Portnoy's Complaint

Roth, Philip

Book - 1994
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Portnoy's Complaint
Random House, Inc.
Portnoy's Complaint n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933- )] A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature. Spielvogel says: 'Acts of exhibitionism, voyeurism, fetishism, auto-eroticism and oral coitus are plentiful; as a consequence of the patient's "morality," however, neither fantasy nor act issues in genuine sexual gratification, but rather in overriding feelings of shame and the dread of retribution, particularly in the form of castration.' (Spielvogel, O. "The Puzzled Penis," Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, Vol. XXIV, p. 909.) It is believed by Spielvogel that many of the symptoms can be traced to the bonds obtaining in the mother-child relationship.

With a new Afterword by the author for the 25th Anniversary edition.

Baker & Taylor
A New York lawyer, dominated by a demanding Jewish mother, plays out a sexual revenge in fact and fantasy

& Taylor

New York lawyer Alexander Portnoy, a young man dominated by a demanding Jewish mother, plays out a sexual revenge in fact and fantasy, in a twenty-fifth anniversary edition of the popular novel. Reprint.

Publisher: New York : Vintage International, 1994
Edition: 1st Vintage International ed
ISBN: 9780679756453
Branch Call Number: FIC R
Characteristics: 274 p. ; 21 cm.


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Oct 31, 2014
  • alforn rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

I know that this is deemed a 'classic', but I just couldn't get through it, which very rarely happens to me. I don't find it especially shocking, so that isn't the issue. Frankly, the problem is that it lacks a compelling story. After several weeks of forcing myself to get through it, I finally gave up!

Jun 27, 2014
  • slarsen rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

After all the hype about this book I had expectations. I found I had to wade through a great deal of masturbating to find a story and I didn't find much of anything. How dare I give a bad review to a classic, well here it is.

Mar 07, 2013
  • sdelao rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A classic! Recommend.

Mar 10, 2011
  • Algonquin_Lisa rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Very much not my thing. A protagonist who spends the whole novel thinking about sex, and constantly practicing the "solo act," repulsed me. It's supposed to be funny. I didn't find it so.

Sep 02, 2010
  • zoen rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Extremely probacative and sexual. If your reading this then your probably wanting this book because you heard it's scandalous and it is! But it gets boring sometimes..,


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Roth, Philip
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