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Endless Love: A Novel Paperback – August 10, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (August 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061926000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061926006
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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, family, relationships,and madness - all were altered by Scott Spencers' suberb, unduplicable writing stye. His prose is superb in a multi-faceted manner. He creates vivid, realistic characters combined with stunning figurative language. 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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Format: Paperback
In any other novel, it would be the climax: a young man of seventeen, banned from his girlfriend's home and presence for thirty days by order of her father, sets her house on fire, hoping perhaps to make himself her family's hero, but above all determined to get their attention. That's not to say I was altogether surprised to find it happening in the first chapter of Scott Spencer's "Endless Love." After all, it's a rather common technique for an author to open a novel with a striking, dramatic event, then spend most of the rest of the novel exploring how the event came to pass. Having sentenced his young arsonist to at least a year in a private psychiatric facility, Spencer's obvious next move would be to tell us how David and Jade met, invite us to listen in to their first awkward conversations, share their first fumbling intimacies. But there's nothing obvious about this novel. The definitive and defiant act of obsession that seals David's destiny forever to that of his victims isn't the climax of this novel. It's just the beginning.

That's not to say that we never get a sense of the young lovers' early consuming passion. We do; it's just not the story Spencer has set out to tell. (I haven't seen either of the movies adapted from this novel; in fact, it seems I finished the novel just a few days too late to catch the latest adaptation at the local theater. From what I've been able to gather online, however, both adaptations focus on the part of the story Spencer leaves us to piece together from his characters' conversations and letters and memories, which leaves me unsurprised at the bad reviews both movies got: it would seem that the screenwriters missed the point completely.) Despite the title, this isn't a love story.
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Format: Paperback
That's a question that many reviewers have raised - did the author Scott Spencer intend for the title to be ironic? While Franco Zeffirelli basically made a film about young love with dark overtones, and the 2014 remake differed so wildly from the source material (save for a few plot points), this book is in fact more about obsession and mental illness. The 1981 movie (starring Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt) retains at least some of the novel's hints about out of control fixation, but it more or less was shown to be a mutual love story. With Spencer's novel, you're not quite sure for the first half, the reason being that David Axelrod is the main character, and at some point we realize that he is an unreliable narrator. This is a young man who latched himself onto the seemingly non-conformist Butterfield family, since his own home life is stifling and rigid, his parents being communists. But even that is not quite what it seems. David, you see, is so mentally disturbed that he exaggerates or just outright lies about virtually everything that doesn't fit into his fantasy world.

Much of the novel and of his "relationship" with Jade Butterfield is told in flashback and as a result she's never really a fully developed character; we're never quite sure how she felt about David at times, although it's safe to say at one point she may have returned his affection, and may always care for him, it's clear that it was never as intense for her as it was for David. Yet, he still clings to hope that they will be together again, even after it's obvious that Jade has moved on.
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