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The Rules of Attraction

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  38,196 ratings  ·  1,266 reviews
Set at a small affluent liberal-arts college in New England 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 Camden College and treats their sexual p ...more
Paperback, 283 pages
Published June 30th 1998 by Vintage Contemporaries (first published September 1987)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  38,196 ratings  ·  1,266 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
”So I stand against the wall, listen to REM, finish the beer, get more, keep my eye on the Freshman girl. Then some other girl, Deidre I think her name is, black spiked hair that already looks dated and trendy, black lipstick, black fingernail polish, black kneesocks, black shoes, nice tits, okay body, Senior, comes over and she’s wearing a black halter top even though it’s like forty below in the room and she’s drunk and coughing like she has T.B., swigging Scotch. I’ve seen her stealing Dante ...more
Jul 31, 2010 rated it liked it
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 middl
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
& so I thought that after college this would be less impressionable & a tad less impressive. Boy was I wrong. I am still completely enraptured by this novel in which characters DON’T change (breaking 1 of the main cardinal rules of all literature—to make protagonists experience change—Ellis is intrepid). The details in this are perfect and absolutely hilarious--80's encapsulated brilliantly. You end up rooting for the sleaziest of antagonists—nobody in Camden deserves redemption and most ...more
Jonathan Ashleigh
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book may have sounded contrived to some, but to me it was exactly the way I remember being and feeling in college. The dorm, cafeteria and party scenes are brilliant and so are the fast travel sections. When I recently read The Sorrows of Young Mike, it felt like a sequel because the characters were also nihilistic college students, horny and self-involved. It, along with The Rules of Attraction, touches on similar issues that hardly affect the main characters, as they are busy thinking about th ...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
Kevin Kelsey
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: _library, read-2018
Posted at Heradas

Whenever I’m the mood for fiction about first world problems, unloved rich kids and the fucked up lives they lead, I reach for something by Bret Easton Ellis. I get on a serious kick for this kind of stuff sometimes. Transgressive fiction, I’ve heard it called. Maybe it’s soothing to my soul to think that an abundance of money doesn’t necessarily alleviate our problems. Maybe I get a heavy slathering of schadenfreude by reading representations of the most fortunate among us enduring harrowing emotiona
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 abort ...more
May 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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 about
Neil Walker
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A tale of hedonism from Bret Easton Ellis, filled with sex and drugs.

Bret Easton Ellis is of my biggest influences as an author and this is probably the Bret Easton Ellis novel that most influenced Drug Gang. It contains similar themes and social commentary. To quote from the book itself, “I think we've all lost some sort of feeling.”

This postmodern masterwork gives great insight into the possible impact and outcomes of a nihilistic mindset.
Tylah Marie
My friend lent me this book and I was super excited because we're trying this new thing where we lend each other a book to read every month... and this was the first one of our new little reading adventure.

I was bored. Insanely bored. It felt like someone was literally yelling gibberish so fast into my ear that I almost couldn't understand them at all.

I tried to enjoy this. I did. I read 50 pages the first day and then I just decided to read the rest of it in one sitting because I k
Maria (Big City Bookworm)

3.5 Stars

The Rules of Attraction is one of those stories that makes you feel slightly uneasy while reading it. It had the feel of both A Clockwork Orange and Trainspotting in the sense that it is so over the top and risqué. The Rules of Attraction is unlike anything that I have ever read before.

I had never read anything from Bret Easton Ellis before, although American Psycho has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time now. I came across The Rules of Attraction at a local thrift shop and I recognized the au
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 12, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Tim O'Hearn
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I spent about a year and a half reading this book, which worked out quite well. Like Less Than Zero, the existence of a plot here is one step above accidental--a brusque necessity. Crucial to keep things moving, but negligible if you decide to take a fourteen-month leave of absence from Brett Easton Ellis.

I suspect I stopped reading the book because it contains incessant co-ed droning, and, more than a little, made me feel that I spent too many of my college days reading books. In picking
Mar 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
One of the best books on insight. 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. You never get ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
Find all of my reviews at:

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 college in New England.

While the first few pages
Rachel Louise Atkin
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This was so good. Not as good as American Psycho, but better than Less Than Zero. Following a group of friends as Camden Collage it details their life of partying, drugs, booze and sex. It was seriously amazing. Clay was in it and so was Patrick Bateman which made me very happy. Plus Donna Tartt reference!
Jun 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: someone looking for a little dark comedy
Shelves: general-fiction, 2007
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 interject
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' i
Jan 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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 fil
Aug 24, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: no-simply-no
In some books nothing really happens, but it doesn't make the book any less appealing since the characters or situations are so engaging. This, to me, is unfortunately not one of these books. The book is told from the perspectives of various protagonists in a diary-like style on their lives in college over a relatively short period of time (a semester, maybe less). It seems to lean heavily on the 'shock value' of the characters' lives filled with casual sex and drug use. To me, it does not succe ...more
Oct 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
I preferred the movie. i never prefer the movie.
Dec 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 fi
Mar 20, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Jun 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
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.
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
I just really love this man's books. Edgy but not sew edgy, dark, creepy, and palate cleansing.

His stuff is not for everyone and I can understand that. :)

May 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Bret Easton Ellis's kaleidoscope novel is frank, belligerent, and exceptionally youthful. Its preponderance of masochism, sex, drugs, addiction, loss, and love are uniquely pinpointed through various characters, each apathetic and malign to any real sense of adulthood. This novel receives three stars thanks to Ellis's fatal flaw, incorporating personal notes from an unknown character who ends up offing herself in the community bathroom - a literary addition that completely takes away from the re ...more
Nov 21, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It beggars belief
they must be spreading herpes
thrush from head to toe.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: dark-academia
"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."

The rules of attraction is not a lik/>The"Got
This book made me so glad to be 30…

The blurb says that this book is about the “death of romance”… But I feel this is a little bit more complicated than that. Sure “The Rules of Attraction” follows four unspeakably awful undergrads as they get tangled up in the most fucked up love-triangle I’ve ever read. As they agonize childishly over their various experiences, disappointments and mistakes, it’s hard to feel for them: none of them have any moral compass, maturity, honesty or self-aw
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Goodreads Librari...: Add reciprocal ACE references 1 11 Aug 27, 2019 01:45PM  
Disappear Here: Favorite Bits 1 11 Aug 14, 2014 05:56AM  
Bespoke: The Rules of Attraction 15 29 Jun 17, 2014 12:15PM  
Disappear Here: T.V. Series 1 10 May 24, 2014 10:14AM  
The WTF? Book Club: The Rules of Attraction - Bret Easton Ellis (March Book Selection) 3 43 May 23, 2013 03:53AM  
Lit Muse: The Rules of Attraction 1 22 Oct 13, 2011 07:22PM  

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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 enjoy it. The novels ...more
“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.” 243 likes
“What does that mean know me, know me, nobody ever knows anybody else, ever! You will never know me. ” 213 likes
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