Boekverslag : Bret Easton Ellis - Less Than Zero
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Less than zero


Bret Easton Ellis

About the Author

Bret Easton Ellis was born in 1964 in Los Angeles. He graduated from Bennington College and lives and works in New York City. Other books: "The Rules of Attraction", "American psycho" and "The Informers".

Title explaination

Called after a song of Elvis Costello (Ellis is a fan). In this song there is a boy who is not happy and bored with his life. He tries to fill the emptiness with thinking about strange subjects like neo-fascism. The book is talking about the same kind of boring, strange, sadness as the song.


The story is about a group of young people. These people party all the time. They walk around in the jet set of Los Angeles, party all night, have sex with everybody, have expensive markclothes, fast cars and much too much money.

They all have rich and famous parents (filmproducers, businessmen, models, and actors) who lead the same sort of life: expensive houses, cars, too many credit cards, too many marriages and ex-husbands, bisexuality, alcoholism, cocaine.

Clay used to be in this sort of life too, but when he returns after a few months from the university back to LA for Christmas, he cannot adapt to his earlier life and that of his friends anymore.

He first goes out with his friends and tries to be fun, but he realizes that this rough way of life is no life. No one communicates normal and cares about anything or anyone. Everybody parties all night and talks (etc.) with everybody, but no one looks deeper at the people. Beneath their skin there is loneliness, fear and emotional needs. Everybody is looking for love and attention.

One girl (Muriel) almost dies of anorexia nervosa, another boy (Julian) is drugdealer and prostitutes himself to get money.

Everybody seems crazy and is so bored that the strangest things are becoming normal.

Clay's seeing the family therapist to talk about his feelings, but it doesn't help.

Once, Clay gets sick when he sees a film in which they are making love and at the same time dying. He is the only one who gets sick.

Clay doesn't like the thing that his friends have no feelings anymore, and he gets scared and mixed up. He pulls back and doesn’t take part of the group anymore.

His friends don't like this (especially his ex Blair). They try to convince him to stay in LA, but eventually he leaves the city and goes back to the university. He leaves his old life of sex, drugs and money, and begins a new one. Though he keeps the thoughts and dreams of his former life for a long time.

Main characters

Clay: spoiled, rich, eighteen-year-old boy from Los Angeles.

Blair: Clay's ex-girlfriend, who is still in love with him.

Trent & Julian: former best friends at high school from Clay.

Rip: a young drug dealer.

Muriel: an anorexic friend of Blair's.

And lots of other spoiled, boring, blond, tanned, hansom, too rich young people.


In the eighties.


Los Angeles.



The book

Development novel, chronological story, no chapters, short paragraphs, present-time, flashbacks (about Clay’s time with Blair before university).


Clay returns for Christmas holidays from university to his birth town Los Angeles.


Clay can't handle his former life and returns to the university.
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