Guilt by Association

I’ve been laughing out loud reading Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint. For those who do not know, which up until a few weeks ago included me, the novel is the transcript of a 33 year old in analysis talking about his quintessentially dramatic Jewish parents and his obsession with all things sex including masturbation.

My mom reread it and laughed aloud and thought my dad would enjoy rereading it. I refuse to be the one to recommend the book to him. I would hate for him to enjoy the book, to read the sex scenes, the time Portnoy masturbates in his family’s liver, to hear his description of a three-way with a whore in Italy and think of me, his youngest daughter, and thank me for the laughter that the book brings or the memories that it conjures.

Before I opened the first page, I mentioned the book to my brother in law who is looking for a new novel. Although less so than with my dad, I am still reluctant to pass along my copy. Nonetheless, I probably will with a disclaimer. It is too funny of a story to be kept to myself, or exclusively for the women I know.


One Response to Guilt by Association

  1. I love Portnoy’s Complaint! Especially that 7 page section early on that includes the graphic descriptions of his solo exploits, though I am not sure I would have the stomach to read that again. The visuals have seared themselves on my eyeball–liver, apple and light bulb, I’ll never be the same
    I certainly wouldn’t have the stomach to recommend it to my father. Good judgement on your part for that one.

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