Literature: Portnoy's Complaint
Portnoy's Complaint: A disorder in which strongly felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature...
(1969) is an American novel by Philip Roth. The novel tells the humorous monologue of Alex Portnoy, a sex-obsessed Jewish youth who confesses his often bizarre sexual encounters to his psychotherapist. Though it was originally banned in several countries due to its explicit content, it is now often ranked among the greatest novels of the 20th century, and is one of Roth's most popular books, along with American Pastoral
This novel provides examples of:
- Author Avatar: Roth and Alex Portnoy share a date of birth, a hometown and an ethnic/religious background, so this trope is inescapable.
- Country Matters: One sexually explicit chapter (hell, they all are) is titled "Cunt Crazy."
- A Date with Rosie Palms: An entire chapter, "Whacking Off," is dedicated to Alex's experiences with masturbation. In his teenage years, he masturbated at every opportunity, and lived in fear of being caught.
- Jewish Mother: Combined with Freudian Excuse and probably Oedipus Complex. Alex attributes his sexual disappointments to his overbearing mother.
- Matzo Fever: Alex tells how in his teenage years, he thought that he has to pretend to be Christian to attract Christian girls. Later, he realized that there's no need for it, because there are plenty of Christian women who are attracted to Jewish men just like him.
- Only Known By Her Nickname: The Monkey, most notably.
- Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: Alex is obsessed with sex, and feels guilty about it.
- Shiksa Goddess: Alex's girlfriends — The Monkey, The Pumpkin and The Pilgrim — are this to him.
- The Shrink: Alex is narrating this entire book to his psychotherapist.