K.D. Absolutely's Reviews > Requiem for a Dream

Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Jr.
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's review
Sep 23, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 1001-core, drama
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)

We all want to have better lives. When I was young, I wanted to be a teacher my father said no money in teaching. So, I wanted to be an agriculturist he said you will be digging dirt till the day you die. So, I wanted to be a priest priests die with their ass dirty as no one takes care of them. So, what? Why not be a doctor? Okay. After becoming a medtech, what? But he did not have money to send me to a medical school. Ha ha ha ha

In my iPod, I have this song by The Pussycat Dolls. One morning, I had LSS (last song syndrome) and my daughter caught me singing a part of it. She shrieked with joy and laughed out load. Strange but songs just get into our heads.
♪♫♪When I grow up
Fresh and clean
Number one chick
When I step out on the scene ♪♫♪
Not sure why this song kept on popping in my head while reading this 1978 novel by Hubert Selby, Jr, Requiem for a Dream. It is an easy read and each character has its own voice. The appropriate emotion in each scene gets reflected on Selby's narration: it can get doped with the wrong spelling and narration; it can get lonely as you remember how many failed diets you tried and they all did not work; it can get orgasmic as Selby makes the lovers moan and moan endlessly and it can get very angry with the junkie son shouting at his poor mama's ears: WHATTA YA DOIN TO ME??? YOUR ONLY SON!!!!

It is about four dreadful pathetic characters. Four Americans in Bronx in the 80s. There is middle-age, living by herself, obese Sara, the mother who wants to appear on a TV show in an old red dress that her dead husband Seymour really liked on her. So, she takes dieting pills until she can fit into that old worn-out dress. The thinks that being slim means being new and the whole world will discover how wonderful girl she is.
♪♫♪When I grow up
Be on TV
People know me
Be on magazines ♪♫♪
There is Sara's only son, Harold or Harry and his girlfriend Marion, who, aside from making love twice a day, injecting their veins with cocaine and smoke grass and cigarettes in between, dream of putting up a coffee shop where Marion's paintings (she loves to paint and dream of become a famous painter someday) can be put on display. Then later they can go and tour the whole of Europe.
♪♫♪When I grow up
I wanna see the world
Drive nice cars
I wanna have groupies ♪♫♪
Then there is Tyrone "Ty" C. Love thats ma name babe dreaming of a better life for him and his girl Alice.
♪♫♪When I grow up
Be on TV
People know me
Be on magazines♪♫♪

But Harold's and Ty's way of achieving this dream: drug pushing.
♪♫♪Be careful what you wish for
Cuz you just might get it
You just might get it
You just might get it ♪♫♪
That's where the song went all wrong. They dreamed. Wrong way. They lost.
♪♫♪HA HA HA HA♪♫♪

Seriously, there is that part in the lyrics.
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Reading Progress

September 23, 2010 – Started Reading
September 23, 2010 – Shelved
September 23, 2010 –
page 1
September 23, 2010 –
page 50
17.92% "Brooklyn, USA. Story of a drug addict son and TV addict mother. I am struggling understanding the language of the junkies."
September 24, 2010 – Finished Reading
July 22, 2011 – Shelved as: 1001-core
July 22, 2011 – Shelved as: drama

Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Regine (new)

Regine lol. just plug in the slang at urbandictionary.com.

K.D. Absolutely Wow! I thought I have a new friend! New photo again? Yes, you will definitely know how this novel goes. I have high expectation. I also have his Last Exit in Brooklyn and I have been seeing favorable reviews for both.

Hah, I normally hate stopping to check the meaning of words while I read unless it is really necessary. The slang and junkie words here are self-explanatory (I read worse: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess a few months back). They are just senseless. So what I hope is that in the end these come to have some meanings in the end when I see the complete picture or message that the authors wants to convey. I hope.

message 3: by Regine (new)

Regine You just sounded so lost with the junkie jargon, I couldn't help but jump in. Haha.

Clockwork Orange is another book I've never but, but I've seen (AND LOVED) the movie.

message 4: by Apokripos (new)

Apokripos Wow! A book review writing improvement. Now you've even added musical notes on your review!

Kwela! :D

K.D. Absolutely Of course, courtesy of Jasmin. Cut and paste, dude! Simple tricks can go a long way. Ha ha

It's a nice book though. I have lined up Selby's Last Exit to Brooklyn Thanks for the like. Happy weekend!

message 6: by Louize (new)

Louize That's absolutely brilliant KD... making connections between song and book. Good job!

I have a 15-yr. old daughter; and yes, her music can sometimes stick onto me unknowingly. Realizing only when I started humming it too. hahaha

message 7: by K.D. (last edited Sep 25, 2010 11:02PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

K.D. Absolutely Yes, Louize. I feel strange sometimes because I enjoy her music and sometimes I feel like rapping like T-Pain and Eminem ha ha.

@Regine: Your comment got me interested on the movie adaptation of the book. So, I went to YouTube and checked out some of the trailers and scenes of this movie. They're awesome! However, the ending is not the same. In the book, they have this delusional scene of Sara while on her hospital bed that she and Harry are in a TV show. That scene gives a positive, somewhat hopeful ending. In the book, it is totally sad. Maybe that's the reason why it is called "requiem".

message 8: by Regine (last edited Sep 25, 2010 06:58PM) (new)

Regine I have to read the book to make a full comparison of the two. But, if you see the movie in its entirety, it's anything but positive.

The ending was brilliant because that's when the audience is blatantly shown why the work was called "Requiem for a Dream". Yes, it does show Sara in her dellusion, but, as soon as Sara is experiencing her hallucination, you see the reality of each of the characters. To me this was the saddest part, because each character had such beautiful dreams, but each fell victim to their own addictions.

I have to read the book!

Your review made me laugh.

K.D. Absolutely Thanks, Regine. I also corrected "illusion" to "delusion" Ha ha.

You will read the book. I will look for a DVD copy of the movie! ha ha

message 10: by K.D. (new) - rated it 4 stars

K.D. Absolutely Thanks for the like, Emir.

message 11: by Joyzi (new)

Joyzi Wow fan ka pala ng Pussycat dolls *goosebumps*

message 12: by K.D. (new) - rated it 4 stars

K.D. Absolutely Kulit! ha ha. What now is my image in your mind? A 46-y/o man reading Twilight and HP and listening to Pussycat Dolls! ha ha

message 13: by Joyzi (new)

Joyzi hahahahahahaha that was sort of weird and uhhhhm disturbing lol

message 14: by K.D. (new) - rated it 4 stars

K.D. Absolutely Yes, I know. :)

message 15: by Josie (new)

Josie Never in my life would've I seen the pussycat dolls as insightful LOL. Great analogy! I'm about to read the book and your review convinced me!

message 16: by K.D. (new) - rated it 4 stars

K.D. Absolutely Thanks, Josie. I love that bouncy song because of my daughter who was a toddler during that time when this song was a big hit:)

message 17: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul Hayes read the book last week. just watched the movie. the film sucks in comparison on so many levels, yet is still a good movie

message 18: by K.D. (new) - rated it 4 stars

K.D. Absolutely Paul wrote: "read the book last week. just watched the movie. the film sucks in comparison on so many levels, yet is still a good movie"

I agree. We readers almost always prefer the books.

message 19: by Dimple (new) - added it

Dimple Gohil I really enjoy reading your review I don't know if I'm enjoying the book that much is it sounds kind of serious. I read stuff where I know the ending is happy but read reviews

That was an amazing review which connected the book from the 80s to the modern times. Lol
Really heartfelt, I can see how the book would be relatable ! As the saying goes the careful what you wish for and also people should get what they deserve !

message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Brilliant review! It sums up the book very well. I especially liked your point about how they lost because all they were able to do was dream.

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