Customer Reviews for

Less Than Zero

Average Rating 4
( 149 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(60)

4 Star

(46)

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 6 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 October 4, 2014

    An envious first work

    Enjoyable. Dark. Ellis' archetypes can be seen developing here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2014

    This book is great!  Less Than Zero offers a look into the LA p

    This book is great! 

    Less Than Zero offers a look into the LA party scene in the 1980's. The book is not easy to wrap your head around but if you take the time to get to know the characters and their lives, the book is easier to understand. Less Than Zero is a disturbing look into the reality of the LA party scene. The documentarian esque writing pulls you in within the first page and carries you to the last word. Ellis is a great writer and his use of imagery and your imagination is the key to understanding this book. The book contains a "Sofia Coppola movie quality in writing". Her movies a normally bland and seem to have no life until you dig deeper into the characters and find out who they truly are. This book is exactly that and it's a must read!

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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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