a kid, when you became conscious of the fact that your parents wouldn't always be there to take care of you and that there are bad things in the world and that we all eventually die alone? This book unearths that feeling from its hiding place in your soul, magnifies it, and plunks it right into the pit of your stomach for 280 pages. There's not a dishonest word in this book - just raw emotion, fear, and hopelessness seeping from every ...more
Stefani
Dec 09, 2008 Stefani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading Last Exit to Brooklyn, I thought that I had seen the worst of Selby's characters. As I tensely awaited the conclusion of each chapter, hoping that maybe just one of the characters would manage to get ahead or break the cycle of dependency on drugs, I would be rendered speechless by the desperation and insanity brought on by addiction. As the darkness of winter descends upon Brooklyn, Harry, Tyrone & Marion all find themselves stumbling through the night to get their next fix, , ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This didn't "get" me. Not the author's fault. His characters are real: the widow, hooked on tv, obsessed with getting thin, becomes addicted to diet pills which were her vehicle towards a descent to madness (with a little help from an incompetent and corrupt physician); her only son, a junkie, his girlfriend, his buddy and his own girlfriend--all with their heroin-addled brains; their delusions that they are in control of their lives; the demonic power the drug has on them. These made me wonder ...more
Philippe Malzieu
Mar 17, 2014 Philippe Malzieu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bukowski, Harlan Elison, Fante,Carver and Selby, in the 80th, everybody read them. Why in this prosperity time,it was this kind of book which fascinated us. Someone saw there the back of the American dream. It is false, the heroes of this book aspires at the social success. Their dream are naive.
We imagine them gaining money and have children. Their ingenuity will lose them. They will be crushed physically and morally. Marion will finish prostitute sordidly. There is a certain naturalism which d
...more
Arcadia
Aug 10, 2015 Arcadia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wow.
At first, I was really skeptical towards the book. Junky and Trainspotting had had a very different input about heroin and the course of addiction you undergo with the drug, and I was even surprised when I researched Hurbert Selby Jr. and found that he had been addicted to heroin after being subjected to experimental drug treatment as a cure to his tuberculosis.
The first half of the book is too happy. With occasional heroin use, the characters are not concerned about heroin sickness, the
...more
Hudson
Nov 08, 2014 Hudson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I thought this book was a lot like the movie, dark, depressing and bleak!

This is the story of two types of drug addiction that takes place in Coney Island NY in the 1970's. One of the character is a young hoodlum who gets hooked on heroin and the other is a middle aged widow that gets hooked on pills (interestingly enough they are mother and son). I think at one point diet pills were pretty much like legalized speed but a doctor wrote the prescription, so what could be wrong, right? Turns out p
...more
Patricia Nedelea
Another reading ruined for me by the movie... I could even hear the soundtrack while reading!
Thought it would be unfair to give it less than 5stars just because I saw the movie first...
Steve
May 12, 2013 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Darren Aronofsky, who directed the film adaptation of Requiem for a dream wrote 'I needed to make a film from this novel because the words burn off the page. Like a hangman's noose, the words scorch your neck with rope burn and drag you into the sub-sub-basement we humans build beneath hell'. I concur. And there is not a great deal i can add to that apart from a few personal musings.

It took me quite a long time to read this book, as being an addict and alcoholic myself i found the experience su
...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Sep 19, 2013 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
‘When dreams become nightmares.’

There are four key characters in ‘Requiem for a Dream’: Sara Goldfarb, a lonely widow who spends her days watching television and eating chocolate; her son Harry; Harry’s friend Tyrone C. Love and Harry’s girlfriend Marion. These four lead us through the depths and despair of addiction.

As the story opens, it’s summer in New York City and Harry and Tyrone take Sara’s television to the pawn shop. They need the money for drugs. Sara gets her television back – not fo
...more
Sara
Jan 06, 2008 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventurous readers, those who like books that challenge them, fans of realism and/or naturalism
This book isn't for everyone, the imagery is graphic and at times, terrifying and the characters are heartbreakingly misguided and flawed. Selby's writing style allows the reader to experience the tragic lives of Sara Goldfarb and her son Harry and their pathetic attempts at achieving the American Dream at any price. What's most startling and painful to read is how unflinchingly these characters cling to their naive aspirations even as their world crumbles around them. I read this for my Natural ...more
Chantal
Wow.

Shocking. Beautiful. Harrowing. Perfect.

Finished this book nearly two weeks ago and it still haunts me. It’s beautiful and moving in the way that a tragic and all-too-believable story can be.

A cautionary tale of illegal drug use as well as the more socially-acceptable addictions set in the Bronx in the late 70s. The characters are all dreamers in some way, propped by their various substances and habits; Hubert Selby, Jr. portrays the fine line between dreams and delusion, a line that become
...more
Jason
I've just been blown away by another Hubert Selby novel, reading this you can see why it is considered one of the best books on substance abuse. He has the ability to make you feel for the main characters and then slowly destroy them whilst you sit there and helplessly watch. As Sara's life unfolds I was almost reduced to tears, luckily I am a real man and managed to push them to the back of my mind to fester into some later violence.

A beautifully written book but with his usual take on grammar
...more
Asghar Abbas
Jun 02, 2016 Asghar Abbas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Again, more partial to the movie .
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: Requiem for a Dream, by Hubert Selby Jr. 7 11 Aug 24, 2016 08:25AM  
Lost Hope 20 139 Dec 19, 2014 07:37AM  
  • Now and on Earth
  • Dead Babies
  • Clown Girl
  • The Basketball Diaries
  • The Contortionist's Handbook
  • Apathy and Other Small Victories
  • Leaving Las Vegas
  • Water from the Sun and Discovering Japan
  • Skagboys
  • The Coma
  • Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange
  • Hey Nostradamus!
  • Candy
  • Kingdom Come
  • Guts
  • The Fuck-Up
  • Mysterious Skin
26335
Hubert Selby, Jr. was born in Brooklyn and went to sea as a merchant marine while still in his teens. Laid low by lung disease, he was, after a decade of hospitalizations, written off as a goner and sent home to die. Deciding instead to live, but having no way to make a living, he came to a realization that would change the course of literature: "I knew the alphabet. Maybe I could be a writer." Dr ...more
More about Hubert Selby Jr....

Share This Book



“Eventually we all have to accept full and total responsibility for our actions, everything we have done, and have not done. ” 317 likes
“But you cant shut everyone out. I mean you have to have someone to love. . .someone to hold on to. . . someone--” 225 likes
More quotes…