Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Portnoy's Complaint” as Want to Read:
Portnoy's Complaint
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Portnoy's Complaint

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  50,251 ratings  ·  2,613 reviews
The famous confession of Alexander Portnoy, who is thrust through life by his unappeasable sexuality, yet held back at the same time by the iron grip of his unforgettable childhood. Hilariously funny, boldly intimate, startlingly candid, Portnoy’s Complaint was an immediate bestseller upon its publication in 1969, and is perhaps Roth’s best-known book.

Portnoy's Complaint n
...more
Paperback, 274 pages
Published May 18th 1995 by Vintage (first published 1969)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  50,251 ratings  ·  2,613 reviews


Filter
 | 
Sort order
Glenn Sumi
Updated May 22, 2018: R.I.P. Philip Roth. Author of some of the defining works of the late 20th century (and even some of the early 21st). What a magnificent second act you had... and what a legacy you leave behind.

***

21 Random Thoughts After Reading Philip Roth’s Classic Portnoy’s Complaint 46 Years After Its Controversial Publication



1. I’ve read three or four Philip Roth books, but how have I never read this, which catapulted him to literary fame – or at least notoriety and celebrity – in the
...more
Malbadeen
Aug 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sarah's other pervey friends
Recommended to Malbadeen by: Sarah (what a perv)
It's recently been brought to my attention that my book reviews frequently are not actually about the book. And I'm wondering why would you want to know about the book when all you have to do is click on the little blurb about the book and then get on with the fascinating reading about...oh, say where I bought my milk last Tuesday or my fondest/most traumatic childhood memory, etc, etc.
And, yet. I aim to please so here is my sincere attempt to tell you something about this book. It (the book) go
...more
Luís C.
The case of an American Jew torn between the perfection imposed by parents and personal freedom, touches the universal! Alexander (at least for me) is not the prototype of the living Jew in the United States, suffocated by a severely exemplary education, where the parents choose the route to follow for their son, the latter who finds this life bland and demanding, who throws herself into the most insatiable sexuality (from his childhood), he is a universal being who exists everywhere in the worl ...more
Em Lost In Books
What a dirty little book! Kudos to Mr. Roth for writing something this scandalous half a century ago.
G.R. Reader
Feb 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
Portnoy's Complaint was my first husband's favorite book, and he used to quote from it all the time. When we got divorced (it wasn't amicable), my lawyer asked how I'd feel about using that fact in court. I was strongly tempted but told him after careful consideration that it was below the belt.

As it turned out, my instincts were sound. The judge knew Philip Roth personally, and it would have been a disaster. I only discovered this several years later and was amazed at what a close call I'd had.
Shovelmonkey1
Jun 29, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who are adventurous with offal
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
Shelves: 1001-books
Earlier today I grossly contradicted myself by stating that I'd enjoyed all the books I'd read which were written by Philip Roth. Then I realised I'd forgotten about Portnoy's Complaint.

There is a school of thought which says to write well you have to write about what you know. On that basis I know I definitely did not like this book, although that unfortunately does not guarantee that I will excel at writing about it. With that in mind Philip Roth is official King of writing about what you know
...more
Gorkem
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amerikan
Portnoy'un Feryadı, dönemsel olarak bakıldığında neden çok fazla rahatsız edici olabileceği çok net bir şekilde anlaşabiliyor. Cinsel devrim öncesi, bireysel cinsel varoluşun hem algılaması , hem dinsel öğeler, hem de Freudyen bakışı yapılandırma açısından bence özel bir kitap. Bu perspektiften bakıldığında 4 yıldız. Hatta, Oedipus gönderimleri, Portnoy gibi karakter yaratımı ve anlatımı bakımından 5 yıldız bile olabilirdi, eğer 1960'larda ABD'de yaşasaydım.

Şu an için değerlendirdiğimde, Roth'u
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
This is the book that made Philip Roth both famous and scandalous. Portnoy is a mother-obsessed sexual maniac and actually quite hilarious. Who else would have had his character masturbating with a cow liver other than the author of the equally darkly humorous Sabbath's Theater? This book and the reaction to it drives the Nathan Zuckerman series of books which all refer back to the public reaction with equal measures of awe and dismay. The book itself is a classic and extremely well-written as o ...more
ArturoBelano
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Her zamanki gibi ağır spoiler içerir.

" Kadir-i mutlak tanrı hazretlerini ciddi biçimde rencide etmeden bir bardak sütün yanında bir salamlı sandviç yemeyi bile düşünemezdim. Bir de öyle otuzbiri çekip çekip fışkırtmakla vicdanıma nasıl bir yük bindirdiğimi düşünün hele ! “

Portnoy’un Feryadı edebiyat tarihinin en ağzı bozuk, terbiyesiz ve provakatif eserlerinden biri ki Türkiye’de haklı bir şekilde yargılanıp haksız bir şekilde beraat etmesi bunun göstergelerinden biri. Merak etmeyin ağzının bozu
...more
David Schaafsma
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
'Enough being a nice Jewish boy. . . Let’s put the id back in yid.” Alex Portnoy

Portnoy's Complaint: "A disorder in which strongly felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature."

I have had a couple intense years of reading Roth, rereading some, but mostly reading much I had not read. Recently Roth died, RIP, and then I read his last four short books, and decided to come full circle back to my (I think it was) first and possi
...more
Daniel
I have a vague memory that when I first read "Portnoy's Complaint" as a teenager -- I was probably 16 or 17 at the time -- I either carried my paperback copy with me to my grandmother's condo, or perhaps just mentioned to her that I was reading the book. What a mistake. She was displeased with my choice in reading material, and wasn't shy about letting me know. This was many years before Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize, making him somewhat more respectable to the American Jewish community. To ...more
Robin
Jan 01, 2017 rated it liked it
The title is apt for this book, because the entire thing is a complaint, made by Alexander Portnoy to his shrink. Oh, boy.

Initially I put this on my TBR list because Joe Goldberg, the well-read psychopath in Caroline Kepnes' You and Hidden Bodies lists it as his favourite book. A bit of a twisted road to get to Philip Roth's infamous, sexually explicit work that caused a big splash when published in 1969.

While cleverly written and quite funny in some parts, the rant-like nature of this book got
...more
Deniz Balcı
Yorumumu daha sonra gireceğim.
zumurruddu
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nord-america
Il mare impetuoso al tramonto…(*)

Esilarante, caustico, irriverente. Che altro dire?
Che ogni volta che leggo questo autore rimango incantata dalla vividezza, dalla potenza con cui le persone (nemmeno i personaggi) saltano fuori dalle pagine, e si muovono e parlano e agiscono, veri, nitidi, naturali. E la scrittura accattivante, scoppiettante, che non perde un colpo.
E non ho potuto non provare partecipazione e tenerezza per Alex Portnoy, per le sue ossessioni e i suoi sensi di colpa. Il senso di c
...more
Jr Bacdayan
Dec 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Hey, Roth! What’s with the smug smile on that face of yours? What’s with that satisfied look? You think you’re now a goy or something? Are you thinking of a shikse or something? Are you high? You think just because you wrote a bunch of anti-semitic, auto-erotic stuff you’re some bigshot? What’s the sense with that piece of crap? Don’t you dare turn your back on me you balding Kike! You wanker! You kosher prick! You… oh, where’s the sense in this? Come on, mate. Is this really just to ridicule so ...more
Lubinka Dimitrova
Although I definitely enjoyed it more than Bukowski's Women, I've come to realise that books about middle-aged male Americans who spend their time navel-gazing and contemplating their relationship with their penis is probably not my cup of tea. The book was fun, but I strongly suspect that if it weren't for the narrator, I might have never finished it. Ron Silver is a brilliant reader, I doubt that I would have enjoyed the story more even if Roth himself was whispering it in my ear.
Cosimo
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Non è un problema mio

“Con una vita come la mia, Dottore, mi vuol dire a cosa mi servono i sogni?”

Che cosa mi definisce come essere umano, in prima istanza? La voglia di vivere e di essere libero, sembra affermare Alexander Portnoy, aspirazione che si esprime prevalentemente nell'ambiente creato dal dialogo tra caratteristiche sociali e familiari e desideri e qualità individuali: in questo caso, sessualità, ebraismo, società borghese e intellettualismo. E così la scrittura, sotto forma di monolog
...more
Özgür
Elbette bir şeyler yazarım gibi.. Birkaç bileni ve daha iyi okuduğuna inandıklarımı dinleyip bu yarım bırakılmış satırlara devam edeceğim. Sanırım..
Mariel
Nov 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: constipated older Jewish men
Recommended to Mariel by: masterbators
I would have walked away in the conversation at the point of Portnoy proclaiming that he slept with the women that he did (anyone who would have him) as a way of conquering America. Essentially those who would not have him like historically against Jewish peoples (dude, you work for the mayor and are educated! You do what you want!). I am not Jewish and I wasn't alive in the '60s. Somewhere anyone is going to feel like that they don't belong. What I really liked about Portnoy's Complaint is the ...more
Evan
I'm in the mood for this now and it's reading like a breeze. God, it's probably shameful to admit that I AM PORTNOY, but it would be just like me to say that very thing and mirror the guilt of the guy in the book. You wish your parents could read this, especially my neat freak, worrywart mom. I think a lot of Catholic households and Jewish households are not a lot different. This shit is funny and real and insightful. If the rest of the book is as good as the first 50 pages then we shall be quit ...more
Sinem A.
normal olmakla olmamak arasında kafamızda bir yerde çok ince bir çizgi var sanırım. çocukluk travmaları genetik gibi şok gibi farklı durumlarla karşılaşınca o ince çizgi bir anda yok olabiliyor galiba.
o ince çizginin kalktığı hikayeler ilgimi hep çekmiştir. insana dair hazine değerindeki detayların birazda orada bir yerlerde saklandığını düşünürüm hep.
bir de hiç yaşayamayacağım bir tecrübe olarak karşı cinsin deneyimlerini okumak güzel bir tecrübeydi.
Philip Roth un daha önce Hayalet Yazar ıno ok
...more
MJ Nicholls
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, merkins
The definitive self-hating Jew novel. A searing literary stand-up performance par excellence. Woody Allen meets Bill Hicks. Explains where the famous inbuilt neurosis in New York Jews comes from. A brutal, universal portrayal of family life. The funniest thing I have read in a long long time. Every young man in his twenties tries at some point to write this novel and fails. Wonderful. Not a work of remarkable human insight and depth, but this is Philip Roth: the psychopathology of sleaze, if you ...more
Yulia
May 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
It's a miracle: I've finished this thing, this book. I thought to read the end as a commenter noted it was a shaggy dog story, which made me wonder what the punch-line was, but as I read about this woman he called "the monkey," I became so furious in how he wrote of her with such hatred that I had to know more about their relationship, which took me back another section, and then another, till I'd finally been led to read the entire dang book.

And while I was sure I'd write something hateful abo
...more
Paolo
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ma di che ti lamenti Alex Portnoy ?

Scusa, sei l'erede prediletto di una famiglia normale che riversa su di te la quasi totalità dell'affetto, delle attenzioni e delle aspettative. Una famiglia che gode di un moderato benessere e non sperimenta lutti prematuri.

Appartieni al popolo che l'Onnipotente ha designato come eletto fra tutti.

Popolo eletto che, in verità, ha passato le sue, senonché i tuoi lungimiranti nonni hanno pensato bene di emigrare da qualche pulcioso shtetl dell'Europa orientale, r
...more
Adriana
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ale-mele-citite
Cartea asta e atât de viscerală, încât nu-mi vine să cred că nu e autobiografică, cel puţin partea care se referă la familie, originile evreieşti şi toate neajunsurile care derivă din asta. Pentru că, dacă e să-l credem pe autor, e naşpa rău să fii evreu în SUA, şi de aici s-au născut multe-multe pagini furibunde în care personajul principal îşi spune, îşi strigă, ÎŞI URLĂ frustrările.

Cât despre viaţa sexuală a aceluiaşi personaj, mi-a stârnit hohote de râs (cine naiba s-ar gândi să facă sex cu
...more
Giuseppe
Roth sei tutti noi (me)

Un lungo monologo di un giovane ebreo newyorchese, alla fine degli sessanta, steso su un lettino di un psicoanalista mentre si lamenta della scombinatezza della propria vita dominata dalle figure genitoriali e da una totale anaffetività che si sublima in una bramosia sessuale infinita. Di questo parla Lamento di Portnoy.

Se avete la (s)fortuna di provenire da una società tradizionalista, con una forte impronta familistica, se avete la (s)fortuna di avere avuto dei genitori
...more
Mish
Portnoy’s Complaint was on my radar when I watched my first episode of the ABC The Book Club. The book was Marieke Hardy pick of a classic and it received such high praise by the whole panel, describing it as funny, awkward, rude and a work of a genius.

Portnoy’s Complaint is a one sided conversation between Alex Portnoy and his psychoanalyst, of growing up in a Jewish household with loud, workaholic and overprotective parents, his sexual awakening, his career and his failure to commit to a lasti
...more
Julie
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Thirty years after Roth wrote Portnoy's Complaint he won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. The reason is. . . he knows how to write. He writes with a boldness and bravado I favor. However, this is not a book for just anyone! If my grandmother had cracked open the cover, I assure you, the paramedics would have found her dead from a stroke or heart-attack, the book still open on her chest. Portnoy's Complaint has, within its almost 300 pages, more vulgarity and profanity than any other boo ...more
Julie Ehlers
A round of applause for Portnoy’s Complaint. I can only imagine how daring and groundbreaking this book must have felt when it was first released in the late 1960s. An entire novel written as a rant to the narrator’s psychoanalyst! Imagine! And what’s more, the book manages to keep up its energy and momentum all the way through—it’s entertaining and funny, and insightful in the way only something truly groundbreaking can be. Honestly, despite all the responses and imitations this book no doubt e ...more
Marcello S
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zeno Cosini in acido.
Dissacrante, ossessivo, complesso.
Chissà come dev’essere stato leggerlo nel ’69.

Oggi è di certo meno sconvolgente sentir parlare di sesso, famiglia e tradizioni ebraiche in maniera così radicale.

Qua e là c’è qualche momento meno godibile o non del tutto riuscito.
A tratti lo segui a stento nei suoi voli pindarici.

Tutto il resto è decisamente notevole. [75/100]
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Studs Lonigan
  • A Dance to the Music of Time: 3rd Movement (A Dance to the Music of Time, #7-9)
  • Loving
  • Falconer
  • Zuleika Dobson
  • The Old Wives' Tale
  • Henderson the Rain King
  • The Big Money (U.S.A., #3)
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Under the Net
  • The Day of the Locust
  • Dog Soldiers
  • Appointment in Samarra
  • Under the Volcano
  • The Magnificent Ambersons (The Growth Trilogy, #2)
  • Money
  • A Handful of Dust
4,601 followers
Philip Milton Roth was an American novelist. He gained early literary fame with the 1959 collection Goodbye, Columbus (winner of 1960's National Book Award), cemented it with his 1969 bestseller Portnoy's Complaint, and has continued to write critically-acclaimed works, many of which feature his fictional alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman. The Zuckerman novels began with The Ghost Writer in 1979, and in ...more
“You can no more make someone tell the truth than you can force someone to love you.” 49 likes
“I am marked like a road map from head to toe with my repressions. You can travel the length and breadth of my body over superhighways of shame and inhibition and fear.” 39 likes
More quotes…