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The Rules of Attraction

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  29,709 Ratings  ·  975 Reviews
Through vignettes told in each of the characters's voices, readers have a kaleidoscopic view of clashing expectations and crushing frustrations, of adolescent dreams fueled by inchoate desires. The Rules of Attraction is a poignant--and sometimes hilarious--evocation of college life in the 1980s.
Hardcover, 283 pages
Published September 1st 1987 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1987)
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Jessica 'and it's a story that may bore you' - although I haven't read it yet, this appears to be how it starts. Must be Ellis wanting to be 'edgy'.
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The following is a true story.

I was staying over at the boy's house. We were post-coital and all of a sudden he remembered he had to go to a friend's house and party with him for four hours. I opted to wait for him in his bedroom. This was uncommon because whatever, it was just sex, we didn't wait around for each other. But I was in between places, so I didn't have much of a choice. I went down to the kitchen and found The Rules of Attraction on the stove. I opened it up in the middle while eati
mark monday
Ellis is one of those authors that seems to grow in stature as time marches on. i see him on so many Favorite Author lists and i just have to roll my eyes a bit. personally, he'll always be the author i laughed at on a regular basis: hilariously pretentious and embarrassingly convinced that pretension equals depth. American Psycho? sorry, the film version was a better portrait of capitalist consumerism and had the intelligence to re-route the author's misogyny so that it existed solely within th ...more
Jonathan Ashleigh
This book may have sounded contrived to some, but to me it was exactly the way I remember being and feeling in college. The dorm, cafeteria and party scenes are brilliant and so are the fast travel sections. When I recently read The Sorrows of Young Mike, it felt like a sequel because the characters were also nihilistic college students, horny and self-involved. It, along with The Rules of Attraction, touches on similar issues that hardly affect the main characters, as they are busy thinking abo ...more
Mar 04, 2009 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: college students
This was my introduction into the world of Bret Easton Ellis, and I fell hopelessly in love.
I couldn't believe that someone could put together a written work, which not only emanates the characters hyper-sexed-over-zealous-self-conscious-unaware-searching-for-love-not-knowing sadness, but uses language to reinforce its themes. It would seem confusing, but at my first read, it was what I was feeling at that moment (minus the drugs, those came later). Rules of Attraction, at its base, is a novel a
Maria (Big City Bookworm)

3.5 Stars

The Rules of Attraction is one of those stories that makes you feel slightly uneasy while reading it. It had the feel of both A Clockwork Orange and Trainspotting in the sense that it is so over the top and risqué. The Rules of Attraction is unlike anything that I have ever read before.

I had never read anything from Bret Easton Ellis before, although American Psycho has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time now. I came across The Rules of Attraction at a local thrift shop and I r
At first glance, this book is pointless. It's an endless loop of drugs, sex, and parties. It has no plot, it begins and ends in the middle of a sentence, there are too many characters strewn about, too many labels, too many songs, too many places. You finish the book and for a moment you think 'wait - what? That's it?' but you realize yes, that is, in fact, 'it'. The apathy Ellis invokes in his readers, shows in his characters, is still masterfully done. He breezes past topics like suicide and a ...more
Jul 25, 2010 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
People who did not like this book simply did not understand it. While this book has the ability to stand on it's on, the real genius is how it acts ad a platform that allows ellis's characters (from all other works) to interact with one another outside the narcissism that confines their own stories. Those who complain that this book lacks plot or character growth, have failed to ask why that is. This book is an introspective account, told in first person narrative, from various (mainly three) pe ...more
Apr 19, 2016 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
One of the best books on insight. The setting makes this book even more pleasurable-a college campus in the 80s. We've all contemplated simple questions like "Does my best friend secretly hate me?" or "Does my boyfriend think about someone else when he's sleeping with me?". This book makes your insides squirm with embarrassment in the most hilarious form. There's so many great things about this book-the ending, the graphic sex scenes and how Victor is really a boring piece of shit. You never get ...more
Jun 12, 2007 Brooke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone looking for a little dark comedy
Shelves: 2007, general-fiction
Although I've always intended to read Ellis' American Psycho, I read this book today in an entirely unintended way (my Little's fiance brought two books with him to Ohio State University's graduation ceremony and he let me borrow the one he wasn't reading). It's definitely a very interesting book, from its purpose to the way it's executed.

The Rules of Attraction mainly follows three members of a love triangle - Lauren, Paul, and Sean - while fleshing out the story with some interjections from ot
This review is coming from my 19/20 year old self. Because that is when I first read it, and when it had the most impact on my tender brain.

I guess this was my first big lit read. Jodi Picoult, Marian Keyes (whom I still love), Pauline Simmons, a little bit of Michael Connelly and Patricia Cornwell were my main diet. These are 'nice' authors,they write about love, drama, family, murder, all very plot driven. You read it once put it away and forget about them.

'Rules of Attraction' is not a nice
Jul 18, 2008 Catkinson82 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the most depressing, nasty book I've read in a long time. I read it all in one go last night, since I have a hard time not finishing books once I start them, but I couldn't stand the thought of having to come back to it. There may be some literary merit to the book that I can't appreciate it because I'm so repulsed by the characters, but I rather doubt it. The book certainly captures the complete lack of affect and total self-absorption of the characters, as well as the compulsive, endle ...more
Mar 20, 2007 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Another reader mentions that this book has no center, I'd say he's on target and that it may have been intentional. I enjoyed it. I reads like 20 somethings who are trying hard to be everything they aren't as they try on different attitudes, life philosophies, designer drugs, sexualities. High school and college years tend to spin by too quickly and are remembered in spurts like the friendships made, the crushes that came and went, the crisis of the moment that pales in comparison to anything pr ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

He loves her, but used to do it with him, who used to do it with her, who is still pining away for a different him who is currently in Europe thinking about a different her, or is she still really hung up on the him who used to do it with her current him????? Told in a free association style of rambling diary-like entries, Sean, Lauren and Paul talk about the hits and misses in their respective love lives while attending colle
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
I just really love this man's books. Edgy but not sew edgy, dark, creepy, and palate cleansing.

His stuff is not for everyone and I can understand that. :)

Apr 23, 2009 Caris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Is it wrong that my favorite parts of this book are those involving Patrick Bateman? Though he plays a very small role in this novel, I can’t help but bring American Psycho to the table. I shouted out with glee when Sean answered a phone call and asked if it was Patrick calling, when Sean looked at a tie Patrick gave him, and when we get Patrick’s fantastic perspective for a couple of pages. What does a big brother talk from a psychopath look like anyhow?

Sean proves himself to be very much like
Jan 10, 2008 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who loved and miss the 80s
I loved the Roger Avary film version of this book, so I felt like I owed it to myself to read it. That said, the two are very, very different, and as much as it pains the book snob in me to say it, the movie was far superior. Maybe it's because the setting of the book (the mid-80s) feels so obviously dated, or because the characters seem so schizophrenic, but I just felt like the movie was a little more...real.

Honestly, it probably hurt to have gone into the book having seen the film many, many
Jan 10, 2009 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And here I thought all New England had to brag about is the Patriots - turns out they have some really happening colleges - or at least had in the 80s, where Brett Easton Ellis' story of sex, drugs, rape, abortion and suicide takes place.
The story is told from a lot of different perspectives, but mainly we follow Lauren, Paul and Sean. Lauren, who has dated Paul but after Paul and Sean are no long dating, dates Sean - but still they all 'see' other people. In the beginning, it's hard to figure o
Jun 25, 2008 Erik rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hate Bret Easton Ellis. This book isn't the only reason, but it was the beginning of my distate for his pretentious observations on terrible people who do terrible things with societies blessing. Whether I'm missing the point or just not the intended audience for his tripe, I ask you why anyone would want to spend the time it takes to read his novels with these characters.
May 23, 2015 Chase rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bret Easton Ellis's kaleidoscope novel is frank, belligerent, and exceptionally youthful. Its preponderance of masochism, sex, drugs, addiction, loss, and love are uniquely pinpointed through various characters, each apathetic and malign to any real sense of adulthood. This novel receives three stars thanks to Ellis's fatal flaw, incorporating personal notes from an unknown character who ends up offing herself in the community bathroom - a literary addition that completely takes away from the re ...more
Feb 10, 2011 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one really took me back to my freshman year of college. It should be required reading for anyone who wants to go to a small private liberal arts school. This is the first book I've read that really understands the mindset of the spoiled sociopaths who comprise the student body of many universities around the world.

I had seen the movie years ago (and watched it over and over again) but just now got around to reading the book. Of course, Ellis exaggerated his days at Bennington College to cre
Oct 23, 2010 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
The Rules of Attraction is about students, but also about sex and drugs and apathy and teenagers and America and more drugs and suicide and indecision and AgOnY (two decades pre-emo) and morals/no morals and, occasionally, about the idea of love. And it's good. Ish.

I liked it, but I'm not sure that blurb is right - or even close. 'Moral vacuum', sure, but The Rules of Attraction is not really about a romantic triangle; or, at least, the word romance is a misnomer. It's not really about attractio
Jan 01, 2016 Trevor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-copy
I started off with high expectations of this book, and at the start I was enjoying the book, but by the end it was a bit of a struggle, thus the three stars.

The book was well constructed and well written. The idea of seeing the same scene from different perspectives, and following on one scene to the next from different people’s perspective was good and gave you as a reader a feeling for the intertwined stories. Especially how the same set of actions or happenings are seen and understood differe
Jul 17, 2013 Isa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah Bret Easton Ellis. Honestly actually one of my favourite authors. He truly is a genius, and also very likely insane, but the people who possess that particular combination of traits are usually my favourite sort of people.
But let's talk about The Rules of Attraction. As you might have guessed I have read Ellis before, namely Less Than Zero, and Imperial Bedrooms. With these two pieces in my head I stepped into the confusing mess of The Rules of Attraction. With this comparison in mind I was
Gary Garth McCann
Because I'm writing a book with a bisexual protagonist, I went looking for books with bisexual protagonists or bi major characters. I was never bored with Rules of Attraction but found the extent of partying among these college students distracting from the people within, which I need to know better in order to feel any light has been shed upon me regarding human nature. Still, I love sex even in old age, so I certainly don't begrudge--in fact take joy in--young people wanting to get laid more t ...more
Sep 26, 2015 Penelope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A reread for me. Stay tuned for a review in my September Wrap Up video!
Goran Gluščić
Aug 24, 2015 Goran Gluščić rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
U zadnje vrijeme me ful vuku knjige koje su zapravo mikro priče fokusirane na likove.

Ova knjiga je točno to. Ona počinje usred rečenice i isto tako i završava. Tu nema početka i kraja, jer takav je i život. Umjesto tipične radnje pokazuje nam jednu povezanu fazu troje američkih studenata koji su možda razmaženi, bogati i povremeno iritantni bogati klinci kojih možda nije posve lako voljeti, ali to ih ne čini ništa manje stvarnima.

Ipak, kod Ellisa najviše volim kako rečenice klize i savršeno odr
Jun 15, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: college-setting
"and it's a story that might bore you but you don't have to listen..."

Since I read The Secret History earlier this year, I figured now was a good time to read the other book by another famous author that takes place at the same college. Donna Tart has her group of Classics majors and Bret Easton Ellis has... everyone else? Almost. Sort of.

While reading The Rules of Attraction, it might not seem like much. There's not a lot of depth- it's an endless cycle of partying and sex. It wasn't until I h
Jun 24, 2008 H.nauen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admit it. I first saw the movie version of Rules of Attraction because I had a thing for Ian Somerhalder. I know, I know. But now that I've seen it, and consequently read it immediately after viewing, I love it for its true literary qualities! I'm one of you now =]

Anyway, I still love and read this book constantly. The characters inspire such mixed feelings of disgust, annoyance, and pity. They're not perfect (far from it) but whenever you think that Sean can't get any more shallow or caustic,
Carla Soares
Jul 05, 2014 Carla Soares rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dei por mim durante a leitura deste livro a pensar que, mesmo quando vivemos com outra pessoa um acontecimento, não vivemos o mesmo acontecimento. Que o que eu vejo não é nunca o mesmo que vê o outro, mesmo que se esteja a olhar para o mesmo objecto, a mesma pessoa, a mesma coisa. Não é , infelizmente, nenhuma conclusão genial, é apenas o óbvio - é o que faz com que não gostemos todos de amarelo, e que eu aprecie um objecto artístico que a pessoa ao meu lado detesta. A valorização, apreciação, c ...more
Sep 26, 2014 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, audiobook
"The Catcher in the Rye" for the 80s.
Everybody is drinking Becks, wearing Wayfarers, taking drugs, having sex and listening to R.E.M. on their walkmans.
An exemplary quote:
"Most of them were girls dressed in pinks and blues, Esprit and Benetton sweatshirts, snapping sugarless gum, Walkmans on, holding cans of caffeine-free Diet Coke, clutching issues of Vogue and Glamour, looking like they stepped out of a Starburst commercial."
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The WTF? Book Club: The Rules of Attraction - Bret Easton Ellis (March Book Selection) 3 41 May 23, 2013 03:53AM  
Lit Muse: The Rules of Attraction 1 22 Oct 13, 2011 07:22PM  
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Bret Easton Ellis is an American author. He is considered to be one of the major Generation X authors and was regarded as one of the so-called literary Brat Pack, which also included Tama Janowitz and Jay McInerney. He has called himself a moralist, although he has often been pegged as a nihilist. His characters are young, generally vacuous people, who are aware of their depravity but choose to en ...more
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“Got you. You're mine now. For the rest of the day, week, month, year, life. Have you guessed who I am? Sometimes I think you have. Sometimes when you're standing in a crowd I feel those sultry, dark eyes of yours stop on me. Are you too afraid to come up to me and let me know how you feel? I want to moan and writhe with you and I want to go up to you and kiss your mouth and pull you to me and say "I love you I love you I love you" while stripping. I want you so bad it stings. I want to kill the ugly girls that you're always with. Do you really like those boring, naive, coy, calculating girls or is it just for sex? The seeds of love have taken hold, and if we won't burn together, I'll burn alone.” 221 likes
“What does that mean know me, know me, nobody ever knows anybody else, ever! You will never know me. ” 177 likes
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