Clare's Reviews > Less Than Zero

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
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's review
Feb 07, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 1980s, big-ideas, christmas, dull-as-an-ache, fiction, head-twister, hits-you-at-the-end, read-in-a-day, sickness-inducing, social-commentary, west-coast-america
Read from February 25 to 26, 2012

A large part of this book is boring and the characters are all just horrible people but the overall effect is amazing. It races along full of boring details and you feel like sticking pins in your eyes and shouting at the characters but then it drops in anvil heavy, horrific statements so subtly it just merges into the text. It's so subtle it makes it all the more shocking.
Bret Easton Ellis is amzing at writing dialogue. This was a point that kept me going. All his "and then I did this, and then I did this, blah blah blah" is punctuated by perfect and real dialogue. Also I like the reminiscing parts.
The last paragraph makes you think "wow!" and it all comes together in string of horrible, boring and growing ideas. A little book that makes lots of big points about lots of everyday things.


Updated - Full Review as on Citizen's Eye Website

I read Less Than Zero in one night, about four and a half hours and for most of it I was bored senseless. Every twenty pages or so I’d dramatically let the book fall to my knee; finger still holding my place, and roll my eyes thinking “When will something happen?!”

But then things start to happen and you quieten down. And then you reach the end and you think “Wow.” And all the boring stuff doesn’t seem quite so boring, it all had a place and wrote its place so well.

Anyhow, Less Than Zero is the story of Clay and his friends being bored in Los Angeles with too much money and no real direction. They are generally all hateful people which makes the boringness even harder to bear. You do start to feel like sticking pins in your eyes as Clay describes his days lying about, his nights pushing drugs in his face and cruising around in expensive cars and going to dull sounding parties. These people aren’t real friends, they’re bored scene people who have rich and famous parents and can’t be bothered to pick up their own lives in a constructive way.

But this is how it feels, to be a character in the book I mean and that’s why it is so effective. You become desperate for something to happen and then when it does, dropping anvil like statements subtly into the story, you are a little relieved but mainly repelled and you just want to turn away from this whole world.

The dialogue keeps you going really. Bret Easton Ellis is just so good at writing dialogue, it crackles into life like an old record player, the more you read their voices the clearer they become and more real.

The text is interspersed with passages of reminiscence from Clay. These are filled with some truly terrific writing; contrasted with the dull but effective narration and the sparkling dialogue we get a full picture of the extent of this writer’s talent. Now we have a built up portrait of what this book achieves and really it is great. You think it is boring but it’s not, it’s great and when you can see the whole thing you see what I mean and the last sentence really hammers home the true visionary nature of this book.

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Reading Progress

02/25/2012 "And now for something entirely different! Amazing first paragraph I have to say..."
07/19/2016 marked as: read
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