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Endless Love Paperback – April 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews


A moving story of first love when it's so intense you feel it might break. It's everything a novel should be. -- Bob Greene, Chicago Tribune

He finds perfect pitch on the first page and never lets go. -- The Atlantic

From the Back Cover

The classic novel that has been translated into over twenty languages and has sold more than two million copies worldwide

One of the most celebrated novels of its time, Endless Love remains perhaps the most powerful book ever written about young love. Riveting, compulsively readable, and ferociously sexual, Endless Love tells the story of David Axelrod and his overwhelming love for Jade Butterfield.

David and Jade are consumed with each other: their rapport, their desire, their sexuality, take them further than they understand. And when Jade's father banishes David from the home, he fantasizes the forgiveness his rescue of the family will bring, and he sets a "perfectly safe" fire to their house. What unfolds is a nightmare, a dark world in which David's love is a crime and a disease, a world of anonymous phone calls, crazy letters, and new fears—and the inevitable and punishing pursuit of the one thing that remains most real to him: his endless love for Jade and her family.

Published in 1979 and hailed as "one of the best books of the year" by the New York Times, Endless Love is the novel that first established Scott Spencer as "the contemporary American master of the love story" (Publishers Weekly).


Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HarpPeren; 1st Ecco ed edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0880016280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0880016285
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,529,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Scott Spencer was born in Washington, D.C., raised in Chicago, and now lives in upstate New York. He is the author of nine novels, including Endless Love, Waking the Dead, A Ship Made of Paper, and Willing. He has taught at the University of Iowa, Williams College, and Columbia University. His nonfiction has appeared in Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, O, Harper's, and The New York Times.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Privacy, Please on March 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
I first read this book many years ago in the throes of a Brooke Shields obsession. (Brooke played Jade, the female half of the teenage couple, in the 1980s movie version of this novel.) I was really expecting a cheesy teen romance, but this book is not exactly that. The main character, David, is Jade's high school boyfriend and the majority of the book takes place when he and Jade are broken up, so Jade is present through much of the story only as a memory or a fantasy of David's. Therefore, a lot of the romance is taking place in David's mind, and since he's not the most stable of characters, you have to wonder. Throughout the book other people, including Jade's mother, David's high school classmate, and others comment on their impressions of David and Jade's past love affair, thus providing a curious Rashomon-like effect. You have this teen couple who were so much in love they were oblivious to everybody else, yet everybody else was still very much noticing them.

David, to put it bluntly, is an obsessed stalker. Flashbacks tell how, in high school, he fell in love with Jade, the daughter of a permissive, neohippie (nowadays they would be called "new age") family. Jade's family allowed her and David to share a bed, with all that entailed, in the family household - if you grew up in the 60s and 70s you'll realize that this was definitely NOT the norm for high schoolers at that time. Jade's mother is secretly unhappy over being reminded of the passionate young romantic life she no longer has with her husband; Jade's father, who the book suggests is more traditionally disturbed by his little girl's having sex than he wants to let on, eventually bans David from Jade's bed and indeed, the whole house.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Shannon Lupin on July 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
I too thought this book was "my little secret!" How wonderful to hear from others who feel the same way. One of the few books that have truly broken my heart - I felt changed after I read it. My ideas on love, obsession, living, family, and madness - all were altered by Scott Spencers' suberb, unduplicable writing stye. The intensity of his emotional and physical descriptions, coming from the viewpoint of David, leave you breathless and yearing for more. A masterpiece novel - one of my all time favorites, 15 years after first reading it!!
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43 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Klein on October 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Scott Spencer must have been bemused when this novel was embraced as a moving story of first love, but then, why argue with success? As many have noted, however, it is a very unsatisfying love story because the object of David's affection is not on the scene for most of the story. Spencer comes right out and tells you as early as page 39 that our friend David Axlerod cannot even tell the truth about his favorite color much less describe his complex emotional state. David does not know how to tell the truth. Yet, he is our only witness. By the end, his perceptions are so faulty that you really do not know what is going on. In David's final encounter with Jade (wonderfully ironic name), she is terrified. David's explanation for her behavior simply makes no sense. By this time the reader has been given enough clues to know that David is not the innocent lover he pretends to be. The reader has to try to figure out what is really happening from what other people do, (the behavior of the police, for instance) rather than from David's perception of it, because he is insane.

The focus here is not love but the shift in cultural norms that took place in the sixties which left everyone unmoored by any shared value system. David's parents represent what amounted to the serious ethical stance in the fifties, the socialist ideal. Secular humanism was the religion of the educated middle class. David's solipsistic "love" for Jade and her hippy family demonstrates the limitations of an ethos rooted only in human values. These people are not looking for love; they are looking for god. But god, as Time Magazine would soon announce, was dead.

The interesting thing about the book is the way Spencer uses the narrative to show this.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ben T-S on July 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is much more complex than simply a love story--it's a novel swimming in social, political and literary themes that are brilliantly all tied to the very real emotions of a love affair. The way that David and Jade's respective parents represent the polarity of post-war rebellion--Jade's are emotional rebels while Davids are social--make the meaning of the character's love more than insular.
In fact, whether Spencer did it subconsciously or not, I think that the primary purpose of the book is to show how obsessiveness is simply THE way that humans live now. David's constant rubbing against institution masquerading as his friend-- the hippie parole officer, the "progressive" psychiatrist--shows how we are simultaneously bound by the same systems that we like the think we broke free from, but at the same time given a taste of something much more satisfying. A great emotional reality that we find ourselves obsessively pursuing.
This book is much more than a romance novel. The 30-page sex scene in the middle is proof of this. What Harlequin novel would portray the insecurities of the characters as they make love so vividly, would be so frank about their physical limitations and roughness.
This is horrible, beautiful novel, which should be far more revered than it is.
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