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The Psycho Ex Game: A Novel Paperback – July 12, 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this collaborative effort, the authors explore the anxiety of personal interaction versus the safety of e-mailing and the dubious trustworthiness of cyber friendships. With her characteristic sharp-witted angst, former David Letterman writer, humorist and novelist Markoe (It's My F—-ing Birthday) alternates chapters with music veteran Prieboy, who is perhaps less witty, but twice as angsty. Hip 40-somethings Lisa Roberty and Grant Repka are, respectively, a television writer and rock 'n' roller in L.A. After a brief and slightly awkward introduction backstage at his Tommy! (Lee!): The Musical, they begin an e-mail correspondence. At first it's just friendly and benign, but after a while they begin comparing scars acquired on the battlefield of love. Grant shares horrifying stories of his doomed relationship with a heroin addict, while Lisa, unaware that she's writing to Grant and his Pamela Anderson–esque girlfriend Winnie, reveals years of emotional abuse inflicted by her very famous ex, Hollywood A-lister Nick Blake. Markoe's misery is less comical than in her previous novel ("Love relationships seemed to be the place where perfectly nice men went to become nightmarish monsters"), and Lisa seems a derivative of Birthday's unnamed protagonist, with whom she shares a crazy mother and love of sake. Prieboy's prose is darker and more poetic ("Like my mouth was a tiny, festive pink-and-white theater where my monologues died and clown act bombed"), and their styles complement each other nicely. Unfortunately, the concept is more compelling than the finished product, a shame since these two are talented storytellers. This may not appeal to a mainstream audience, but could secure a cult following.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

"If I have learned only one thing in my life, it is that being alone is far preferable to being with someone crazy and out-of-control," says fictional television writer Lisa Roberty in this edgy offering from Emmy-winning writer Markoe. Following the raucous It's My F---ing Birthday (2002), Markoe pairs with veteran rock singer/songwriter Prieboy for a study in two-part disharmony, in which two jaded Angelenos engage in a battle of e-mail one-upmanship to establish who has suffered more in the name of love. The trials and tribulations of writer Roberty and rock star Grant Repka are revealed in alternating "he said/she said" chapters--written by Markoe and Prieboy, respectively--that offer scathing commentary on the liabilities of modern romance. Among the "ex" files: lovers who hurl lobsters in fits of rage and abandon one another on dark, backcountry roads. Amidst remembrances of psychos past, Lisa and Grant discover truths about each other-- and themselves. Could there be love among the ions? Perhaps, but don't expect hearts and flowers from this acid-tongued team. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 417 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; Reprint edition (July 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812969057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812969054
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #752,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I don't know what to say about this book except that I loved it to death, and I hate almost everything. It's as though an angry Jane Austen and a sardonic Flann O'Brien met and decided to write a book together. It's smart. It's funny. It's true.

As for the person who whined about how unrealistic it is that Grant and Lisa started every e-mail with "Dear Grant" and "Dear Lisa"--kiddo, back in the day when manners and literacy still had some shred of a hold on American society, that was how intelligent people began communications with each other. Now that we live in a world where our nation apparently has an official "Skank Laureate" (a position now held by Paris Hilton, though there are any numbers of contenders for the crown), you may be somewhat unfamiliar with the concept.

Fortunately, the writers of this book have manners, literacy, and intelligence in spades. Big gushy virtual fangirl kisses to both of them.
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Format: Hardcover
I love self-deprecating humor as much as the next person, but this book takes it a bit too far. The idea is that the co-authors give their main characters, Lisa Roberty and Grant Repka (thinly disguised versions of the authors, apparently), a chance to make fun of themselves by competing to see who can come off as having been more pathetic in their disastrous former relationships. Though occasionally there are some funny moments and the characters do offer touching insights about their own and their former lovers' motives, more often both characters come off as lonesome whiners who have defined themselves by a failed relationship that should have failed long before it did.
At first the competition is amusing, but it just goes on too long-by the end of the book, you just want them to finish their e-mails and have a real conversation. [...]
P.S. The most annoying thing about this book: Lisa's descriptions of herself drawing faces on recipe cards. This joke was marginally funny the first time, but she repeats it throughout the book to an annoying extent.
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Format: Paperback
The book, writen by two authors, works surprising well. The email exchanges seem quite real. Markoe's dialoge is a bit stilted. But, her internal thoughts work well. Prieboy writes extremely well. YOu completely feel for these characters and their abusive pasts. It is a actually optimistic book and off the beaten path romance. A really great read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At the end of the book I felt disappointed. It seemed to me that everyone, the "psycho exes" and the narrators were all "psycho" in their own ways. Trapped in their neuroses and unable to learn from their mistakes. This is co-dependency illustrated. The narratosr both need to be in a psycho-anon group of their own and letter writing won't cut it. Halfway through I thought they were gaining some insight into their enablement behavior, but by the end I didn't see any progress.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a big fan of Merrill Markoe and her writing, but this left me cold. While I enjoyed reading it, part of the fun was trying to guess who the characters are in real life. Yes, it sent me looking for Wall of Voodoo's back catalog and Markoe's other (nonfoction) writing but the ending left me cold and the characters seemed poorly developed. The quirks (like her artistic endeavors with recipe cards) were what kept me going. Try her earlier nonfiction stuff, it doesn't disappoint.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I read this book immediately after seeing Andy in concert back in October of last year, and I have re-read it several times since then. What a fascinating piece of literature this is. They deserve far more accolades.

First, let me start by saying I thought Merrill Markoe hit the nail right on the head in writing her character, Lisa. I believe this is a must-read, just for the simple way she perfectly captures the anxiety she felt over checking her inbox. I was in tears laughing, because I could relate so well to this. It will take you right back back to those moments of borderline panic when checking for new online developments from your own "Psycho Ex," or limerent object. The tortuously honest look at this now inevitable fixture of internet-era relationship drama is not to be missed.

That said, this book is also a brutally honest look inside the world of pain only known truly by those who have been through an abusive relationship. Grant and Lisa's heart-wrenching stories left me shocked and stunned, yet they are told with such perfectly placed dark humor. Andy Prieboy's eloquent writing is just as much a work of art as his music.

On that subject, this book is great fun for any fan of Andy's, because it is quite entertaining to try and place where Grant and Andy's lives run parallel. I also greatly enjoyed the way he wrote about Grant's musical past, and his work with "Slowly I Turn." Whether or not it is true, I actually spat out my tea all over a certain chapter which describes the background of one of the semi-fictional group's songs. Normally I would be horrified at having stained one of my favourite books, but it almost seems appropriate for this book to have a little bit of dirt on it.
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