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Requiem for a Dream
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Archive: Other Books > Requiem for a Dream/Selby - 3 stars

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Anita Pomerantz | 6299 comments This is a great book if you want to get inside the drug addled minds of addicts. Can't say I personally found that an enjoyable experience. The first half was especially dull, but it certainly set the stage for the most spectacular demise of four characters I've ever seen in literature.

Selby introduces us to Harry, Tyrone (Harry's best friend), Marion (Harry's girlfriend), and Sara (Harry's mother). The first three are heroin addicts determined to make it rich dealing so they can live the rest of their lives in more normal pursuits, like travel and small business ownership. Sara is a stereotypical overweight Jewish mother who has lost her husband. She receives some kind of telemarketing call that makes her believe she will be on a television show. In an effort to lose weight, she begins taking "diet pills" (which turn out to be amphetamines). Let's just say she fares as poorly as the heroin addicts.

I love a good dark book, but this one oddly starts off pretty dull, in part because the heroin addict sections are written in a style meant to evoke a brain on drugs. It takes a bit of time to get used to the style, and while I admire the effort, it's really not very interesting to read what is essentially narrated garbled thoughts for pages on end.

The latter half is much better in the sense of it being like a car accident - - you can't look away even though it is just horrific. Honestly, this book should be used in high schools with freshmen . . .there's basically no way anyone would ever do drugs of any kind after reading it. That's really the best aspect; Selby does an amazing job of communicating the lack of control and agency left to these human beings once the addiction fully seizes them.

The intro to the book indicates this book is about the dangers of the American dream . . .oddly, I didn't get that message from it even though I was actively looking.


message 2: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 485 comments Anita wrote: "This is a great book if you want to get inside the drug addled minds of addicts. Can't say I personally found that an enjoyable experience. The first half was especially dull, but it certainly set ..."

Sounds like it was a quite an interesting read.


Anita Pomerantz | 6299 comments Diane wrote: "Anita wrote: "This is a great book if you want to get inside the drug addled minds of addicts. Can't say I personally found that an enjoyable experience. The first half was especially dull, but it ..."

The second half definitely was, but oh so unrelentingly dark.


message 4: by Joi (new) - added it

Joi (missjoious) | 3782 comments This is on my listopia, which you keep reading books off of. It's been extremely helpful to me, lol.

Have you seen the movie of this? It is one movie I'm good seeing once, but really never want to watch again. Sounds like the book is like that too.


Anita Pomerantz | 6299 comments Joi wrote: "This is on my listopia, which you keep reading books off of. It's been extremely helpful to me, lol.

Have you seen the movie of this? It is one movie I'm good seeing once, but really never want to..."


Ha ha ha, I wish I had picked that list! It clearly would have been a better choice. I have not seen the movie, but I am a bit curious about it now though it really seems like it might be just so depressing.


message 6: by Joi (new) - added it

Joi (missjoious) | 3782 comments It's definitely R-rated for EVERY SINGLE REASON. \But it's super artsy, which makes it interesting. Lots of quick shots flashing back and forth, lots of "seeing through the eyes of the character". Despite only seeing the movie once (around 10 years ago), I remember it pretty well. We watched it for a psychology in film class then analyzed. Pretty interesting, and obviously lots of discussion fodder.


message 7: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments The movie is very disturbing. I’m the same as Joi. Despite watching it when it was released in 2001, I can still remember it clearly.


message 8: by Idit (new)

Idit | 1028 comments Same here. I remember seeing it around 2002 probably - at the end we all looked at each other a bit horrified. There are quite a few scenes I still vividly remember (and probably wished I hadn’t).
The mum character in the film was a very good actress and it was worth watching for her (and the girlfriend was the girl from Labyrinth so I was happy to see her again) but we all felt a little bit dirtier for watching it :)


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