The Rules of Attraction

The Rules of Attraction

Book - 1998
Average Rating:
Rate this:
From the bestselling author or Less Than Zero and American Psycho , The Rules of Attraction is a startlingly funny, kaleidoscopic novel about three students at a small, affluent liberal-arts college in New England with no plans for the future--or even the present--who become entangled in a curious romantic triangle. Bret Easton Ellis trains his incisive gaze on the kids at self-consciously bohemian Camden College and treats their sexual posturings and agonies with a mixture of acrid hilarity and compassion while exposing the moral vacuum at the center of their lives.

Lauren changes boyfriends every time she changes majors and still pines for Victor who split for Europe months ago and she might or might not be writing anonymous love letter to ambivalent, hard-drinking Sean, a hopeless romantic who only has eyes for Lauren, even if he ends up in bed with half the campus, and Paul, Lauren's ex, forthrightly bisexual and whose passion masks a shrewd pragmatism. They waste time getting wasted, race from Thirsty Thursday Happy Hours to Dressed To Get Screwed parties to drinks at The Edge of the World or The Graveyard. The Rules of Attraction is a poignant, hilarious take on the death of romance. 

The basis for the major motion picture starring James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon, Jessica Biel, and Kate Bosworth.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Contemporaries, 1998.
ISBN: 9780679781486
Branch Call Number: ELLIS
Characteristics: 283 p. ; 21 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 23, 2016

This is now the 3rd novel that I've read by over-praised fiction-writer Bret Ellis. And, after finally finishing this one just the other day - Here's the one question that immediately came to my mind....

"Doesn't Ellis know how to write about any other types of characters besides those who are the most shallow, empty-headed, boring, self-centred, pieces of white-trash imaginable? Doesn't he?"

Nope. It doesn't seem that Ellis has the capacity, as a writer, to go beyond the level of just frivolous, gabby, tattle-tale narrative. And, that's it!

Published in 1987 - The Rules of Attraction's story focuses in on the trite, trivial, totally predictable personal dramas of several snot-nosed, Camden College, rich kids whose lives are nothing but one utterly forgettable experience after another.... I mean, this pack of despicable brats are so irritating and superficial that the reader can be damn certain that not a single one of this bunch even has the slightest chance of actually getting passing grades in any of their courses of study.

And - Let's face it - These are the sort of people who you would definitely not want to meet in real life. So, why the hell would you bother to waste your time reading about them and their irksome personal dramas here in this grossly over-rated piece-of-nothing fiction?

Dec 05, 2014

B.E.E. takes his sardonic nihilism to campus in this deeply shallow and monotonous novel that was later turned into a film. Fans of Ellis (and Ellis himself) describe him as a satirist, but I think this is inaccurate because satire is funny, biting, says something, and has a worthy target. Is writing a novel about superficial and bored beautiful people screwing, drinking, behaving badly, and doing lots of drugs satire? The only thing you take from it is, yeah, these people are horrible. So what? Ellis is so atrocious that I can't stop reading him, which I guess is a victory for him.

Nov 21, 2014

One of the worst writers in America.

Feb 27, 2014

I had mixed feelings about this book. I thought it was well written, though at times I felt the extensive, blase descriptions of debauchery were trite. It was perhaps very daring of Ellis to write a novel where the characters do not really change. I have always wondered if audiences wouldn't care about a story if the characters don't change, yet Ellis tried it. That said, while I understood their emptiness and I was moved by some of the sad and awkward events, during the last 50 or so pages I felt that I would simply be getting more of the same satirical point. If they are soulless, numb, unchanging, selfish people, why keep reading about their terrible behaviors? I guess I wanted some contrast. Still, I'm glad I read it. I mostly remained interested in Lauren. She seemed to have the greatest longing for more in her life.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

Aug 18, 2009

salokin88 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 17 and 45


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Subject Headings


Find it at JMS

To Top