My first experience with Philip Roth was American Pastoral. I loved the book.
Roth’s storytelling and writing style just blew me away.
Portnoy’s Complaint is a completely different style of novel, written a few decades before American Pastoral.
And it’s graphic. Really graphic. Almost all of it in a sexual nature. Shocking in some places. Roth’s narrator, Alexander Portnoy, uses variations of words I’m unsure I’ve ever heard before. It’s a little overdone, in my view, but I can see the forest through the trees and still appreciate Roth’s writing style.
If you can get past the lewdness, and there’s a lot of it, this can be a funny book. One particular scene from early on stands out to me.
Alex is Jewish, but has been turned off to the faith by his crazy mother, who is a devout Jew. She treats their Rabbi as if he’s the King of England, so when he shows up to see her at the hospital, Alex’s mom just about passes out from excitement. It’s a celebrity!
Alex explains his disgust:
I missed the boat.
I missed the boat filled with people who believe the new Gatsby movie sucked. That ship sailed and I wasn’t on it. I don’t know what’s up with those people.
In this post, I’ll explain why I disagree with most critics on The Great Gatsby movie. The film has been critically panned, receiving 49% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’ve read several recurring arguments online, and I want to take a look at each of those.
As a reminder, I’ve read the Gatsby novel five times. It’s my favorite book, and if a director did a crappy job of putting Fitzgerald’s story on screen, I would be more than happy to ridicule said director.
In this case, I think Baz Luhrmann did a (mostly) excellent job of making this classic novel into a Hollywood film. But let’s take a look at what some of his critics are saying.
On Friday, you guys shared your answers for the third edition of 101 Books Literary Would You Rather game.
Today, it’s my turn. Below I’ve answered my own weird questions with, more than likely, very weird answers.
It’s that time again.
It’s that time when I ask stupid would you rather questions that absolutely make no sense–and then you answer them!
What a delightful experience.
We’ve done this twice before with moderate success, so I thought I’d give it another try since it’s been a while.
Here we go.
Today’s post comes from the land of really cool things you find on the internet.
A guy named BigZ7337 posted this on the Reddit Book forums a couple of weeks ago.
Love Philip Roth. Loved American Pastoral.
Portnoy’s Complaint? I have no idea.
The only thing I’m sure of is that this book has been called controversial. And explicit. And lewd. Here’s how the Wikipedia literary experts describe it:
“Portnoy’s Complaint (1969) is the American novel that turned its author Philip Roth into a major celebrity, sparking a storm of controversy over its explicit and candid treatment of sexuality.”
Oh, wonderful. One of those novels.
Like I said, I really loved American Pastoral, so I’ll be interested to see how this one differs, as it was Roth’s big breakthrough novel.
Sexuality aside, the setup is unique: It’s a continuous monologue from the protagonist, Alex Portnoy, as he meets with his therapist.
Here’s a few quick facts about Portnoy’s Complaint and Philip Roth: