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Rules of Attraction (Ellis) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Having read some 200-plus pages of this sort of thing, the reader senses that Mr. Ellis is not only playing to our cheapest voyeuristic impulses by trying to glamorize the shallow world he's created but is also zeroing in on his characters' worst traits in order to feel superior to them himself. While there's a hint of a plot ..., his characters are so sketchily defined, so uniformly jaded and drugged out as to be indistinguishable from one another, and we're left to echo their own refrain: ''It's all so boring.''
Michiko Kakutani - New York Times


Serves to establish Mr. Ellis' reputation further as one of the primary inside sources in upper-middle-class America's continuing investigation of what has happend to its children....There is a raunchy tradition in literature— the young man lurching around the lower depths, short on cash, long on nerve, taking his knocks and writing about it. But here we have...young men and women spending their parents' dough and feeling victimized by the help.
Scott Spencer - New York Times Book Review


Ellis is, first and last, a moralist. Under cover of his laconic voice, every word in his [novels] springs from grieving outrage at our spiritual condition.
Los Angeles Times Book Review


This tale of privileged college students at their self-absorbed and childish worst is the very book that countless students have dreamed of writing at their most self-absorbed and childish moments. With one bestseller to his credit, Less Than Zero author and recent Bennington College graduate Ellis has had the unique opportunity of seeing his dream become a reality, and all those other once-and-future students can breathe a sigh of relief that it didn't happen to them. Through a series of brief first-person accounts, the novel chronicles one term at a fictional New England college, with particular emphasis on a decidedly contemporary love triangle (one woman and two men) in which all possible combinations have been explored, and each pines after the one who's pining after the other. Theirs is a world of physical, chemical and emotional excess—an adolescent fantasy of sex, drugs and sturm und drang—wherein characters are distinguished only by the respective means by which they squander their health, wealth and youth. Despite its contemporary feel and flashy structure, the book begins and ends midsentence—the narrative relies on the stalest staples of melodrama and manages to pack in a suicide, assorted suicide attempts, an abortion and the death of a parent without giving the impression that anything is happening or that any of it matters.
Publishers Weekly


Two years after his debut best seller, Less Than Zero, Ellis returns with a very different novel. Though still about college students (Ellis graduated only last year), this story is told through numerous student diaries, illustrating the "accidents" that often form the basis of modern relationships. Here, misunderstandings, differing perceptions, and often just bad hearing cause pairings to begin or end, proving Ellis' implicit thesis that there are no "rules." Ellis has his pretensions (the book starts and finishes in the middle of a sentence, and one diary entry is in easy French), but he successfully fleshes out his characters and creates involving situations. —Susan Avallone
Library Journal




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