Always loved the film and the book is really not far off Descriptions were OTT.
Dark Masterpiece Love the scene with the business cards Both film book.
This book shocked me Though not for any of the reasons I might have expected.
Not shocking fact 1 This book is about a psychopath.
Yes, how very astute of me I hadn t seen the movie before I picked American Psycho up, but most people who know a bit about books know a bit about Patrick Bateman Despite this book not being very old, Bateman has a certain infamy amongst fictional serial killers and psychopaths He is so wholly devoid of morality, completely disconnected from reality and human emotion, and obsessed with things, reeling off designer name after designer name, presenting what could be seen as Ellis criticism of modern society and consumerism.
Not shocking fact 2 This book is extremely graphic and violent.
Well, it is a book about a serial killer I didn t expect flowers and happiness I should warn you if you re the kind of person who gets squeamish easily or are upset by graphically violent and disturbing scenes this isn t the book for you Bateman describes in a detached first person narrative each grisly atrocity he commits He is 100% sociopathic, so unmoved by what he does and so immune to any plea for mercyI imagine her naked, murdered, maggots burrowing, feasting on her stomach, tits blackened by cigarette burns, Libby eating this corpse out, then I clear my throatThis is just the stuff I feel okay including without spoiler tags.
Not shocking fact 3 Patrick Bateman is a misogynistic piece of crap.
But I don t think that necessarily means the book or the author is Or maybe yeah, Bret Easton Ellis could be a raging misogynist, but that s really not the point I took from the book Bateman most definitely harbors no feelings or sympathy towards women, he deconstructs the women he meets, piece by piece, until they re reduced to just a sum of boobs, ass and vagina His psychopathic nature is not limited to women, but his absolute and unending disdain for the female sex is apparent from the very beginning Though, he s a psychopath so I m not sure what some people were expecting.
The misogyny debate about this book greatly interests me If there is one thing probably above everything else that I can t stand in books, it must be the positive depiction of sexism, slut shaming and or abusive relationships But I ve never thought that just showing the existence of something as part of a story equates to endorsing it I suppose American Psycho might promote misogyny in the same way that any violent art might promote violence And I always remember a conversation I had with this guy way back in high school We all had to read weekly news stories every Friday morning in our form rooms and one week there was this piece about cheat dating sites As in, sites that encouraged married people to have affairs with others looking for affairs I remember being pretty horrified and saying to this guy I really don t think that should even be allowed, it just encourages people to cheat And he shrugged and said The way I see it, if you re the kind of person who s going to stumble across that site and think woah, what a great idea , there probably wasn t much hope for you anyway And, you know, I think he was right.
The 1 most shocking fact about this book It was soooo boring.
Yeah I wasn t shocked by the violence, the psychopath, the graphic language, or the misogyny But it never once occurred to me that a book which promised so much horror could have me wanting to skim read with boredom.
The fact is, I found being inside Bateman s emotionally detached mind really repetitive and dull after a while It was impossible to form any kind of emotional connection with him and, because of the first person narration, it was also impossible to form much of an emotional connection with anything or anyone else in the novel Secondly, the really gritty stuff doesn t happen until the second half of the book the first half is filled with Bateman s constant descriptions of designer clothes, his misogyny filled rants with his almost equally repulsive friends, and his completely unerotic porn fuelled masturbation sessions By the time things got nasty, I was already losing interest.
Boredom way than the graphically violent and disturbing is unforgivable to me.
Blog Leafmarks Facebook Twitter Instagram Tumblr Patrick Bateman Is Twenty Six And He Works On Wall Street, He Is Handsome, Sophisticated, Charming And Intelligent He Is Also A Psychopath Taking Us To Head On Collision With America S Greatest Dream And Its Worst Nightmare American Psycho Is Bleak, Bitter, Black Comedy About A World We All Recognise But Do Not Wish To Confront another update incorporating comments about BEE s latest novel apparently he s still at it Before we start a quote by Norman Mailer about Bret Easton Ellis How one wishes this writer was without talent People think the pages and pages of descriptions of hacking and chopping up women are ironic Well, in one sense they are, but in another sense they aren t People who like this book should ask themselves why they want to read pages and pages of descriptions of hacking and chopping up women with the occasional man thrown in, but all the lavish descriptions with rats and nail guns and so on are just for the ladies I don t think people can tell what s misogynistic and what isn t any Here s a real life anecdote A couple of years ago I went into Waterstones in downtown Nottingham, and mooched around In this shop probably others too the staff had put various books on display with their own handwritten enthusiastic recommendations underneath Well, that was nice, I liked reading them, until I came to the handwritten card under American Psycho It said something along the lines of after a night of getting knocked back by various women in Nottingham hostelries, what better than to pick up Bret Easton Ellis s 80s classic and get some of my own back Wow That was a little like a guy working for Waterstone s recommending Commandant of Auschwitz by Rudolph Hoess, with the comment After a day of having to deal with members of the Jewish community, what better than to sink into an armchair with this book, and get some of my own back Believe it or not, my GR friends, I actually wrote a protest email to the manager, who wrote back with an apology and said he d removed the tasteless comments You know, this book reveals how much of a different planet some people are on than the one I m on It s not a good feeling.
UPDATE FROM THE PAGES OF YESTERDAY S SUNDAY TIMESthere s this review of Imperial Bedrooms which is BEE s latest novel The reviewer is Theo Tait, I never head of him and it isn t an anagram of Paul Bryant, and I am not Theo Tait, let s get that clear So imagine how the following remarks warmed the cockles of my heart At 400 pages, American Psycho is probably unfinishable except by adolescents and sociopaths Imperial Bedrooms descends into a phantasmagoria involving torture, online snuff videos and the appalling abuse of prostitutes and rent boys Ellis claims to be a moralist, by which I guess he means that it is the emptiness of the modern world that causes his characters to behave in a spectacularly louche and or homicidal fashion But as with many satirists, it is unclear whether he is criticising the horrors he depicts, or simply wallowing in them Either way, Ellis s determination to rub the reader s face in the gore carriessome heavy costs Many people have no strong desire to read sustained passages of pornographic and misogynistic violence, in which, for instance, masked men urinate on a bound actress other examples omitted these sequences also chip away at the novel s realistic texture and leave you wondering if Imperial Bedrooms has any meaning beyond that of the average slasher film.
American Psycho is an energetic display of brutal writing It s without a doubt the most gruesome thing I ve read It s horrifying and truly shocking at times I had to put the book down on several occasions whilst I recovered from the graphic nature of some of it So, a word of warning, if you don t like blood don t even bother picking this one up It s full of mutilations and brutal murder But the violence was so completely necessary in all its terribleness because it captures something very disturbing about the world A question, if you will how many people truly know you I m not talking about the you that everybody sees, but the real you Not many, I m sure We only ever truly know ourselves because we are the only one who has access to our thoughts and hidden desires Bateman knows this and he uses it to his advantagethere is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable I simply am not there Nobody knows him He appears to be a conformist, blending comfortably into society and all its stupid materialistic aspirations He is very well aware of the problems society faces His speech at the start of the book is a convincing argument, though none of his friends sat around the dinner table are willing to listen to him and address a real problem They are too materialistic and self absorbed to consider anything beyond their own lives They simply carry on with their conversation as if he never spoke thus, he continues on with his own destructive behaviour and slowly becomes and trapped, repressed and angry I think he was, however, only ever probing them for a response to know how much he can get away with The book is a heavy critique on consumerism and the ridiculous nature of it Everybody is obsessed with the latest brands and most expensive products The homeless are always remarked on as Bateman walks past them wearing his ridiculously expensive clothing There are endless descriptions of goods and products The use of such a device in the narrative was a perfect way to expose how out of touch society is It doesn t see what s in front of it, which allows the real Bateman to explore his darkest and most evil of fantasies unnoticed as he enacts the charade that is his life It s an immensely clever book and though the narrative does become dry and repetitive, it was totally necessary to show the mind of a psychopath and his fixationsAll it comes down to is this I feel like shit but look great That being said though, I found myself struggling to read it It wasn t the violence or the nastiness of the protagonist that put me off, although that was truly disturbing, it was the pessimism that ran through the book There is no hope in sight Ellis shows us a dark part of reality, and it left me feeling rather depressed This isn t a criticism of the writing, for it is a fantastic creation, it s just a summary of my feelings, such as they are Afterwards, I found myself craving something light and fluffy, something that would lift my spirits and restore some of my faith in humanity It s an intense book and it could leave you feeling rather shit It affected me quite strongly, which bespeaks the power of this narrative read it if you dare.
THIS IS FULL OF SPOILERS FULL TO THE BRIM THESE ARE SOME MUSINGS THAT IN NO WAY RESEMBLE A BOOK REVIEW YOU CAN read IT, BUT I AM TELLING YOU STRAIGHT UP THERE WILL BE SPOILERS actually, it s not that bad.
paul bryant recently reviewed revised his review of this book hi, paul bryant and i read it and the dozens of intelligent remarks his negative review sparked,both pro and anti this book, and there isn t anything i can add to the discussion that hasn t already been said by people far wiser than little old me, but because the review made me think about this book, i decided to add my two cents and that s all it is just some thoughts about a book i haven t read in years, but remember really liking and feel, for some reason, compelled to defend the assertions that this book is misogynistic demand a response patrick batelman kills women he also kills men and animals if he could kill a robot, i guarantee you he would give it a try is there something i am not understanding here he s a serial killer misogyny is really the least of his character flaws and even if he is misogynistic, it is the character that is misogynistic, not the book, which does not portray him as a hero of any kind.
and even the people who are not killing other people are pretty shitty bret easton ellis and neil labute should probably never hang out, because it would be a real downer.
the fact that this novel is written in first person means that everything is happening through a sociopathic filter it is only one character s perspective, and things are going to necessarily be dark dark dark because of this did i mention he is a serial killer and not a cuddly one like dexter, either.
and if you tally it all up, he kills the exact same number of men as women, but some of the women get extravagant murders is this what makes it misogynistic, or is this simply a standard of the genre in the eighties, when i was a little girl, i would wander through the video section of this department store while my mom paid for stuff and the horror section was the one that always drew me over to get my little frisson of creepiness and back in the 80 s, before movies became a little subtle, every single vhs box featured a girl in a bikini covered in blood or a men s dress shirt without trousers, screaming this is just how the horror genre rolls women, girls,are portrayed as vulnerable targets for the killer i m not saying it s the healthiest of all genres, for the socializing of our people, but that s just the way it is, baby and the genre has certainly become sophisticated, even in the slasher subsection of horror, but at the time, these were horror s rules.
and i know i know the rat scene when i first read this book, that scene made me have to take a little break , put the book down, and stare at something safe since then, i have read much much worse in books, but at the time, it really affected me and how awesome is that from a book from a reader s perspective, it is amazing that a book was able to give me such a visceral reaction.
from a writer s perspective honestly at that point in the narrative, it was the only thing he could do to show bateman s escalation i hate to say nothing else would do , but at that point, the desensitization has taken root pretty deep in the reader, and the only way to increase the tension is something unprecedented and monstrous.
and i totally agree with p.
b s reaction to seeing the bookseller s placard regarding the book but just because it appeals to men who probably already have these feelings towards women, does that make the book to blame and really, aren t there just as many damaged women who buy into this shit tucker max is, i think, as dangerous to women as bateman but there are tons of women throwing themselves at him if there weren t women in this world with no problem being exploited, there would be no girls gone wild i m not saying that world wouldn t maybe be better, but it s not the world we have.
it is so easy to have a knee jerk reaction to this book, it is, but it isn t even the most disturbing book on the block joyce carol oates has a book called zombie, and there is of course cows, which caris has just endured, the one boris vian book i read was pretty rough it s not a new story, but i like the way ellis tells it the best.
and it is than 50 pages of chopping girls up it is about the way he chops them up at first, you are on board, because it is a book, and you knew what you were getting into, reading a book called American Psycho you bought it you thought it would be entertaining did you well, how do you like this still here okay, now i am going to throw this at you still retaining your readerly disconnect what about this yeah it s the rat scene still with us yeah, i didn t think so writer wins.
it is the same experiment as the movie funny games i have seen the original and the american and was bored by both of them this is because i am able to compartmentalize my emotions when i read and when i watch movies the message of those films, yeah i totally understand and i admire them for being made but lord are they ever boring to watch but the same thing there for people who were traumatized by funny games you know what it was about when you went to see it if you were appalled by how it felt to basically watch a snuff film, maybe you should have gone to see something else the best moment in this book is the abrupt switch from first to third person i love this nick cave does it and better in and the ass saw the angel, and i love the dizzying effect it has on the reader the moment where you have to stop and say, oh, yeah, this motherfucker is crazy i don t think bret easton ellis is a great writer, but i think with this one, he accidentally wrote a great book.
or at least effective can i call it effective any book that can cause such polarized reactions from readers is wonderful in my eyes.
that was probably than two cents, but i am feeling pretty flush today This book is TRUE I live on an island of bankers, investment brokers and trust company lawyers and all of them are drunken, mad psychopaths with Jack Nicholson laughs and a propensity for getting into a lot of trouble at weekends.
They drink and they snort and they screw and they sail and they make loads of money and every now and again some of them disappear never to be heard of again The women, the secretaries and admin staff come out from the UK husband hunting but quickly find they are the rare prey of these mad psycho partiers and they too tend to disappear.
Deported or murdered YOU decide view spoiler The investment bankers from the Swiss VP Bank were by far the worst Going drinking with them usually ended up with some of the guys diving naked off the side of someone s yacht and then screaming they ve lost their Rolexes view spoiler Several local divers made quite a good living diving close to the party boats and recovering watches, wallets and rings on Monday mornings If they knew who owned the property, they d get a reward, if they didn t they sold it hide spoiler there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable I simply am not there.
It is hard for me to make sense on any given level Myself is fabricated, an aberration I am a noncontingent human being My personality is sketchy and unformed, my heartlessness goes deep and is persistent My conscience, my pity, my hopes disappeared a long time ago probably at Harvard if they ever did exist There are no barriers to cross All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it I have now surpassed I still, though, hold onto one single bleak truth no one is safe, nothing is redeemed Yet I am blameless Each model of human behavior must be assumed to have some validity Is evil something you are Or is it something you do I let Keeten finish putting in that quote before I popped him in the head with his own tire thumper Oblivious fucking bastard, so caught up in words that he didn t even hear the soft tread of the boogeyman You want to talk to him Well, fuck you You ve got me Anyway, he s a little tied up right now Hardy har har har If you are worried about him, you should be For now, I feel under control I washed down a handful of Valium with a couple of JBs to create a euphoria of calm before I popped the lock on his sliding glass door I m looking at this bum Is this how normal people dress He s wearing black Timberland boots, faded Land s End jeans, a crimson red Out of Print T shirt of the Odyssey, and a purple, wrinkled Territory Ahead button down shirt Homeless people in New York dress with better class than this guy Fashion is everything, well, and great hair products Here s an example of a guy who knows how to dress I must confess I killed him I mean, just having great taste in clothing is never going to be enough to save anyonefrommePaul Owen walks in wearing a cashmere one button sports jacket, tropical wool flannel slacks, a button down tab collared shirt by Ronaldus Shamask, but it s really the tie blue and black and red and yellow bold strips from Andrew Fezz by Zanzarra that impresses me Or how about this fine description of a hardbody who has a fine eye for great clothes You have to love those sculpted bodies of these rich bitches, who have all the time in the world to turn their figures into works of artShe s wearing a red, purple and black hand knitted mohair and wool sweater from Koos Van Den Akker Couture and slacks from Anne Klein, with suede open toe pumps For this visitation to the land of cows, I still dressed nice, even though I m running the risk of getting blood on some very, very fine clothI m wearing a six button double breasted chalk striped wool suit and a patterned silk tie, both by Louis, Boston, and a cotton oxford cloth shirt by Luciano Barbera I smell good, too I just checked in the mirror, and my hair looks fucking amazing I should buy this guy a nice suit I ll put it on my platinum American Express card The rubes will pogo stick around the store when I bring that out of my Jesus, he needs a real haircut, too I ask him, jokingly, if he cuts his own hair He nods his head Unfuckingbelievable So why am I here in Kansas, you might ask I m choosing to make that a bigger question because I m holding the tire thumper Haha Well my friends, I am drawn this way I come out of the sickest depths of Bret Easton Ellis s demented mind In other words, I m created in the image of God Who am I Who am I I m you We are marginally different, but the rage that is in me is in you Maybe you haven t tapped into it yet, but you may when you least expect it I do understand that we may see different things in clouds, for instanceWhen we look up at the clouds she sees an island, a puppy dog, Alaska, a tulip I see, but don t tell her, a Gucci money clip, an ax, a woman cut in two, a large puffy white puddle of blood that spreads across the sky, dripping over the city, onto Manhattan I understand I m a bit depraved than you are, but I m wealthy I m incredibly handsome I m a fashion intelligencia I m way smarter than you I have a larger responsibility to approach the world with a greater degree of honesty This is no time for the innocent Everyone deserves to die, especially this moron reviewer who thought he was going to write a fucking review of my fucking book today WRONG Look at this passage he noted If she likes me only for my muscles, the heft of my cock, then she s a shallow bitch But a physically superior, near perfect looking shallow bitch, and that can override anything I don t like him making notes about Courtney I rip aside the duct tape on his mouth, which had to fucking hurt, and asked him, WTF I was going to make a point about you complaining about the shallowness of what Courtney liked best about you, but you are a hypocrite because what you like about her is just as shallow as what she likes about you Plus, you would need depth for her to appreciate something else about you Can you believe that I m writing it just like he said it then I bash him with the club a couple of times I think I heard something snap Fuck I m really trying not to lose control here I have to put the tape back on his mouth because he is hollering with too much volume Whimpering is fine, even encouraged, but there is no sound proofing on the walls, so we can t be screaming I really much prefer the way women scream The tenor of their voices trips the light fantastic in my head How many people have I killed Well, too many to count It is amazing what you can get away with when you have as much money as I do and look like I do People are begging to spend time with me It seems to me like they are really begging to be dismembered, burned with acid, eviscerated.
We do have a few things that we need to get straight, and then I need to head back to New York I ve got some video tapes that need to be returned, and the late fees are fucking outrageous Huey Lewis and the News is the greatest American rock bandever Indisputable I notice that Keeten has the greatest hits, which earns him a painful bash to the knee You have to buy the complete albums The rest of their songs are as important and fantastic as their hits Second, Donald J Trump is a genius I admire him than anyone else on the planet It takes a psycho to recognize a psycho As far as I know, he is keeping it together, but I feel a kinship with him, a calling in the blood Haha did he ever pull the Art of the Deal on all of you.
Okay, so you see that I am fair I let Keeten participate in the writing of this review, but I just couldn t let him do it alone I was sitting in my apartment, gazing with fascination at my favorite vagina, the one with the Hermes blue ribbon tied around it, and thinking, I m not going to let this hayseed from Kansas write a review about me.
I m thinking about taking one of his fingers to nibble on during the flight back, so maybe I can get to New York without murdering anyone You d give up a finger if it meant saving some other poor innocent life, wouldn t you Keeten So you think you want to read this book HA Ellis, the sick bastard, did not spare the grotesque descriptions of my activities In fact, I read the damn book, and even I was starting to yawn a bit through all the blood and mayhem I think he made his point about what kind of depraved monster, a true creature of God, I am WAY before he quit relating yet another senseless death And yes, I know they are senseless because not one of my victims has quelled the beast Blood only begets blood Don t hate me I m just a product of the entitlement system I appreciate it that you all let me be me Your ability to live with letting my madness run rampant means you are actually insane than I am Something for all of you to keep in mindPatrick Bateman is still out here Yes, I m alive and frankly very fit looking The tanning bed is a wonderful investment I bought the same one as Donald If you have a hardbody, come to New York Look me up I ll take you out on the town and show you something you ve never seen before.
I see from the notes here on the desk that Keeten is going to call this a Masterpiece He isn t looking so sure any He s a bit gray, and some blood has trickled out from beneath the duct tape I used the tape from his garage It obviously isn t as good as the brand I normally like to use Sigh If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at
UnholyShite This may be the only book I ve rated 5 stars that I have NO intention of EVER reading again Ever After finishing this, I was forced to wait until my brain had cooled down and re congealed before I could cogitate sufficiently to put my experience with this novel into words And yet, even after almost 36 hours have ticked by, the only word that keeps bubbling up to the surface of my consciousness isWOWin both the good and not so good vareity At first, I d thought about trying to do a tongue inside the cheek review by imitating the narrator and describing what designers I was wearing while typing this review and what brand of shampoo and shaving cream I used this morning However, the I thought about, the I realized I wanted to play this one straight given the profound effect the book had on me Therefore, you get mostly serious Stephen today On the one hand, this novel is a visceral, disturbingly dark portrait of the 1980 s as a emotionally vacuous, disconnected and superficial bastion of consumerism in which the people living through it became and detached from society and less and less able to emote for anyone beyond themselves In essence, the book deals extensively and brilliantly with a loss of empathy The protagonist, Patrick Bateman, is the personification of the darkest extreme of this lack of empathy He is, by definition, a psychopath which has as one of its primary characteristics, the inability to feel guilt, remorse or empathy towards another person Patrick is outwardly charming and good mannered with all the outward indicia of normality Insidethere is NOTHING I found the beginning of the book to be very funny in a dark, satirical way Almost every sentence out of Patrick s mouth included a description of a specific product brand or status symbol He didn t just reach into his wallet and pay the cabbie, He opens up his Ermenegildo Zegna suit coat, pulls out his Tumi calf skin wallet while seeing in the corner of his eye the Fratelli Rossetti wingtips that his friend has on and pulls out cab fare before putting the wallet back in his new black leather attache by Bottega Veneta As the narrative goes on, you realize that we are seeing the world through Patrick s distorted lens and this focus on brands is simply a result of Patrick s twisted world view.
In addition to having some serious fun with the out of control consumerism of the 80 s, Ellis slowly begins to reveal to us the fact that Patrick and I might add all of the people he associates with have no empathy or compassion for anyone but themselves Upon arriving at a very high end restaurant where Patrick and his friends will spend an exorbitant amount of money and barely eat any of their food , Patrick casually narrates for us Outside Pastels Tim grabbed the napkin with Van Patten s final version of his carefully phrased question for GQ on it and tossed it as a bum huddling outside the restaurant feebly holding up a sloppy cardboard sign I AM HUNGRY AND HOMELESS PLEASE HELP ME.
No further comment is made about the scene and it is only after many similar occurrences that you begin to get the picture that is being portrayed I thought that the first half of the book was nothing short of BRILLIANT as an indictment of the period However, that is not where the book ends and it s the second half of the book that, while equally well written, was arguably the most disturbing writing I ve ever read As the book progresses, Patrick s nighttime activities become and bizarre, sadistic and just plain brutal Now, I ve read a lot of horror and seen my share of movie gore and while I don t enjoy slasher movies or torture porn novels I certainly have been able to deal with some very brutal images and scenes in the context of a what I read and watch Well, the images and descriptions of Patrick s murders unsettled me as much as anything I have ever experienced It was not just the graphic, detailed AND PROLONGED scenes of rape, murder and torture not always in that order It was inner monologue of Patrick totally devoid of empathy for his victims that will probably stay with me for the rest of my life I had read reviews that the murder scenes were graphic and I was like thanks for the warning but I should be okay Well I want to say again BE WARNED, it is about as disturbing as you can imagine I wanted to make sure I said that because, despite my cautions above, this is a book I will recommend provided people understand the level of gut wrenching depictions in the novel It s not a book to read for pleasure and it is not a book I believe I will ever open again However, I do believe that this is an IMPORTANT work and will be remembered as one of the seminal novels written about the 1980 s It shines a harsh and brutal light if exaggerated for effect on a way of life and a mind set that has become, over time, all too familiar.
0 stars HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATIONthough I m likely never touching it again.
I actually read this book a few years ago, but I stumbled across the Goodreads reviews of it, and felt I needed to add my voice, because it is such a difficult piece of lit in a lot of ways,and honestly, it probably is deserving of a thesis paper than of a measly little review on Goodreads American Psycho is a brilliant book Genius It will no doubt deservingly be remembered as Bret Easton Ellis s masterpiece, his tour de force of sadist misanthropy.
I effing HATED it American Psycho is a brutal satire of the American upper middle class, set amongst the yuppies of New York during the boom era of the 1980 s Patrick Bateman is the main character and narrator, a bland upwardly mobile business man whose personality is a terrifyingly blank slate He defines himself solely by the products he uses, the clothes he wears, the places he is seen eating or partying He is also a murderer In the course of the book, he murders a homeless man, a colleague, and numerous prostitutes, all with less emotion than he bestows upon his hair gel.
Ellis slyly balances the relative passion with which Bateman might discuss Huey Lewis in one chapter with a dispassionate yet detailed and horrific play by play of rape and dismemberment in the next.
The banality and sly humor Bateman s analysis of Whitney Huston is both disturbingly off kilter and hilarious of the early non violent passages of the book make the murders all the jarring to the senses when they start coming thick and fast at the end, and black humor gives way to an out and out brutality the likes of which have not been touched in any other book I ve ever read.
At first glance, it seems as though it is the juxtaposition of the banal and the brutal that make American Psycho shocking In fact, however, what wrenches the gut is the sameness of detail and emotion with which both torture and nouvelle cuisine are treated Ellis s muse is at once a monster and a metaphor, not just for the Reagan era, but for the potential darkness of post modernity in toto He is a camera His world is reduced to an inventory of details, equally weighted a chair, a suit, an arm, a head.
Reading American Psycho is a much less enjoyable experience than you might think, based on its titillating reviews or even Guinevere Turner s smart film adaptation which was my original impetus for reading the book The book is many times darker, nastier, uglier, grosser, crueler than I was prepared for, and I am a pretty die hard fan of horror and true crime lit Like many other women who read this book, I found myself getting faint and queasy, and ended up hurling it across the room in disgust I couldn t make it to the end As a female and a feminist, I found the book problematic Of course, the character of Bateman is supposed to be vile, but his misogyny is so pronounced that I find it hard to simply glom it on with the rest of his misanthropic tics Sure, he kills his a hole co worker, and a few other dudes here and there, but mostly, he kills women And unlike the asexual murder of his colleague, these womens deaths are hyper sexualized They are all committed post coitally, they are almost all prostitutes While I don t think that Bret Easton Ellis is unaware of the misogynist content of A.
, I nevertheless find it disturbing because of the narrator s lack of analysis, and because of a dearth of the clever commentary Ellis sneaks in during so many other moments in the novel It is heady territory, just waiting to be mined by some iron willed feminist scholar with the eggs for it, but I am not that woman, and if you don t think you re that woman either, then I would STRONGLY advise avoiding American Psycho.
Putting it bluntly the scenes of women being raped, beaten, tortured and killed in this book are numerous, long, detailed, and presented with an absolute lack of empathy For myself, this book made me feel as though I had been sexually assaulted And while I appreciate the genius of such a book, that doesn t mean I have to like it.