Portnoy’s Complaint

By Philip Roth is such an interesting book.

Alexander Portnoy has gone to see a shrink to whom he narrates the story of his life, how he jerks off several times a day in his socks, in the washrooms and anywhere he thinks he is not being seen.

He tells of his affair with Mary Jane Reed aka The Monkey, of their sexcapades in different European towns and finally his visit to Israel where he his dick fails to rise to the occasion twice.

Alex is godless and one occasion he says about the Protestants

Oh, this father! this kindly, anxious,uncomprehending, constipated father! Doomed to be obstructed by this Holy Protestant Empire! The self confidence and the cunning, the imperiousness and the contacts, all that enabled the blond and blue-eyed of his generation to lead, to inspire, to command, if need be to oppress- he could not summon a hundredth part of it. How could he oppress?- he was the oppressed. How could he wield power?- he was the powerless. How could he enjoy triumph, when he so despised the triumphant-and probably the very idea. They worship a Jew, do you know that, Alex? Their whole big-deal religion is based on worshiping someone who was an established Jew at that time. Now how do you like that for stupidity? How do you like that for pulling the wool over the eyes of the public? Jesus Christ, who they go around telling everybody was God, was actually a Jew! And this fact, that absolutely kills me when I have to think about it, nobody else pays any attention to. That he was a Jew, like you and me, and that they took a Jew and turned him into some kind of God after he is already dead, and then-and this is what can make you absolutely crazy-then the dirty bastards turn around afterwards, and who is the first one on their list to persecute? who haven’t they left their hands off of to murder and to hate for two thousand years? The Jews! who gave them their beloved Jesus to begin with! I assure you, Alex, you are never going to hear such a mishegoss of mixed-up crap and disgusting nonsense as the Christian religion in your entire life. And that’s what these big shots, so-called, believe!

and in another place he says about Christians and Jews

Tacked above the Girardi sink is a picture of Jesus Christ floating up to Heaven in a pink nightgown. How disgusting can human beings be! The Jews I despise for their narrow-mindedness, their self-righteousness, the incredibly bizarre sense that these cave men who are my parents and relatives have somehow gotten of their superiority- but when it comes to tawdriness and cheapness, to beliefs that would shame even a gorilla, you simply cannot top the goyim. What kind of base and brainless schmucks are these people to worship somebody who, number one, never existed, and number two, if he did, looking as he does in that picture, was without a doubt The Pansy of Palestine. In a pageboy haircut, with a Palmolive complexion- and wearing a gown that I realize today must have come from Fredericks of Hollywood! Enough of God and the rest of that garbage! Down with religion and human groveling! Up with socialism and the dignity of man!

I loved this book!

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

19 thoughts on “Portnoy’s Complaint

  1. shelldigger says:

    “I loved this book!” …the masturbating everywhere part, or the great points on religion part? 😉

    Seriously though, it is odd how such simple truths elude the faithful.


  2. melouisef says:

    I know he is a very good writer, and will keep my eyes open for this one!


  3. aguywithoutboxers says:

    Thanks, buddy! I haven’t read this book in years! I need to go back and read it again! I hope you’re enjoying your weekend, my Nairobi brother! 🙂


  4. I’ll have to read this. Seems very good.


  5. fabryhistory says:

    I remember feeling rebellious for reading this book, and laughing a lot! You’ve been reading some great stuff lately – have you read Camus’ “The Plague” yet? I’m going to read that soon.


    • makagutu says:

      I haven’t read the Plague as yet. Currently reading Confessions by Jean J Rousseau and so far loving it.
      Portnoy’s Complaint is a good book. It is actually hard to put it down.
      The question that crossed my mind is whether when Alex speaks, is it Alex or our author expressing his disgust at repression of sexual urges, his disgust at religion and his godlessness?


  6. themodernidiot says:

    I was always afraid it would be kind of a stuffy, dry book. Boy was I wrong! Back on the reading list it goes!


  7. I remember when this book first came out and the fuss it made. I read it but could never really relate to it from a personal perspective but I loved that it caused such an uproar! Life takes many strange and weird turns – years and years later I ended up marrying a man that was very much like the main character – Oi! What a mistake and disaster that was! But that is another story … as far as re-reading this novel I’ll pass. 🙂


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