Customer Reviews for

Less Than Zero

Average Rating 4
( 146 )
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(59)

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(44)

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(27)

2 Star

(9)

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(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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  • 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 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 July 25, 2011

    Great

    Numbing.

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2006

    Read this if you're sane

    fantastic book...plotless, really, but that adds to the effect of 'casual nihilism' that the story nails into your heart. even I was shocked by the actions and apathy of the characters in the book, and disturbed. the terrifying part is the knowledge that the reader is being sickened by the hobbies of these people because they subconciously realize that these things are really happening. I live 50 miles from LA. I don't know if I'll look at it the same again. And don't read this book if you're depressed or suicidal, because I guarantee you this is what will push you over that morose edge.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2004

    disturbing at times but a good read

    Less than zero is a simply written book with unexpected details. It goes through a young guys life coming home and realizing what his home is like. THe everyday things that happen make you wonder about people that could live like this.. good read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2004

    Good Book

    Good Overall book, better then rules of attraction not as good as glamorama.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2002

    4 1/2 stars, really

    This really was great. Ellis wrote really superbly and I felt like I was right there! I actually stopped seeing the words at one point. It is really one of the best books I have read in a long time. I cant wait to read more books by this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2002

    Good Stuff

    Worth your time. It's a quick read.

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