Lily Rhoads's Reviews > Less Than Zero

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
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Jun 13, 12


Less than Zero is a first person narrative about a young man named Clay. It describes his feelings of alienation as he draws away from the party scene and begins losing faith in his friends. Although he has become dependent on cocaine to get through the day, his friends have done this even more so. Clay becomes progressively withdrawn as he witnesses the heartlessness of his friends towards the suffering of one another and the people around them. At one point they are all at a party and although they are all surprised that their good friend Muriel starts shooting up heroin, they all just sit there watching instead of doing anything to stop her. Even the party photographer doesn’t do anything; he just takes pictures of her while she is doing it. By the end of winter break he feels completely isolated from his family and friends and returns to New England to go back to school.

All of the characters in this book live a lifestyle where doing drugs and sleeping around are perfectly acceptable, although none of the parents in the book would ever admit that. When it comes to the parents, they either live the same life as their children, or they pretend that their kids aren’t doing anything bad. At one point in the book Clay and his mother and sisters are in the car together and his sisters start asking him why he always locks his bedroom door, to which he responds, “Because you both stole a quarter gram of cocaine from me the last time I left my door open”. Although his mother overhears this whole conversation she doesn’t say a word about it.

For all of the characters in the book it seems that their morals have been degraded to the point where they don’t even exist anymore. It’s almost as if they don’t even care what happens to themselves and this is reflected into how they treat others; if they don’t care what happens to themselves, why would they care about what happens to others?

This was not a happy story at all. It is a very dark story made to look bright. Despite this, though, it is a really good book. There is always something happening, something to make you wonder. Personally I loved trying to decode all of the symbolism as I read. The great thing about the symbolism though is that it is really obvious. It's not a poetic book. It is blunt and in your face, so it makes sense that the symbols, and what they represent, are too. This is definitely a book I would recommend.
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