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Rules of Attraction, The

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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  24,913 ratings  ·  842 reviews
Set at a small, affluent liberal-arts college in New England at the height of the Reagan eighties, The Rules of Attraction is a startlingly funny, kaleidoscopic novel about three students with no plans for the future—or even the present—who become entangled in a curious romantic triangle. Bret Easton Ellis trains his incisive gaze on the kids at self-consciously bohemian C...more
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Published October 15th 2009 by Brilliance Audio (first published 1987)
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Stephanie
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...more
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
Joe
Mar 04, 2009 Joe rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Brooke
Jun 12, 2007 Brooke rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Misal
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
Catkinson82
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
John
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
Ashley
One of the best books on insight ever written. 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....more
Lindz
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...more
Jessica
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
Patrick
Jan 10, 2008 Patrick rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Christina
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...more
Amy
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...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

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...more
Erik
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.
Alex
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...more
H.nauen
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,...more
Trevor
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...more
Isa
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...more
Michael
"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."
Kaitlyn
Total "meh" of a story. Can something happen already!? I'm 3/4 in and I'm sorry but that's all the time I have to offer here. I need a story with a point.
This book reminded me a lot of Snuff in terms of the way they talked about sex. Completely un-romantic even when trying to be loving. Scenes that made me squirm, even. But the difference between Snuff and this is that Snuff had a storyline. It had flow. I got no flow from this. I found it dry, unrealistic (especially his opinion of women in be...more
Maura Shanahan
Depressing and unsettling. Literally made me nauseous to read. The characters were selfish, unappealing, & generally bad people. I do understand why some people say this book is a comedy based on the complete idiocy of the characters, but it really is a very sad book overall. I guess the only thing I can say I enjoyed about it was that it made me that much more grateful for my own life after reading how awful these people were. "American Psycho" used to be on my list of books to read, but I...more
Dev
Felt this book was repetitive. Every page was sex, drugs, and half-wit heartbreak. No plot and no climax. The book tries to make up for its lack of narrative by pandering to those seeking a voyeuristic view of horny co-eds. But nothing happens. The story goes on and on. The same thing happening on every page. The characters never come away with anything for the better or worse. What was the point?
Ashley
Aug 06, 2014 Ashley rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ashley by: Rick Hunter
Bret Easton Ellis' books always remind me of a very simple saying: "There are always three sides to a story. Your side, their side and the truth."

This is not the first time I read "Rules of Attraction", I had read it years ago back when I was probably much too young to be reading it. I wanted to rated it, but decided to wait and refresh my memory.

I realize that some call Ellis' writing comical, but in truth, he depresses the hell out of me. He writes how people actually speak to each other, lett...more
Jennifer
"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...more
Michael
Told in overlapping first person narratives, the story covers several months in the lives of oversexed and overmedicated college students at an expensive rural liberal arts college not unlike Bennington where Ellis went. The main story revolves around a romantic triangle between two guys and a girl which is different in that none of the three realize they are in a triangle. There is a lot of drama involving overdoses and bad sex and parents who just don't understand.

Even with the passage of time...more
Caris
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...more
Textor Texel
Отчего я решил ступить на путь знакомства со студенческой жизнью американской молодежи 80-х? Не знаю. Если честно, меня позабавила ошибка переводчиков в названии этого романа (attraction ведь - не совсем "секс"), а ещё привлекла обложка. И если совсем уж честно, мне хотелось, чтобы на наших книжных полках стало больше "Интеллектуальных бестселлеров"(знаю, что звучит это странно, ведь большинство книг этой серии отличаются объемностью изложения, а я не люблю браться за толстые тома, но эти няшные...more
Kira
Overall, I found The Rules of Attraction painfully honest, and consequently bleak. (I read it in less than six hours, so this whole post comes with the stipulation that I enjoyed it.) I wasn’t personally as promiscuous or chemically open-minded in college as the characters in Ellis’ novel, but then again I went to a Jesuit school—where every year the pro-life club put up dozens of tiny crosses with baby shoes to represent all the aborted fetuses—so maybe there wasn’t room for all that sexing and...more
Sky
Sex, drugs, obsession, sex, desire, crazy stupid hookups, suicide, obsession, drugs, sex, cigarettes- deal with it.

Rock 'n' roll.

At first I wasn't sure I was all the way on with this one. First thing I kept thinking was "magnified melodrama" in a way that only a 20something could appreciate. I made a joke that if I were any older, I'd have thrown this book out the window. But the writing is good. The songs constantly mentioned remind you it's the 80's, the story gets darker, and somehow things...more
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The WTF? Book Club: The Rules of Attraction - Bret Easton Ellis (March Book Selection) 3 30 May 23, 2013 03:53AM  
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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
More about Bret Easton Ellis...
American Psycho Less Than Zero Lunar Park Glamorama The Informers

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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.” 198 likes
“What does that mean know me, know me, nobody ever knows anybody else, ever! You will never know me. ” 145 likes
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