Customer Reviews for

Less Than Zero

Average Rating 4
( 146 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(59)

4 Star

(44)

3 Star

(27)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

The worship of drugs, vanity, and indulgence

Bret Easton Ellis writes this coming of age book with unrelenting grit and down-right graphic accounts of teenage life for the privledged LA-ites. Easton Ellis follows Clay, a socialite who slowly recognizes the reality he faces with his drug-laced friends, Julian and B...
Bret Easton Ellis writes this coming of age book with unrelenting grit and down-right graphic accounts of teenage life for the privledged LA-ites. Easton Ellis follows Clay, a socialite who slowly recognizes the reality he faces with his drug-laced friends, Julian and Blair. At times shocking, Clay becomes more engrossed in this over-indulgent world when he comes back home for Christmas break. It is difficult not to get the feeling that non of these characters actually care about one another unless they can provide them with more drugs or cruder forms of entertainment. Although you will see a tranformation in Clay from beginning to end, you will grind your teeth at his blatant inaction in serious situations. Easton Ellis' writing sytle is genius: Clay's narrative changes with his use and non-use of drugs, and his fleeting memories of Julian in earlier years are crushing. This is an incredible debut novel from Bret Easton Ellis. I look forward to the 'in-the-works' follow-up to Less Than Zero.

posted by Anonymous on August 2, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Yes, it is less than zero

This depressing story is a quick read and difficult for me to wrap my mind around. Do people like this actually exist? I can visualize how some young people with too many choices and no parental guidance might fall into an abyss, but there doesn't appear to be one per...
This depressing story is a quick read and difficult for me to wrap my mind around. Do people like this actually exist? I can visualize how some young people with too many choices and no parental guidance might fall into an abyss, but there doesn't appear to be one person in any of these characters' lives that might prove to be an anchor. It doesn't seem plausible. I also had difficulty connecting with the main character. While witnessing some truly horrific incidents, he remains completely apathetic. There is no growth of his character thus by the end of the story you don't care about him in the least. And yet I finished reading it. I put the book away wondering what does that say about me?

posted by Anonymous on September 7, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2007

    Yes, it is less than zero

    This depressing story is a quick read and difficult for me to wrap my mind around. Do people like this actually exist? I can visualize how some young people with too many choices and no parental guidance might fall into an abyss, but there doesn't appear to be one person in any of these characters' lives that might prove to be an anchor. It doesn't seem plausible. I also had difficulty connecting with the main character. While witnessing some truly horrific incidents, he remains completely apathetic. There is no growth of his character thus by the end of the story you don't care about him in the least. And yet I finished reading it. I put the book away wondering what does that say about me?

    5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2006

    The worship of drugs, vanity, and indulgence

    Bret Easton Ellis writes this coming of age book with unrelenting grit and down-right graphic accounts of teenage life for the privledged LA-ites. Easton Ellis follows Clay, a socialite who slowly recognizes the reality he faces with his drug-laced friends, Julian and Blair. At times shocking, Clay becomes more engrossed in this over-indulgent world when he comes back home for Christmas break. It is difficult not to get the feeling that non of these characters actually care about one another unless they can provide them with more drugs or cruder forms of entertainment. Although you will see a tranformation in Clay from beginning to end, you will grind your teeth at his blatant inaction in serious situations. Easton Ellis' writing sytle is genius: Clay's narrative changes with his use and non-use of drugs, and his fleeting memories of Julian in earlier years are crushing. This is an incredible debut novel from Bret Easton Ellis. I look forward to the 'in-the-works' follow-up to Less Than Zero.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This Book IS Less Than Zero!

    Loved the movie-hate the book! I can't even get through it, it's so horrible! It's written as if a teen wrote it. It's just so horrible. Most of the time it feels like i'm reading one long run on sentence. Poorly written. Save your time go watch the movie!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2004

    typical indulgent Ellis

    I do not recommend this book! I read American Psycho first and hated it, but I thought I'd give the author another chance and read Less Than Zero. It is just as bad! The self-absorbed L.A. socialite characters at all are not interesting-- I don't care if he means to be cynical; it's not ironic, it's just shallow! This book is very predictable in its plot and its syntax. It reads like a soap opera, dropping names of movie stars and fancy restaurants, while following different characters through their trials with drugs, casual sex, bisexuality, insane materialism, more drugs, and prostitution. The violence and sex Ellis uses to glamorize his characters doesn't bring any more interest to this book, but rather, just another reason for me to throw up my hands in disgust.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2001

    Disappointing

    I come from the same background that the protagonist Clay comes from (granted, in New York, not LA...) and yet I find his portrayal to be very cynical and missing many important details. The story is a bit exaggerated and I can barely imagine the apathy shown by the character. I feel no sympathy for him as a person.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    AWFUL!!!

    If you like to read about pathetic rich teenagers getting high then this is a good book. Otherwise it was awful! It has a lot of drug use, sex, and a raping of 12 year old girl. The book is fairly short but it took me forever to finish it because I just couldn't stay interested. If you really want to read this book, I suggest you borrow it from your local library.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    Not what I expected

    after reading so many great reviews I thought this book was going to be something amazing. I was sorely disappointed. I couldnt get over the odd writing style, lack of detail, and bland one dimensional characters. The stories were obsured and were surely only there for shock value, but lacking in detail or emotion. This left me feeling bored rather than shocked. The only description of characters you ever get are that they are blonde and tan. Everyone. I cannot put into words how annoying I found this. there was no real story that I could get from this book either. No character growth, no plot. It was just a flat, boring read about young adults who are all blonde, tan, bisexual, and so devoid of emotion or thoufht that you might as well call them robots.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    DISAPPEAR HERE

    This novel marks the beginning of Ellis' career of vapid, hollow, morally twisted and utterly rich and beautiful characters. Set in early 80s Los Angeles, the central character returns for a Christmas vacation to become engrossed in the debauchery of his high school friends once again, but this time, the stakes are higher. Clay, the protagonist, is rich and perfectly handsome, but completely lacking in moral certainty and self-determinism. His failings as a human being haunt him throughout this short novel and ensure a tragic impact on the love of his life, Blair and his best friend, Julian.
    Though this novel lack the gore and existential confusion of American Psycho and Glamorama, it is a fascinating character piece. From the beginning, I found no reason to empathize with the characters and developed a sincere disdain for their trite and trendy problems. However, by the end of the novel, I was deeply moved by their plight. Clay's utter lack of any force of personality is so complete, he's more a ghost than a man.
    His haunting catch-phrase, "disappear here," becomes a gruesome warning message sent to Victor in Glamorama. Ellis' character crossovers are so prevalent, I suggest starting with "Less Than Zero" and reading them all chronologically. Ellis' next novel will include the characters from Less Than Zero, so this novel is perhaps more recommendable now than ever. While it is short and somewhat uneventful, it is brilliantly written (for a 20 year old college student, at that) and underscores the deep human issues invading second generation wealth and consumerist culture as a whole. Ellis has gone from an 80s aberration (one of the "Literary Brat Pack") to what some have called "a modern day Dostoevsky." Less Than Zero manages to illustrate both aspects of this author.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2006

    Amazing!!

    This is a fantastic author and book. Ellis portrays the characters in only a way he can. All of these people portrayed in this book have no sense of time, direction and they do not place a value on anything. Ellis makes this funny, horrific and tragic all at the same time. You are left satisfied with the content at the end of the story but also feeling empty for the characters. It is a world where everything is taken for granted and nobody in the story understands or cares about consequences of their actions or desires. Confusion prevails and Ellis makes it interesting and compelling. Definately a must read!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2005

    Considering when he wrote it, incredible.

    My friend first handed me 'Less Than Zero' and said something around the lines of 'it's good, I think you'll like it.' I had never read anything by Ellis before so I figured I'd take a step into the unknown. If I had known that this book was going to eat away all of my time I would have squared off my all of my affairs before I began reading. Though Ellis is proclaimde trite and overbearing I believe that his style of writing puts great emphsis on what the character is thinking rather than what Ellis himself was thinking. This dark and twisted tale of LA in the 80's not only enthralls the reader, but thrashes him around unforgivingly. An amazing piece of work, especially considering he wrote it when he was 18, some of my good friends are 18, I just can't imagine going to B&N and seeing one of their books on the shelf, its just wild.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2012

    The first time I read this book, I agreed with most of the one a

    The first time I read this book, I agreed with most of the one and two star ratings. I thought it was odd and depressing and I had no idea what to think when I finished. When I read it the second time, I realized it was one of my favorite books. Clay isn't as difficult to relate to as some reviewers claim because at some point, you will feel this jaded or someone who's supposed to support you (like Clay's psychiatrist) will let you down. If you read this book and didn't like it, I urge to you wait a month, a year or what have you and read it again. It will be worth it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2012

    I Give Praise to Bret Easton Ellis.

    I'm not yet finished with the book but am thoroughly enjoying. Bret's attention to detail mirrors that of American Psycho, my all-time favorite book. The reader is submerged, and drowns in the emptiness of our protagonist, Clay, and watches him drown as well. His life is a hollow shell, filled with overabundant drug use and meaningless sex. His friends carry equal parts fake skin and careless personality. This book is nihilism in every sense of the word and BEE is by far my favorite author.

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  • Posted February 22, 2012

    Perhaps not for the "casual reader"...

    It's a book that only people who really love to read will be able to appreciate, and I think that because it certainly is not a fun adventure story or anything of the sort, but a novel that has something to say and makes you think. It's about the lives of a group of teenagers, wasting their lives away on drugs, sex and cheap thrills. The book is satirical, very disturbing but important.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    You either get it or you don't

    Ellis has created with his books a excellent satire of the 1980's. If you lived through them you would understand his books. That means if you were under 15during the 80's you will not get what he is protraying. If you were over 25 you won't get it. Ellis is one of the most orginal and distinctive voices of my generation.

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  • Posted November 23, 2011

    Less than zero

    I'm indifferent about the book, I was kinda confussed alittle when it would jump to past experince. But for it being his first noval and he wrote it when he was 19 I can understand the writting of it. Love the Movie but don't get the book and movie as the same thing. The charater are the same but the movie went with a different approch from the story. overall I'm only rating 3 stars, I just wish there were more feelings towards the main charater.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2011

    Great

    Numbing.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    amazing

    this is the first Ellis book I read and now im hooked. I've been reading imperial bedrooms which is the sequel and loving it. I would recommend any book by this author.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Modern Day Drama.

    Ellis's magnum opus, if one could call it that, displays a disarray of characters soullessly wandering throughout the bitter streets of L.A. Although not necessarily 'intellectually stimulating', this novel did indeed open my naive eyes. Whenever I would come across something iffy, I would think, "Would people really do such a thing?" And sadly, the answer is yes. Ellis provides insight not only into the corrupt lives of wealthy youth in L.A., but too in the corrupt lives of many youth throughout the nation. The characters, however, are captivating; so much so that one can't help but feel their pain, misery, loneliness, apathy, etc. My main critique is that there is no character development; the slightest being Clay and Blair showing a little morality boost by walking out of the snuff film.

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  • Posted October 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Fantastic Tale. Better Than The Movie!

    'Less Than Zero' was an intense,dark disturbing crash course of coming-of-age tale. Clay came back home for X-mas vacation to spend it with his family & friends. It seems that all has changed for his friends now lost into gruesome sitations, and their drug addictions. Clay's persecptive has changed when he went to college, and he realize if he didn't go to study at East than he would have been lost in the nothing like his high school friends became.

    I really enjoyed this novel very much. The writing was excellent. I have to give it up to Bret Easton Ellis. That was really genious of him to write a book about the time of the 80's LA scene beyond the vanity & the consequences. When you think about it's pretty awesome that he had written it at age 18. Most 18 year olds are just too busy playing, and being immature than picking up a pen, or type something interesting.

    The story was awesome and unforgettable. I would recommend anyone to read it. As for the movie, it was way too sugar coated for me. It doesn't compare to the novel.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Less Than Zero

    The first thing I thought when I read this book was: this could have been Patrick Bateman¿s childhood. Having read American Psycho not too long ago, I certainly could see the parallel.<BR/><BR/>Clay is a freshman in college coming back to L.A for Christmas, returning to the life of drugs, sex and boredom he had left behind for one semester. And as he allows himself to merge back into the flow of life, the reader enters with him the world of the rich and spoiled. It makes for a disturbing vision of youth, and as I said, something that could serve as the backstory for American Psycho.<BR/><BR/>However, this book also seems to be the predecessor to American Psycho in that it fails to push the envelope as well as the formerly mentioned book did. It is engrossing, it is captivating, it is interesting, but still relatively shallow and a very fast read. Just as Clay could have grown up to become Patrick Bateman, this book eventually went on to become a superior book, American Psycho. If you have already read it, this book will seem watered down¿

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