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Customer Reviews for

Portnoy's Complaint

Average Rating 4
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

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3 Star

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2 Star

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2001

    Hysterically funny, yet serious

    Easily the funniest -- and one of the most gratifying -- books I've ever read. Having avoided it for many years (it was published when I was a kid) because I remembered the adults in my (American Jewish) family reacting so adversely to it, I finally gave it a try when I was in my 30s, and I couldn't stop laughing. If I'd read this book as a young woman, it would have saved me 20 years of therapy, because there, on every page, was the kind of neurosis that so many (I'd wager) American Jews -- and possibly American immigrants in general -- experience, and why/how they experience it, and how it gets passed on. It's not just about sex; it's about all the familial (particularly) and social forces that work on us to make us the way we are, and how we're stifled, suffocated. And it's done with incredible humor. It's also a gutsy book, because it paints such an honest, if unflattering, picture, which exposed Roth to the (unwarranted) wrath of mainstream American Jewry. As for the assaults on Roth's (and his narrator's) personality, the accusations of misogyny, etc. -- all beside the point. This book, along with Roth's others, is funny, sharply intelligent, right on point, and a great read. As a reader, that's all that matters to me. Enjoy!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Unbelievable

    Roth's story of Alex Portnoy is hands down one of the most amazing books you'll ever read. It's a book of flow, a tide you never want to get off. I can't begin to explain how amazing it is: the story of a young Jewish man battling libido and his mother's eternal guilt.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2003

    Funny!

    I think this is one of the funniest books ever written. As a woman it has also helped me to understand some of what men may be experiencing (or maybe not!) Anyway, I laughed so hard I cried.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2010

    Laugh out loud funny

    My book group revisited this recently, and it remains one of the funniest books ever written. Roth is probably the best living American writer, and this book is a must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2002

    As painfully funny and poignant as literature gets

    This work is a classic of American literature, and the funniest book I have ever read.I have read almost all of Roth's work and this is in my judgment still the best, the most profoundly moving and the most painfully funny . There is much beauty and truth in this book in its depiction of American Jewish life , and family relations. I do not think Roth is really guilty of the charge of Jewish self - hatred, but rather that he tells a painful truth about what he loves and hates and is closest to. I first read and reread this book years ago, when it first came out, 1968 I believe, in another world and with a different mind - set and religious feeling than I have now.Much of the vulgarity in the book disturbs me today in a way it did less than , but this I think is secondary to the great poetic power of Roth 's writing , and his revealing aspects of experience in a way no one had been able to write of them before. This is an American classic and a book people will be reading and enjoying many years from now.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    Saved me in high school

    Read this in secret in high school. Much too controverdial in its first publication for a 16 year old to be caught with. But it saved me! With certain sexual practices still taboo and not for proper conversation, i read this savoring every sexusl experience not for their ability to excite but to supply me with the realization that others masturbated a d loved it and lived for it. I was not alone. Guilt was not necessary anymore. I didn't do it with my fsmily's dinner as Portnoy so hystericslly did: a raw piece of liver thta he uses and washes off and returns to the refrigerator. Classic scene. I was absolved and thankful. Lent it to some eager friends who also read this locked in the bathroom. We shyly talked and came to the understanding with enormous relief that we all enjoyed this taboo practice. I asked if anyone ever confessed to Father McKey when he heard our confessions. We agreed it would kill the old man and we knew before reading Portnoy we were headed for hell. Our friend Jim was caught by his father. His punishment was brutal. This didn't stop us. Portnoy was our god now. We bragged about doing it and like Portnoy aimed for the light bulb. Thanks to Mr Roth for liberating us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

    Not for me.

    I could not get in to this book at all. Just so much rambling. I found the book very annoying. I had to stop half way through which I really dislike.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2001

    Pretty funny

    This was an extremely amusing book, though it had serious undercurrents as well. The first half of the book especially had me literally bursting out with laughter. Also a good way for a non-Jew to learn about Jewish culture. The best adolescent coming-of-age novel that I've read (I didn't particularly like 'Catcher in the Rye' and all those AP English classics).

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 1999

    amusing (and innocuous--never fear)

    This is one long Richard Lewis stand-up routine--amusing, but not nearly as funny as 'The Great American Novel'.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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