Portnoy’s Complaint

ISBN: 0965017028
ISBN 13:
By: Philip Roth

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About this book

Portnoy's Complaint is the famously outrageous confession made to his analyst by Alexander Portnoy, the Huck Finn of Newark, who is trust through life by his unappeasable sexuality, yet held back at the same time by the iron grip of his unforgettable childhood. Thirty years after it was first published, Portnoy's Complaint remains a classic of American literature, a tour de force of comic and carnal brilliance, and probably the funniest book about sex ever written. It was recently designated one of the hundred best books of the twentieth century by the Modern Library judges.

Reader's Thoughts

Bev Hankins

Just to start off...The best part of the book? The "Afterword to the Twenty-fifth-Anniversary Edition" by the author. Seriously. What I enjoyed most was learning that Roth has used a piece of paper emblazoned with 19 typewritten sentences that he found in a local diner back in 1956 to come up with the opening line for his first 19 novels. Being a budding author myself, I'm going to be on the look-out everywhere I go for a similar little bonanza--particularly if it's going to produce best-sellers.But, I digress. Back to the review. This is the story of Alexander Portnoy and the outpourings of his therapy sessions with Dr. Spielvogel. Portnoy goes on and on (and on and on and...) about growing up Jewish and what the pressures of his home life have done to him. Squashed in between his ramblings about his sex life (both solitary and in company), we are given little vignettes about life with father and Mother and sister. Mother, of course, being the dominant figure in Portnoy's life.This book earned two stars out of my five star system. There were moments (brief, fleeting) of down-right brilliant hilarity. There were moments (even briefer and more fleeting) of thoughtful insight. These are the redeeming qualities that push Portnoy's Complaint from one star to two. Over-all, this is a self-centered, whiny, piece of sexual OCD with a central character who is hung up on himself, his penis and where he's putting it, and his Jewishness (not necessarily in that order). If the humor were more liberally sprinkled throughout and/or the main character actually showed some growth over the almost 300 pages, then I would have given it a higher rating. As it is, despite Portnoy's sporadic psychological comments about himself (which seem to be right on target), he never takes these musings to heart and applies them. The reader is left feeling that Portnoy will never get beyond the furtive fumbling in the bathroom or the frantic wranglings in the bedroom.This was first posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting. Thanks!

Tyler

This entertaining and smartly written book managed the difficult task of amusing and impressing me. The protagonist, too Jewish to be American yet, in the end, too American to be Jewish, reeled me in with his humorous, potent stream of consciousness that tapped into my own musings and assured me that I'm not alone in dwelling upon, uh, inglorious imagery. The humor comes across at times like stand-up comedy. You can see, then, how easily the author's concept could have gone flat. And so it would have in the hands of less skilled writers. That it succeeds so well in a literary genre testifies to Roth's touch. The effect of the book relies not just upon its humor, but as well upon its general entertainment and solid writing. We have here a pervert, one Alexander Portnoy, but an intelligent one, it must be stated. The confluence of excessive sexuality and the excessive consciousness intelligent people suffer from is about to drive this guy over the edge any moment, and boy do we hear about it. In fact, the whole book lays out his ever hysterical rant about the quixotic quest for a girlfriend who has all the talents he wants in one neat package -- minus all the baggage, of which he has a detailed list. Such a woman has never been known to exist in the annals of mankind, but Alexander thinks she's out there somewhere and he won't take no for an answer.Two groups I cannot recommend this book for are feminists and people who dislike excessive foul language. How Roth makes a great book out of a manuscript having these characteristics is hard to describe here, so the rest of you will just have to read it yourselves. At the very least, you may never look at the tags affixed to mattresses the same way again.

Caroline

Portnoy's Complaint is exactly that; the long first person complaint of an Alexander Portnoy, Port-Noir to goys, of how his Jewish upbringing has paralyzed him. At 33 years of age Alex is still hopelessly devoted to jerking off and other lewd sexual acts. Much to the chagrin of his devoted, doting, if not smothering Jewish parents he is not interested in marriage, least of all producing such re-ver-ed grandchildren. Phillip Roth is masterful with his execution of Portnoy's complaining;revealing bits and pieces of Alex's life by weaving the past and present together in a cohesive mix of memories and narrative. The novel starts out with Alex as a young boy and the trials and tribulations of growing up under the overly-watchful eye of two Jewish parents. Hamburgers, french fries, and football are just a few of the forbidden activities for our young Portnoy. If only his mother really knew what he was doing behind the bathroom door, she'd have locked him outside in his galoshes permanently. The conclusion of the novel is grounded much more in Alex's adult life. A successful Lawyer in NY, Alex begins to seriously sort out why he is the way he is. Can it all be blamed on his parents? Can he give in and become the Jew they've always dreamed him to be? With a nice Jewish wife and a couple of menshes padding down the hall?Overall the book is laugh out loud funny. It especially spoke to my own experience of growing up in New Jersey with a Jewish father (and subsequently a Jewish Grandmother), almost as bad as Alex's mother. The guilt that man was capable of with just one or two words was really award worthy. There are also the familiar yiddish words thrown around by the Portnoy's that emulated the Katz vernacular. Regardless of your religious orientatation this book is definetly worth reading.

Kristin

If you can stomach stories about narcissistic self-love/hate spiced with sexual disfunction and peppered with Zionist, racist, sexist, anti-semetic, and homophobic prose, then this book might be worth your time. Yes, Roth is clever and, at times, amusing. Although I didn't laugh a single time, despite my high expectations for being tickled by this 'wildly funny' book. I suppose the misanthropy (and in particular, the gross misogyny) threw me off. WIth that off my chest, I can point out the redeemable aspects of this novel. The first is the description of the mother-child relationship. This particular study of the toxic combination of controlling mother and head-strong child makes this novel worth the read. The other redeemable quality is the structure. Many aspiring writers will have at some point tried to write a story in second person with the protagonist addressing his/her therapist (I know I have). Rarely have these stories worked. They usually fail because they are self-indulgent, boring, and lacking insight. Roth does manage to pull this off, and certainly this is not a boring book. Overall, the book is a rough read that illuminates little of the human condition. Unless, I suppose you're an anti-semetic, middle-aged Jewish man who enjoys self flagellation and taking everybody else down with him on his whiney descent into irreparable dysfunction. I, of course, am none of these things. Perhaps that is why I find this book more annoying than entertaining.

Fewlas

”Ma che gli piglia a questi genitori ebrei… Perché non sono da solo su questa barca, oh no, sono a bordo della nave più grande della flotta: sbirciate attraverso l’oblò e guardateci qui, ammassati contro le paratie nelle nostre cuccette, gementi e lamentosi di autocompassione, tristi figli lacrimosi di genitori ebrei, stravolti dal rollio in questo mare di colpa… tale è la visione che a volte ho di noialtri, di me e dei miei compagni di lamento, personaggi malinconici e diffidenti, ancora sul ponte di terza classe come i nostri antenati… e sofferenti, sofferenti come bestie, protestiamo di tanto in tanto, ora l’uno ora l’altro.”All’università mi è capitato di studiare pragmalinguistica e mi sono appassionata moltissimo allo studio della realizzazione dei diversi atti linguistici: complimenti, proteste, richieste.. ma in particolare mi piaceva studiare le varie ricerche che mi facevano vedere come persone di diverse culture si lamentassero in modi estremamente diversi. Il lamento, quella cosa che molti liquidano (peraltro ingiustamente) come discorsi da mammolette, per me è divenuto oggetto di ricerca scientifica. Mi sono divertita un sacco a scoprire come noi Italiani, quando ci lamentiamo di qualcosa, usiamo abilmente strumenti linguistici atti a giustificare i nostri piagnistei; come i Russi costruiscano i propri lamenti come dei veri e propri racconti, donando alle proprie lagnanze un valore narrativo unico al mondo; come gli Ebrei siano uno dei popoli più lamentosi. Eccoci qua: quello che sembra banale, trito e ritrito, la figura dell’Ebreo che si lamenta, utilizzata così tanto dal cinema, nei libri, dai cabarettisti, da essere diventata quasi più famosa e conosciuta dell’immagine dell’Ebreo errante. Eppure ha un suo fascino unico, non necessariamente comico. Perché nei lamenti ebraici si mescolano autocompassione, paura, colpa. E, certo, come si fa a non ridere delle varie madri “sioniste castranti” create da Woody Allen o presenti in libri come questo? Fascino e comicità, quasi che nel lamento si trovasse anche un pizzico di autoderisione.Tutti elementi presenti nel lamento di Alexander Portnoy che, raccontando la sua storia al Dottor Spielvogel, si rende perfettamente conto di essere un caso clinico da manuale freudiano. E, infatti, spesso deride il proprio lamento cercando di banalizzare le turbe che caratterizzano soprattutto la sua vita sessuale. Descritta proprio ad inizio libro in questo modo:”Disturbo in cui potenti impulsi etici e altruistici sono in perenne contrasto con una violenta tensione sessuale, spesso di natura perversa […] Tuttavia, né le fantasie né le azioni si traducono in autentica gratificazione sessuale, ma piuttosto in un soverchiante senso di colpa unito a timore di espiazione, soprattutto nella fantasmatica della castrazione.”Castrato dalle mani della madre? Mani che talvolta brandiscono minacciosamente un coltello per costringere il bambino Alex a finire la cena e che, qualche altra volta, gli sorreggono il pisellino, solleticandolo, per insegnargli a fare la pipì in piedi, da uomo adulto? Io non son brava in queste analisi freudiane, quindi vai un po’ ad immaginare cosa ci vedrebbero gli psicanalisti nella psiche di Portnoy, allevato dalle suddette materne ambivalenti mani e da un padre stitico quindi in perenne ed infinita fase anale.Quello che posso dire con certezza è che questo libro è divertente, a volte un po’ ripetitivo, ma pieno di episodi divertenti. Ah, dimenticavo, le turbe sessuali di Portnoy.. quelle sono le protagoniste assolute. Quindi preparatevi ad incontrarne una ad ogni pagina.Se dovessi rintracciare un equivalente cinematografico di questo libro.. be’, i primi due che mi vengono in mente sono Harry a pezzi e l’episodio Edipo relitto (sempre di Allen) in New York Stories. Insomma, se vi piace il libro, vi consiglio anche questi due film. Quindi buona lettura e/o visione!

Jason Pettus

(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)Regular readers will remember that I'm in the middle of a long-term literary project right now, to read all eleven novels making up Philip Roth's autobiographical "Zuckerman cycle" in order to better understand the Postmodernist Era they discuss, from its start (right around Kennedy's assassination) to its end (9/11); but since so many of at least the early novels in the series concern themselves so directly with Roth's first big mainstream hit, 1969's filthy and funny Portnoy's Complaint, I thought it would be instructive to read that as well, to better understand the way that Roth's life changed because of it. For those who don't know, after an early start as a traditional, academic-style Late Modernist writer who was getting published in The New Yorker in the early '60s, this hilarious look at the sexual dysfunctions inherent in the New York Jewish lifestyle, and its inherent clashes against the prevailing "let it all hang out" countercultural mood, was exactly what mainstream America needed at the exact moment they needed it, just like Woody Allen was providing in cinemas at the same time; and so not only was it a hit with the usual intellectual crowd, but it broke through to become a massive general hit, an eventual Hollywood film, and even a tittering codeword among the culture at large, right at the same time that his fellow young New Yorker author John Updike was doing the same thing with his saucy novel Couples (the very first mainstream book to discuss the topic of suburban wife-swapping, after obscenity laws in the US getting relaxed just a few years earlier).And to be fair, this is still a dirty, dirty book, with it easy to understand why merely carrying a copy around back then was enough to signal to anyone else that you could "dig it," which much like Woody Allen takes the image of the nebbish, self-deprecatory Jewish city boy and almost accidentally turns it into a new type of nerdy sex symbol, as we follow poor Portnoy's adventures as first an onanistic teen and then a goy-obsessed young man, flailing about in the high-minded hippie atmosphere around him but still managing to have crazy sex on a regular basis anyway. And it's easy to see why so many older Jews got so upset by this book too; because not only does it lay out a lot of the quiet little dysfunctional moments of the Jewish community to a large Christian audience, a direct predecessor to Seinfeld that I've discussed in more depth in my Zuckerman write-ups, but indeed a lot of its humor derives explicitly from all the neurotic hangups that were created among Roth's generation by all their uptight, obsessed-with-appearances, Holocaust-surviving parents, making it not just a funny sex comedy but an astute look at the first generation of Jews to grow up after World War Two, and the clashes that occurred when they first came of age in the countercultural '60s, which I'm sure made it even more of a must-read among the young hipsters of the time. A great, moving, blush-inducing novel that still holds up really well to this day, read it to understand what was getting your parents all squirmy in the years that they were having you.

Galina

За пореден път се смях, а в следващата секунда вече се колебаех дали не е всъщност адски сериозно онова, което Алекс разказва. Бях готова да преписвам пасажи, но те някак губят колоритността си и своите безумни значения, извадени от контекста. Рот просто трябва да бъде четен бавно и внимателно, дори тогава, когато сякаш ползва изразните средства на кой да е случаен хамалин. Ползва ги, наистина. Циничността му на места прекрачва границата на добрия вкус (моята май е високо :D), но е факт, че не успява да ме ядоса, възмути или отегчи, както са го правили други (Бегбеде с "Почивка в кома" и "Къса памет" на Никола Рейм ми хрумват в момента). Тази книга променя тежестта си с времето - първият път, когато ми попадна, ме трясна експресивността на Рот, при втория прочит бях настроена за семантично дълбаене. А сега дълго й се наслаждавах.Трябва обаче да се огледам за изданието на "Колибри". Срамота е подобен текст да се печата върху подобие на амбалажна хартия. Най-накрая имам собствен екземпляр, а никак не съм доволна от факта.

Dale

Portnoy's Complaint is another one of those books that I feel has always been buzzing around on the periphery of my pop culture consciousness, so since there happened to be a copy lying around the house and I happened to need a new book to read, I picked it up. It was a nice, quick, moderately amusing good read.Alexander Portnoy is neurotic, Jewish, and obsessed with sex. The book, in turn, is a kind of therapy confessional where he meanders back and forth across his young childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, revisiting all the many things that have made him unhappy and the few fleeting things that have brought him joy. It's a fairly short book - my edition was just barely 300 pages in pocket paperback - but even so by the end it does get a little grating because Portnoy is so consistently, insistently miserable. On the other hand, the book has a literal punchline, so it was worth it to get to the last page. Still, along the way there are plenty of truly funny passages that I either related to or at least chuckled at.The reputation of the book, the part that imposed itself on my "yeah I've heard of that somewhere", is the fact that it is pretty frank and explicit in its dealings with sex and sexuality. And it is, and certainly I wouldn't read any passages from it to the vicar if I had him over for tea and cake, but at the same time it's not really what I would consider shocking. But then again I'm fairly hard to shock and the book was published back in the 1960's. Once again I find myself arriving late to the party, reading something that had a different cultural impact in its own time and which now is an interesting historical curiosity. Maybe I should get back to the modern lit section again ...

Mark

I have heard Philip Roth's name bandied about for years, as one of America's literary giants, along with the likes of Saul Bellow, and Norman Mailer. Portnoy's Complaint happened to catch my eye from the bookshelves recently, and I decided to give it a try.I found that many people from my generation had read Portnoy in their younger years, mainly due the prevalence of sex in the book. It does contain the famous (infamous?) passage of young Alex Portnoy, using a piece of liver for a sex toy, and then later sitting down with his family to eat that same piece of liver for dinner. Cultural experts cite this seminal moment in literature as a pre-cursor to the pie scene in the film "American Pie."The premise of Portnoy's Complaint is right in the title; it is a 274 page rant by Alex Portnoy to his psycho-analyst. Portnoy, being Jewish, has much to say about his upbringing, and particularly his mother. He both rejects his Jewish culture, chasing after blond shiksas; and yearns to once again be part of the youth he remembers among his family, in a predominately Jewish neighborhood.I was immediately struck by the quality of Roth's writing in this early work, Portnoy's Complaint being his fourth novel. The voice of Alex Portnoy — which I'm sure is a thinly disguised version of Roth himself — is intense and intelligent, but also misogynistic, and self-centered. He is not a likeable character by any means, but his tale is told with biting humor, and sarcastic wit. It's quite compelling even though I couldn't identify culturally with the character of Alex Portnoy. I did find though that I had to read the book in small doses. A little bit of Alex Portnoy's complaint goes a long way.

Núria

Si tuviera que resumir ‘El mal de Portnoy’ de Philip Roth en cinco palabras estas serían “sexo”, “judaísmo” y “sentimiento de culpa”. El protagonista, Alexander Portnoy, es el perfecto niño judío, estudioso, obediente y dulce, pero aún así todo esto no es suficiente para su dominante madre, para la que una nimiedad como no terminarse toda la comida del plato es una ofensa personal, una tragedia, una prueba irrefutable de que su hijito es un desagradecido que no valora lo mucho que le quiere su madre del alma porque quiere matarse de hambre sólo para darle un disgusto a ella. Y si la madre es sobreprotectora y castradora, el padre es un estreñido, literalmente y figurativamente. El padre es un vendedor de seguros que se mata trabajando y que las pocas horas que pasa en casa las pasa sentado en la taza del váter. El caso es que los dos, padre y madre, forman un muy buen equipo a la hora de dotar a su hijo de un profundo sentimiento de culpa mediante las más variadas y refinadas técnicas pasivo-agresivas. Y es cuando Portnoy empieza a masturbarse (de forma compulsiva) cuando el sentimiento de culpa estalla en todo su esplendor. Portnoy crece y se convierte en un respetable ciudadano que trabaja para el alcalde de Nueva York, pero sus padres siguen tratándole como un niño e intentándolo hacer sentir culpable (con bastante éxito, todo se tiene que decir). Pero tampoco es que Portnoy sea un ser humano digno de compasión; es egocéntrico, narcisista, engreído, misógino, lleno de autocompasión, y se cree infinitamente superior a todos los que le rodean. Han pasado años desde las primeras pajas, pero para Portnoy sexo y sentimiento de culpa siguen íntimamente ligados: todas las experiencias sexuales con las que había fantaseado previamente, una vez se llegan a materializar, no puede disfrutarlas plenamente por culpa del famoso sentimiento de culpa. Por supuesto, sus relaciones con las mujeres no van que digamos sobre ruedas: las mujeres listas le hacen sentir inferior y las que no lo son no puede evitar despreciarlas por las pocas luces que tienen. Y estas son la desgracias del pobre Alexander Portnoy. La novela está escrita en primera persona y finge ser el relato de su vida que Portnoy hace a su psicoanalista. Este truco permite que la historia no siga un orden lineal sino motivado por los recuerdos, pero a la vez también le da frescura, y espontaneidad, y veracidad. El tema de esta novela, que no es otro que las penas que acarrea la masculinidad en el siglo XX, en manos de cualquier otro escritor podría resultarnos algo insufrible, pero el mérito que tiene Roth es que sabe escribir y tiene sentido del humor, y con esto puede hablar las veces que quiera de lo mucho que sufren los hombres, porque es capaz de hacerlo interesante. ‘El mal de Portnoy’ está tan bien escrito que engancha, y además es divertidísimo. Roth es capaz de reírse de sí mismo y esto se agradece. Y otra cosa que se agradece es la sinceridad de la novela. Portnoy nos cuenta sus secretos más vergonzosos, sus fantasías más denigrantes, sus pensamientos más rastreros, sus sentimientos más patéticos. Y es divertidísimo.

MJ Nicholls

The definitive self-hating Jew novel. A searing literary stand-up performance par excellence. Woody Allen meets Bill Hicks. Explains where the famous inbuilt neurosis in New York Jews comes from. A brutal, universal portrayal of family life. The funniest thing I have read in a long long time. Every young man in his twenties tries at some point to write this novel and fails. Wonderful. Not a work of remarkable human insight and depth, but this is Philip Roth: the psychopathology of sleaze, if you please. (And, in case you’d forgotten the author’s surname, Vintage have clearly printed it on the cover in large letters. ROTH. Thanks Vintage!)

Andrew

Portnoy's Complaint has become known as "the sex book" by Philip Roth, and without a doubt it is not a book for those squeamish about frank & honest sexual portrayal. The book features Portnoy, a 30-something Jewish man from Newark, NJ apparently unleashing a 300 page tirade on his shrink as he describes his shortcomings in becoming the expectation of a Jewish man. He still struggles with what he deems juvenile, if not downright animalistic, sexual longings and impulses, yet he maintains a position in the New York mayor's cabinet and is by all exterior signals a very successful, intellectual man. His sexual urges and needs preclude him from being close to a woman beyond sex, though he wishes he could settle into the family-centric existence expected by his parents and his Weequahic neighborhood. Instead of falling in line with these expectations or dreams, however you interpret them, he is drawn to the exact opposite: lusting after shikses and not the "nice jewish girls" his mother desires for him, public masturbation & other sex acts, etc. But it is also obvious that the quiet family (jewish) life is not put on a pedestal either; his family appears as a bunch of raving lunatics bent on invading their son's life and protecting him from any possible harm, from infection to loneliness to infection to disease to injury to infection. His parents are satirized but he still longs for the life laid out for him. It is a complex novel about best-laid plans and the reality of human nature, and the constant conflict between the two.the most interesting part of the book comes near the conclusion, when he dumps his erotic flavor of the week in athens while on vacation and hops a plane to israel in a state of disarray over his condition and life. at first, we think this might be the rehabilitation he needs; he marvels at no longer being a minority, but rather, in a country of jews, run by jews, where even the ice cream man is jewish. however, after he nearly succeeds in raping a socialist jewish woman in his hotel room, we see that he doesn't fit into this class either; he is simply a man who doesn't fit into any category. is this so much different than all of us? our parents create our expectations for us from birth, but in reality these expectations only fit into several categories, while the kaleidoscope of human personality far exceeds these simplistic classifications of what our lives should be.

Nate

There's a lot to get to. Because on the one hand, if you're like me and your formative literary experience was largely shaped by David Foster Wallace--both in big novel experiences and in essay/literary critiques--then, unfortunately you come to Roth after the fact viewing him as one of the Great Male Narcissists. And this book does no favors trying to dissuade you from that perception. Here is a highly educated, motherly-smothered, Jewish, sex-crazed man who's entire ethos is Guilt. In a manner I think back to American Psycho (bear with me). Patrick Bateman's obsessed with pop-culture predilections (video tapes, music), yuppie lifestyle, sex and securing reservations at Dorsia. Except for the fact that all of that is really an understood facade. He doesn't give a shit about all that stuff, he gives a shit about being liked and accepted and his reaction to all that stuff is to go apeshit and torture hookers and stab the homeless. But with Portnoy it's like listening to a guy actually care about all that shallow stuff. Portnoy's very, sincere inner being is a compilation of deviance and repressions, as if that's what's at the center of a person. Granted, it's a framed narrative. And Portnoy's controlling and creating the story and thereby constricting it because he wants to talk about what's wrong with him with himself to his psychoanalyst. Ok, that's fine, but it still leaves the fact that I've got a neurotic mess of a person who's only motivation to act morally is shame-induced action. Granted all he and Bateman both want is to be liked, to be accepted, except, oh yeah, Bateman's a fucking psychopath. I see a lot of reviews from Jewish/Catholic/Protestant readers who identify with the guilt angle. But it all feels, like, so Freudian to me. And I understand the burden that guilt can play, but it's exhausting. It's like Portnoy can only understand his life through this lens of guilt. His motivations and actions are all understood through guilt and it ends up painting him into this shallower two-dimensional existence. And the real kicker to this is I feel bad that I'm coming down on this book so hard (am I ashamed of it? Perhaps Roth was not so wrong in thinking how propellent shame is to the human mind). But the fact remains that I couldn't like it. Not terrible, but definitely closer to one star than three stars.

Caleb

Roth is coming farther into his own voice here, and exploring his ideas, skimmed in other books, in a more, uh, penetrating fashion. Funny, embarassing, but sickeningly relatable. I'd go as far as to say it's a must read in Modern American Literature.

Morgan

This is a relentless barrage of neurotic banter. While occasionally funny, and frequently entertaining, it wore me out. Were it not for the consistent skill of Roth as a writer, I probably couldn't have endured the wave after wave of guilt and self-loathing. The book is tightly stylized with the focus on the general concept of the character, poking in and out of his history through a vomitous stream of consciousness. Portnoy's Complaint is clearly inspired by Mrs. Dalloway. Just take away the obsession with proper flower arrangements and other various party planning and substitute it with endless masturbation then shift the pace to 72 RPMs. The whole thing feels like sitting on a playground merry-go-round that is going a bit too fast -- it is fun for thrills, but after a while you just want to get off and take a break. Yet, I found myself back on it again, even when I should know better.

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