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Endless Love

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  2,077 ratings  ·  308 reviews
One of the most celebrated novels of its time, Endless Love remains perhaps the most powerful novel ever written about young love. Riveting, compulsively readable, and ferociously sexual, Endless Love tells the story of David Axelrod and his overwhelming love for Jade Butterfield.

David's and Jade's lives are consumed with each other; their rapport, their desire, their sex...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Ecco Press (first published 1979)
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Community Reviews

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mark monday
man, this book. this book! this is the second intense reading experience I've had in a row. do you like "intense reading experiences"... and by that I mean a narrative that unspools from one feverish narrator and that deals primarily with escalated, deeply emotional highs & lows? if you do, then this is your book. the book is all David Axelrod, all the time. that boy has the fever, for real.

it doesn't start off in an escalated state. one of the most striking things about the novel is how muc...more
Erin
Don't knock it 'til you've read it--the movie doesn't hold a candle to the book. Scott Spencer blew me away. Depicts first love, er,.. obsession, perfectly. I want to believe this book was a catharsis for him, and only those who have experienced loss of love, or have had a misunderstanding of mature love, can really be impacted by the book. He brings to the surface the insanity we have all experienced in relation to our first (and perhaps second? Third?!) loves. After reading the very last page,...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
I used to believe that there is no such thing as an endless love. After reading this book, however, I certainly know better. I can no longer be cynical about it: endless love is, indeed, possible.

If two blind men play tennis, there'll be an endless love. Create an insane character like David Axelrod here, and you'll also have someone who endlessly loves.

No wonder a woman's heart is broken every second. All women like endless loves with endless lovers not realizing that they can only have one wit...more
Michelle
This is either a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 star book. Seriously, I would understand any one of these ratings. It is about one young man's obsessive (to say the least) relationship with his high school girlfriend. I'd give a "1" for character likeability. Every character is seriously screwed up/deranged/sick in the head, with the possible exception of David's mother. I wish we saw a little more of his parents' relationship because, as Jewish Communists in the late 60s, they are pretty damn interesting. I'...more
steffie
I have always loved this book. A nice primer on love and sex. It's a great portrait of obsession. Mesmerizing prose.

I remember getting a scornful look from Mrs. Bendick for passing it around freshman English when we were supposed to be discussing the similarities/differences of "Romeo vs. Juliet" and "West Side Story." How could I not share that crazed, blood-soaked lovemaking scene with everyone? So much more interesting than Rita Moreno dancing on rooftops!

I try to read it every couple of year...more
Gill
It's nearly thirty years since I first read Endless Love. Passages pop into my head once in a while. Now when I pick it up, I notice an awkward sentence, an odd rhetorical decision that wasn't visible to me in 1982, but still I love everything about this big-hearted book.

"You are my past, and I've come to realize that it's better to have a frightening, upsetting, largely unhappy past than to have no past at all. But that's silly, too, isn't it? Even amnesiacs stare at paintings.."

In my first se...more
Adam
I'd seen the horrific Zeffirelli film several years ago, and had no idea it was loosely based on this novel, because I didn't know this novel existed until a couple of my GR friends added it to their shelves. It sounded interesting, and quite unlike the movie, so I thought I'd read it.

To its credit, I managed to read Endless Love fairly quickly, so it wasn't intolerable. The book is, not so much to its credit, consistently tedious, because David Axelrod is just a tedious character and reading p...more
Charlie
Favorite quotes from Endless Love:

"I was totally victimized by the irrational navigation of my unconscious."


"I was, I knew then, a member of a vast network of condemned men and women: romance had taken a wrong turn within me and led me into mayhem."


My Two Cents: This is a classic book which has been reviewed by hundreds, if not thousands of readers and admired by the most credible book reviewers and magazines. So, instead of composing a traditional review, I'm choosing to blog about the impressi...more
Amy
Heartbreaking. I expected a lightweight story of teenage love; instead, I read a dark tale of delirium and reckless obsession.
Carmen
Apr 07, 2014 Carmen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like to soul-search and examine lives; People interested in psychology
Shelves: fiction
NO SPOILERS

David Axelrod is in love. Deeply, deeply in love with Jade, a girl who lives in his neighborhood. He is 17 and she is 16. And her parents are hippies, so free and open that they welcome David into their home and into their hearts. He spends hours and hours there. Then he starts sleeping there. Then they buy him a double bed that he and Jade share. Isolated in this family environment and in their love for each other, Jade and David spend endless hours talking, making love, and staring...more
Paul Dinger
I read this book twice and each time it has gotten better. My ex tells me it is newer version of Wuthering Heights which is a book we both admire, I strongly disagree while conceding she does have a point. Jade is the love of David's life and losing her will cause him to burn down her house, and that is just the beginning of this wonderful book. Is it love or obession, what is the difference? Why is it that everyone connected to this sees it as something that dramatically changes their lives, bu...more
Michael Jenkins
May 22, 2012 Michael Jenkins rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
David Alexander reminisces about a fire that he started when he was only a teen, and the consequences that followed that drastic event. He tells a story about himself, from the age of sixteen when he had a passionate relationship with Jade,who he loves deeply,selfishly and recklessly. Upon meeting her, he is overwhelmed at the attraction that he feels for her and the bond that he shares with her brothers,Keith and Sammy who both play a major role in his life. He sees Jade mother Ann as a queen,h...more
Katherine Saviola
I've never felt so strongly about a book that I felt the need to write a review. I don't understand how this book has such great ratings. It is so slow and so boring. 70% of it is just David's inner ramblings that are irrelevant and horribly uninteresting. There are no actual plot points in the beginning that even remotely grabbed my attention. When I saw the great reviews and was reading the book, I really thought I had downloaded the wrong book. This book was just boring from start to finish....more
Karen
Made me feel like my skin was on backwards.
Diane
As a constant reader, it’s always a magical moment when one particular book stands out from the rest. It happens every so often and it was certainly the case with Endless Love. It saddens me whenever I discover a book too many years too late. This book was published in 1979 and I probably would have been more shocked reading it during my younger years. I feel maybe I read it at the right time in my life. I'm still young enough to identify with this story, but old enough to be wise in seeing how...more
Julian
I thought this book about a boy who is obsessively in love with a girl and ends up setting her house on fire would be kinda dull and just a lot of in-love wankery, but what I didn't realize is that it actually *starts* with the house-setting-on-fire and goes from there, really delving into his messed up psyche in the aftermath of his "endless love" being disrupted. It was actually pretty good. I sometimes lose patience with dated novels, but this one's datedness didn't bother me much because it...more
Alexis
Apr 05, 2009 Alexis rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
Holy crap! I could not believe how quickly I tore through this book. It's about 432 pages and I read most of it in a day and a half.

I wasn't sure where I heard about this book, but realized that I had read about it on this post on bookslut-

http://www.bookslut.com/blog/archives...

All I have to say is that this book grabbed me and sucked me in. It's extremely disturbing and over the top. It starts "in media res". A boy who has fallen in love with a girl and her family sets fire to her home at the...more
Rosina Lippi
This review was written as a part of long series of posts on how to write sex scenes, on a former weblog.

I really admire Scott Spencer's work. Waking the Dead is probably my favorite of his novels, but I've found things to like about all of them. Endless Love is, over all, a delicately told, very dark story, one that I have re-read often. This particular scene I'm going to talk about bothers me -- which may mean it is entirely successful.

Endless Love is about David Axelrod, a teenager desperatel...more
Laura Plybon
Re-reading this now as an adult, I realize it's a completely different novel than what I read as a teenager. As an 18 year old reader, this book was about love and finding a way to be with a person you loved. As an adult, this book is about living with the consequences of actions that can't be undone, struggling with the burden of emotional attachment at a young age... a lot of things. Adult themes, the least of them the sexuality that was hyped for the cheesy movie they made of this book. The n...more
Shannon
Sep 12, 2007 Shannon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: heartbreak/tragic love junkies
Shelves: fiction
The first half of the book is a little tedious, and the author's style isn't as polished as it is in his more recent work of a comparable theme, A Ship Made of Paper. But the second half is consuming, utterly heartbreaking, and well worth it. Not at all like the cheesy ending to the Brooke Shields / Martin Hewitt adaptation (although I'm one of the few people on Earth who enjoyed at least most of the movie). Oh, and the graphic sex scenes are something else to look forward to.
Stefani
So, after I picked this book up as recommended by John Waters on the Strand's website (really, how bad could it be, I thought, I liked most of Waters' movies, Pink Flamingo's fecal antics nonwithstanding), I'm glad to see that Waters and I share a love of books as well as cross dressing males.

This book is about love, but not the romantic, flowery, warm and fuzzy kind, oh no, more like the humiliating, base, ravenous, bestial kind of love that is so right it's wrong.

It starts out on a pretty dar...more
Christina Wilder
"When I was seventeen and in full obedience to my heart's most urgent commands, I stepped far from the pathway of normal life and in a moment's time ruined everything I loved — I loved so deeply, and when the love was interrupted, when the incorporeal body of love shrank back in terror and my own body was locked away, it was hard for others to believe that a life so new could suffer so irrevocably. But now, years have passed and the night of August 12, 1967, still divides my life.

It was a hot,...more
Suzanna
Great book. I found this on the NPR site, the "You Must Read This" category, and I must agree. By the way, parents of younger ones, this is NOT FOR KIDS, although the main characters are very young. Here's an example of the type of writing to expect:

"All of us have two minds, a private one, which is usually strange, I guess, and symbolic, and a public one, a social one. Most of us stream back and forth between those two minds, drifting around in our private self and then coming forward into the...more
Kolleen Oxbury
I saw a preview for the up coming movie that was based on this book and it looked so good so I had to read it...
This book was so strange.
Parts were wordy and so incredibly boring, parts were so gross I couldn't hardly read and then it would, out of nowhere, be insightful and interesting and I couldn't put it down.
It was a collection of awkward, characters, none sane enough to function in this world. All slightly askew and strange.
David was basically a crazy stalker, so lost and attached to th...more
Debbie Reschke Schug
If left without rules, it’s likely every sensitive teenager would wrap themselves in obsession. Modern American civilization is pretty tame when considering other past societies; we don’t have public orgies like in ancient Greek times, and the small rituals (Halloween, for instance) we do have are pretty button-upped. So we keep our teens on a short leash.
The only recent time period that generally mimics a similar out of control zeitgeist has to be the ‘60s in the U.S. Much has been written in...more
Joseph
Oct 23, 2007 Joseph rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
this book was fascinating, brilliantly written, and captivating. some would venture to call this book "creepy," but i prefer to say, "delusional." i found spencer's description of the main character's quasi-erotomanic delusions to be incredibly accurate. it was so accurate that i had a hard time distinguishing where the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred. it's a brilliant example from a first person's perspective of what can happen as mental illness progresses quickly.
Trisha
An eloquent elicitation of first love's emotions: passion, abandon, desperation, and obsession. It's a book filled with wonderful characters; who are painted with purpose and skill. They are quirky and alive and necessary. But the main character here is "love" itself and its unceasing ability to motivate and wound. It's a book that feels true and familiar - universal really - while being wholly unique. In essence: a classic.
Katie
Scott Spencer is my favortie author and this is his best work. A compelling story of love when it crosses over into obsession and leads to self-destruction. No one captures the intangible feelings of love, longing, obesession and lust quite the way Spencer does. Beautifully written, heartbreaking, and disturbingly easy to relate to!
Zemira Warner
This book is really heavy and deep.
Amy
Endless Love is an underrated book due to the inferior and ridiculous movie that it became associated with and unfortunately forever chained to (and the saccharine Lionel Richie song that accompanied it didn't it do the book any favors either). This a book about love, obsession and the consequences of teenage impulsivity. Spencer's prose is elegant and an amazing read. The very first sentence sucks you in:

"When I was seventeen and in full obedience of my heart's most urgent commands, I stepped f...more
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Any other books that deal with obsessive love like Endless Love? 4 74 Dec 28, 2012 08:43AM  
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Scott Spencer (b. 1945) is the critically acclaimed, bestselling author of ten novels, including Endless Love and A Ship Made of Paper, both of which have been nominated for the National Book Award. Two of his books, Endless Love and Waking the Dead, have been adapted into films.

He has taught at Columbia University, the University of Iowa, and Williams College, and Bard College's Bard Prison Initi...more
More about Scott Spencer...
Man in the Woods A Ship Made Of Paper Waking the Dead Willing Men in Black

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“The only things I regret, and the only things I'll ever regret are things I didn't do. In the end, that's what we mourn. The paths we didn't take. The people we didn't touch.” 69 likes
“It was a once in a lifetime thing. I hate to think it but I bet it's true. It's too bad for us that our once in a lifetime happened when were too young to handle it.” 45 likes
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