Portnoy's Complaint

Portnoy's Complaint

by Philip Roth
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Portnoy's Complaint 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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Guest More than 1 year ago
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.