Portnoy's Complaint Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Portnoy's Complaint

This is a story about Alexander Portnoy, a Jewish boy with a big nose and big ego who loves sex. Unfortunately, he was brought up in an extremely strict household with high expectations, and as a result has strongly conflicting feelings regarding the world of sex. Portnoy has a strong sex drive, and though there is nothing more that he wishes for but a normal, loving family with kids, he knows he could never settle down because of his wandering libido. He loves kinky sex but feels guilty doing it, and relates this problem through several anecdotes regarding his early childhood and teenage years, hoping to help the doctor reach a conclusion about his problem.
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The review of this Book prepared by Suzie

PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT has been first published in 1969. Alexander Portnoy is a jewish boy who has lived most of his childhood in the Newark jewish neighborhood of New-Jersey. He was a brilliant student admired by his parents. But Portnoy, from his childhood on, has been obsessed by women and sexuality. The clash between his secret thoughts and the morals of his jewish education is too violent. Soon Guiltiness and Rebellion are fighting a terrible battle in his mind. A masterpiece.
The review of this Book prepared by Daniel Staebler

Chapter Analysis of Portnoy's Complaint

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Kids:    -   religious influences Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   religious Jew    -   American Northeast Kind of sex:    -   really kinky sex Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes Loving/sexing?    -   girl chasing Taboo sex story?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   politician/elected ruler Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)    -   Jewish Unusual characteristics:    -   Genius


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   1 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Israel City?    -   Yes City:    -   New York Misc setting    -   sewers/subways

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   touching of anatomy    -   licking    -   orgies    -   lesbians!    -   actual description of hetero sex    -   Boob talk!    -   Vagia talk!    -   rape/molest Lot of foul language?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   mostly dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Philip Roth Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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