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American Psycho

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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.

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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.

30 review for American Psycho

  1. 5 out of 5

    brian

    jason, an old high school buddy, knew i was in manhattan for a few nights and asked to meet up for dinner. fuck it, i'm a sentimental guy, and it's nice to catch up -- even with a wall street douchebag. jason told me that lisa, another old friend, would be joining. here's the conversational breakdown at dinner: 20 minutes: comparing features on their new blackberries. 40 minutes: the new zagat guide and the city's best restaurants. 20 minutes: glib commentary on people we grew up with. lisa leave jason, an old high school buddy, knew i was in manhattan for a few nights and asked to meet up for dinner. fuck it, i'm a sentimental guy, and it's nice to catch up -- even with a wall street douchebag. jason told me that lisa, another old friend, would be joining. here's the conversational breakdown at dinner: 20 minutes: comparing features on their new blackberries. 40 minutes: the new zagat guide and the city's best restaurants. 20 minutes: glib commentary on people we grew up with. lisa leaves and jason asks me to walk a few blocks and check out his new apartment "fucking sick pad, bro, sick" -- unable to deal with any more of this shit without backup, i text the address to bryan and john; they meet up and we sit in jason's super large, super minimalist, picture-window-overlooking-the-city apartment shooting the shit and drinking johnnie walker blue label. jason is quickly bored and calls over two hookers. he hits the bedroom with the cuter of the two; me john and bryan sit at the living room table and drink blue label with the other one. five minutes passes and we hear this from jason's bedroom: jason (screams): 'get off! get the fuck off!' we're all wondering what it is, exactly, she is on that he wants her off of. and if we should go in there and see if everything's ok. and then again: jason: 'get the fuck off!' hooker: 'shut up!' the door busts open and the hooker storms out with a very angry jason behind her ranting that she took a phone call while giving him head and carried on a conversation while licking his balls. so it's a moment of hilarious revelation when we realize that what jason wanted her to get off of, of course, was her phone. phone girl looks to blue label girl: 'you ready to go?' blue label girl: 'you get paid?' phone girl nods. jason (angry): 'you're not going anywhere! i fucking paid for two girls! all we got was a half!' the girls pause and give us the once over, i imagine, to gauge if we're the kinda guys to get violent or to let 'em just walk out with jason's money. they're professionals and know their shit. they walk out. jason lamely chides us for not getting his back. me bryan and john go down to von for a beer. i recently re-read american psycho only a few weeks after returning from jason's (second) wedding in a vineyard in napa. they wouldn't allow any alcohol other than their own wine to be drunk, so everyone compensated with dimebags and eightballs. and i spent hours talking to all these coked-out shitbags (and, yeah, i guess i was a coked-out shitbag, but in an entirely different non-patrick-batemanesque way) -- here's the wedding conversational breakdown: - new gadgets (iphones, stereos, flatscreens, cars) - we are at the top of the system because we are the smartest and most shrewd and if obama is going to regulate us and put more money in the hands of the poor, we will be forced to prey on the poor… good job obama, you just fucked the poor in a way bush never could have. - is jay-z the 'new sinatra'? - vacation spots. (st. barts, maui, etc) - can we get more coke? - you know how much money greg has? fucking sick, bro. you know he took a fucking private helicopter here, right? - jason's stepsister is kinda hot. you think i can fuck her? easton ellis's book isn't really much of an exaggeration. what it is: controlled, hilarious, horrible, tragic, honest. and he employs some great little warholian tricks (whereas andy lined up pictures of mao, marilyn, & minestrone, easton ellis clobbers us with a quick repetition of interwoven, passive-voiced, flattened-out sentences about daytime television, anal rape, and fashion tips) to accent his truly mad book. but the big question: is american psycho a book that hates women? i guess. I mean, it's about and for a culture that hates women, no? now, i don't really wanna defend the book against these charges; more fun to wonder what those who view american psycho as woman-hating or anti-feminist make of the dozens (hundreds?) of panty-sniffing television shows, movies, graphic novels, books, and video games that blanket pop culture? consider, as a mild example, Law & Order: SVU. here we have a show in which every episode is about an underage girl raped. or a coma victim raped. or an old woman raped. written, shot, and ingested as titillating panty-sniffing nonsense. less offensive because it takes itself so seriously? because one of the cops is a woman? or because it's able to take a preposterous and unrealistic moral standpoint in 'punishing' the crime/criminal by having them jailed or killed? or, in those rare occasions when the rapist isn't caught, we're given a profound & poignant & important commentary on violence and crime and the justiceblahfuckingblah. or do CSI, SVU, COLD CASE, etc. get a pass because they're low art, light entertainment, 'not taken seriously'...? the shit's backwards, yo. to be totally honest, i have a hard time seeing how one views (as so many do) american psycho as 'woman hating' or 'anti-woman' or 'anti-feminist' -- i suspect that easton ellis is so good at what he does, his depiction of violence so visceral, excessive, and demented that it literally pushes people to a point in which they must either reduce the book to a 'commentary on society and consumerism and capitalism' (ugh) or to the point at which the excess drowns out any point easton ellis imagines he's making. and then there's a complaint best made by David Foster Wallace: "I think it's a kind of black cynicism about today's world that Ellis and certain others depend on for their readership. Look, if the contemporary condition is hopelessly shitty, insipid, materialistic, emotionally retarded, sadomasochistic, and stupid, then I (or any writer) can get away with slapping together stories with characters who are stupid, vapid, emotionally retarded, which is easy, because these sorts of characters require no development. With descriptions that are simply lists of brand-name consumer products. Where stupid people say insipid stuff to each other. If what's always distinguished bad writing -- flat characters, a narrative world that's cliched and not recognizably human, etc. -- is also a description of today's world, then bad writing becomes an ingenious mimesis of a bad world. If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything. Look man, we'd probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it'd find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it. You can defend "Psycho" as being a sort of performative digest of late-eighties social problems, but it's no more than that." while i find his stance admirable and elegantly stated, there's so so so much i disagree with here -- i guess it all comes down to an ear-drum shattering 'NO!' i do not believe that 'in dark times the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements.' i believe that could be a definition of 'good art', but not the definition. norman mailer (who tried, and failed, to create an american psycho type book with his an american dream) complains that easton ellis offers no alternative to the 'flat, insipid' life of patrick bateman... DFW and mailer seem to suggest that we need two things from art: 1. we need to follow a traditional model of literature which presents the good contrasted against the bad (i.e. tolstoy, dickens, etc); an art which offers an alternative morality, a way out, a 'CPR', something better... this is, of course, reactionary nonsense. what's good for leo, charlie, dave, or norm ain't necessarily good for the gander. 2. we need a representation of the 'good' in our art to show the reader an alternative or a means to break free. bullshit: while orwell needed a winston smith in order to achieve the intended effect of 1984, i cannot conceive of an american psycho with a moral voice. the moral voice comes not from the narrator or characters within the novel, but from the reader herself. and look -- most of the shit i dig tries to do just this: "illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it" -- finding a means to live with integrity in a world of shit is an underlying theme in most of the shit i respond to and/or create. but, again, this does not mean that it is the author's job (or the creator of 'good art') to proceed along those lines. in fact, what i most appreciate about easton ellis is his refusal to trace over pre-defined lines. as helpful, at times, as it might be to read litcrit and reviews which approach the novel as a kind of book-shaped container meant to convey certain ideas, standpoints, or commentaries... as a reader (for me, at least), it's a killer. deadly. american psycho is a great book in that, yes, there's lots of serious shit going on in there that lends itself to term papers, academic essays, and the like; and, yes, it succeeds wonderfully in defining a particular point in american history... but also because it transcends all that. it creates (here goes my generalization), as does all 'good art', the ineffable feeling only able to be expressed through that particular work. no other contemporary writer (except, perhaps, delillo at his best) is able to infuse a work with such dread. the dread that easton ellis creates in this book goes far beyond DFW's simple assertion that american psycho 'does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is.' transcendence through dread, baby.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Unholy...Shite!! 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 is...WOW ...in both the good and not so good vareity. At first, I'd thought about try Unholy...Shite!! 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 is...WOW ...in 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 more I thought about, the more 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 more and more 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. Inside...there 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 more 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 more and more 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. 5.0 stars. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION...though I'm likely never touching it again.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lauryl

    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 more 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 b 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 more 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 more 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.P., I nevertheless find it more 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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    (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 chopp (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 more. 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 TIMES there'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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    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 emo 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 mercy. "I imagine her naked, murdered, maggots burrowing, feasting on her stomach, tits blackened by cigarette burns, Libby eating this corpse out, then I clear my throat." (This 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 more than the graphically violent and disturbing - is unforgivable to me. Blog | Leafmarks | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  6. 4 out of 5

    karen

    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 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 more... 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 more 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 more 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 more 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 more than two cents, but i am feeling pretty flush today...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    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 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 advantage. “...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.” 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 more and more 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 fixations. “All 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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Petal X

    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 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)] I used to enjoy all that. Now I have a bookshop, but then I had a bar. I kind of wish I had a bar, that kind of bar again. (hide spoiler)] Oh, book review. I did enjoy the book and later the film. So true to life... except for the murders, I think.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”...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 de ”...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 J&Bs 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 anyone...from...me. ”Paul 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 art. ”She’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 cloth. “I’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 instance. ”When 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 more 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 more 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 band...ever. 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 more 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 more 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 more insane than I am. Something for all of you to keep in mind...Patrick 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 anymore. 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 more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ben Winch

    I don't usually bother giving negative reviews here, but I feel it's time to nail my colours to the mast and identify a few problematic titles. Problem #1: American Psycho. It's funny how many people qualify their glowing reviews of this book with the words 'I didn't enjoy it but...,' as if it contained some bitter but necessary medicine. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I would have thought even a disturbing book, movie, song or painting should at least be enjoyable on some level if it's to gain its I don't usually bother giving negative reviews here, but I feel it's time to nail my colours to the mast and identify a few problematic titles. Problem #1: American Psycho. It's funny how many people qualify their glowing reviews of this book with the words 'I didn't enjoy it but...,' as if it contained some bitter but necessary medicine. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I would have thought even a disturbing book, movie, song or painting should at least be enjoyable on some level if it's to gain its audience's love, and if it can't gain that love then it's certainly not worthy of glowing reviews. To me, American Psycho is damn near loveless, its murder scenes especially, and I don't buy the line that there's anything medicinal in those scenes either. What we have here is 2 books, or better, a book and a bunch of uninspired self-consciously provocative crap tacked onto it for the sake of controversy. Ellis said it himself: for the most part, American Psycho was just him writing out his frustration at his life, which corresponded closely, for the most part, to Patrick Bateman's; the murder scenes were added later. This is a telling admission. While there's something mildly enjoyable about Ellis ripping apart (in prose) the yuppies he obviously knows so well, the tone changes entirely every time a character is ripped apart for real. Satire? Yeah, parts of American Psycho are satirical, but not the violent parts - they are flat, vacant, bland. And it's a sad thing, that this young, lost, numbed writer felt the need to dress up his comedy of manners in wolf's clothing. You can imagine why he did it. Not for money necessarily, but from the same misguided notion that leads his fans to believe there is something medicinal in torturing themselves by reading this shit: the poor sap thought he was writing something 'important'! Well I'm sorry, but the only important thing about American Psycho is that it illustrates - by its existence, by its success - something deeply wrong with the society that gave birth to it. Any dickhead with a halfway decent grasp of prose could have written this splatter-porn; on the level of artistry it's dull as dull can be. But it illustrates something: the banality of evil. Brett Easton Ellis is no more a psycho than you or me, nor does he demonstrate any deep knowledge of what a psycho might be. But by parading his numbness, his naivety, his insensitivity, he demonstrates how a human might unwittingly do evil. And to my mind, there is something evil in what he's done, by seeking to legitimise this shit. In the end, there's only one question that's important here: does the world need more violence-for-violence's sake? I say absolutely not. And this is coming not from a wowser or an anti-violence lobbyist, but from a diehard fan of Clockwork Orange and Reservoir Dogs. One reviewer points out that the uproar over American Psycho is ridiculous given the number of malevolent, misogynistic slasher films on constant display in our culture, and to an extent I agree. But what I find reprehensible in American Psycho is the pose - that this is somehow above those slasher films - when Ellis himself has admitted that all the conceptual justifications only occurred to him after he was demonised, as a way to talk himself out of trouble. Is Brett Easton Ellis a mysoginist? To me he's more like a parrot, repeating the refrain of a sick culture. Well if you need a parrot to remind you what's wrong with clinical descriptions of excessive violence towards women then this is the book for you. For my part, I'll take Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me any day if I feel like a glimpse inside psychosis. And - wrong as this may sound to some of you - I'll enjoy it. Because art is meant to be enjoyed. Yes, it can change you, hurt you, get under your skin, but only if you love it. Personally, I wonder how anyone could love American Psycho. An absolute piece of shit and probably the worst book I have ever bothered finishing.

  11. 4 out of 5

    F

    Loved this book. One to give me a book hangover. Didn't want it to end. 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Martin

    This book blew me away. First of all, you have to be prepared to be let into the mind of a psychopath. That entails more than murder, which a lot of people reviewing this book completely miss. Watch out for these two types of brainless reviews. "Its worth the boring stuff for the violence". or "It's misogynistic! And about murdering people. You like that?". I know it's not standard, but a protagonist CAN be a villian. If you think experiencing or creating something makes you an advocate of it, y This book blew me away. First of all, you have to be prepared to be let into the mind of a psychopath. That entails more than murder, which a lot of people reviewing this book completely miss. Watch out for these two types of brainless reviews. "Its worth the boring stuff for the violence". or "It's misogynistic! And about murdering people. You like that?". I know it's not standard, but a protagonist CAN be a villian. If you think experiencing or creating something makes you an advocate of it, you're missing out on a lot of good art. Anyways, the entire book is written from Patrick Bateman's point of view, and Patrick Bateman is a materialistic vain insecure obsessive compulsive hallucinating (yeah, mysogynistic i guess)delusional psychopath. And you will be completely enveloped in his world. This is what traps you and makes the book so addicting. I would read this book at the park, or on the bus, and when I'd put it down to join the rest of the human world it was almost impossible. For a good 10 minutes I'd just be staring at people feeling a million miles away. You don't skip over the bits about his facial creams, you absorb it and afterwards let your jaw drop that he is more passionate about it than any human life, or feeling. People ARE materials to him, just more useless and often tasteless ones. Maybe you won't even notice when a talking cheerio is sitting in a chair being interviewed, since you can't be sure of what he's hallucinating either. (and that's key). Just suck it up and take it. READ the book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    "I've forgotten who I had lunch with earlier, and even more important, where." Patrick Bateman is handsome, well educated, intelligent. He works by day on Wall Street, earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. His nights he spends in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Where to begin... first of all, let me preface this review by giving a trigger warning for almost every possible trigger you can think of: rape, animal abuse, torture... this book is not for the faint of heart! This book "I've forgotten who I had lunch with earlier, and even more important, where." Patrick Bateman is handsome, well educated, intelligent. He works by day on Wall Street, earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. His nights he spends in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Where to begin... first of all, let me preface this review by giving a trigger warning for almost every possible trigger you can think of: rape, animal abuse, torture... this book is not for the faint of heart! This book stands head and shoulders above the rest as the most disturbing book I've ever read. But, I absolutely loved it. Not because of how disturbing it was (although I did find that mostly entertaining), but because I've never laughed out loud so much whilst reading a book. I LOVED getting inside Bateman's head, a true glimpse into the mind of a psychopath. He is severely deluded, shallow, neurotic... and yet I could happily read about his beauty routine and gym workouts forever (whilst making some notes of course - if only I had multiple hours to spend in the gym each day!!). In particular, I was sincerely impressed by Bateman's ability to identify exactly what designer you're wearing by sight alone - I mean, surely he is wasted in his job as an investment banker?! There must be some way he can make use of this incredible talent! People had previously commented about how annoying it was when the book goes off on random tangents where Bateman breaks down different musical artists' careers. I found this weirdly enjoyable - particularly the chapters where he discusses Genesis and Whitney Houston in great detail. Although I was not too impressed when Bateman described Bruce Springsteen as overrated (but he made up for it by later telling a stranger on the street that Brilliant Disguise by the Boss was the happiest song he could think of - how depressing and sad is that song... LOL). Bateman's obsession for serial killers also reminded me of myself, he would slide that chat in anywhere he could. Although he did get one of his quotes wrong, attributing a quote by Ed Kemper to Ed Gein - easily done I guess *shrugs* I can understand why the repetitive nature of this book would be annoying for some - Bateman's life is basically a cycle of brutal murders/torture followed by him and his fellow investment bankers trying to decide where to make reservations for that night - but ultimately I found it strangely captivating. It's just so funny and full of satire that I couldn't NOT love it, it really appealed to my dark sense of humour. American Psycho also provides a really disturbing social commentary on the upper-class in Manhattan in the 1980s, a society full of racism and sexism, where a lot of emphasis is placed on image and wealth. Bateman has a crazy obsession with Donald Trump - a real representation of the times - and it honestly baffles me that this man is now President of the United States. Ellis really succeeds in painting a rather despicable picture of consumerism in America. The murders and torture are brutal - consider this a warning! It's graphic and detailed, and the creativity and originality that Ellis manages to bring to some of them is staggering. The sex scenes are pornographic in terms of the level of the detail included, and I actually found these much more uncomfortable to read than the murders. This book won't be for everyone, and it's one of those books that although I enjoyed almost every page, I would feel cautious recommending it to others. Just prepare yourself if you decide to pick it up! And please don't think of me as one sick puppy for enjoying this satirical masterpiece. 4.5 stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust

    **4.5"THE MOST FUCKED UP STORY EVVVVEEERRRRR" STARS** Are you easily offended? Do not read this book. Are you easily frightened? Do not read this review. Are you easily annoyed? Do not read about this asshole . Are you easily sickened? Do not read horrific tale. Are you easily dizzied? Do not read anything. Honestly, I have not idea why I enjoyed this materialistic, self centered, psychotic story, but GOD HELP ME, I DID. The only reason I decided to read the damn book is because I noticed it wa **4.5"THE MOST FUCKED UP STORY EVVVVEEERRRRR" STARS** Are you easily offended? Do not read this book. Are you easily frightened? Do not read this review. Are you easily annoyed? Do not read about this asshole . Are you easily sickened? Do not read horrific tale. Are you easily dizzied? Do not read anything. Honestly, I have not idea why I enjoyed this materialistic, self centered, psychotic story, but GOD HELP ME, I DID. The only reason I decided to read the damn book is because I noticed it was #1 on numerous Goodreads list. When I first started reading, I was completely baffled as all the story entailed was Patricks self centered life, filled with his self absorbed unlikeable friends doing absolutely nothing worthwhile. What the hell is so impressive about that?? I imagined Christian Bale as Pat Bateman, which definitely helped make a day in the life of Pat enjoyable.... Here's a glimpse..... Read Pat Shower: (God I wish I could post this gif.If you are into nudity click the link http://i36.tinypic.com/2cy09hk.jpg ) Read Pat Tan: Read Pat Exercise :(My favorite part) Read Pat mingle: Red Pat fuck: (my second favorite) ...Yup that's a rundown of the first half of the book...Can you see why I was confused?.. I kept reading and slowly but surely Patrick starting dropping little clues. Here's a few...... .... Yeah, he could have been nicer but certainly didn't scream "SERIAL KILLER".................but this DID ! ...Sadly animals were harmed in the story. I felt I should warn you.. ...So, am I still wondering why this is #1... American Psycho is by far the most gruesome, peculiar, cruel, Utterly Insane book I 've EVER read. This is not for the faint of heart. You must be ready for anything and everything to be written...Okay, I'm getting queasy just thinking about it .... ENJOY! For more reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stacia (the 2010 club)

    See Pat date. See Pat screw. See Pat mace. See Pat use a nail gun. See Pat eat flesh. See Pat do obscene things with a severed head. See Pat store body parts in random places. Go, Pat, go! 1.5 stars Don't worry. That's the tame version. I didn't spoil the extreme parts of the story. Trust me. It might be a long, long time before I read something which knocks American Psycho out of the top spot for "sickest thing I've ever witnessed," and I've read books which have had rape, murder, and gore aplenty i See Pat date. See Pat screw. See Pat mace. See Pat use a nail gun. See Pat eat flesh. See Pat do obscene things with a severed head. See Pat store body parts in random places. Go, Pat, go! 1.5 stars Don't worry. That's the tame version. I didn't spoil the extreme parts of the story. Trust me. It might be a long, long time before I read something which knocks American Psycho out of the top spot for "sickest thing I've ever witnessed," and I've read books which have had rape, murder, and gore aplenty in them. How often can a person say that the movie was better than the book? I actually liked the movie because it carried the point from the story without being quite as tedious or gruesome. Part of me wanted to spoiler-tag a couple of the more gruesome scenes, just to give readers who were curious something to look at. But I'm not giving anyone any ideas. O.o The first half of the book was overworked satire. Pages and pages of excessive description gave no great sense of entertainment or enjoyment in terms of reading experience. I do understand why the author did what he needed to do in order to set up the character's state of mind to the reader. Many of the conversations and interactions were needed, and a few were actually informative or interesting, but the same point really could have been made in a few chapters. It all comes down to reading preference for me. Half a book of recycled conversation about fashion, society, tanning, etc. is torture for people like me who could not give a shit about that stuff. I hate wasting my time by reading about stuff I don't want to read about, satire or not. Overkill is still overkill, especially when you see the same catch-phrases (hardbody, gazelleskin, etc.) used dozens of times in the book, and you're sort of sad that you're not playing a drinking game to combat some of the repetitiveness. By the time I got to the chapter on detailing Whitney Houston's career, I was downright tired of reading scene after scene of tedious information. Although...the chapter on name brand water amused me, probably because of how I learned that I'm sparkling water poser. Speaking of excessive...let's get to the second half of the book, otherwise known as a precursor (no, not really) to the show 1,000 Ways to Die. Try thinking of the sickest way you could kill someone. Chances are, you aren't even close to thinking about what Pat put his victims through. Did Pat become the way that he was because he was so rich and bored, and had nothing left to achieve or desire, or was his mind so completely ordered and methodical about everything from the start, that he viewed murder without emotion as just another thing he could organize and categorize? I get why American Psycho has a good portion of its ratings on either one end or the other of the spectrum. Since the subject itself doesn't lend itself well to words such as "love" or "admire," a reader is either going to respect the method of writing, or hate the product of the writing. I wanted to fall on the respect end because I understood why others rated the book high. But I can't overcome the fact that I hated reading the repetitive formula of : character talks about meaningless shit, character talks about or participates in unappealing (and super-extreme) sex, then character makes a gruesome kill. The end of the story gave the reader nothing to wrap up the madness of it all. The guy was a psycho. That's about it. At least the book was aptly named.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    As far as I can tell, there are two ways to interpret this book. The first is as a hysterically funny, incredibly dark satire on the excess, greed and materialism of rich young Americans in the late 1980s. The second is as a hideously misogynist extended fantasy about the abuse, torture and murder of women. It's the second interpretation that raises issues for me. I am a feminist, and proud to say so; yet I absolutely loved this book. So is it possible to be a feminist and still enjoy American P As far as I can tell, there are two ways to interpret this book. The first is as a hysterically funny, incredibly dark satire on the excess, greed and materialism of rich young Americans in the late 1980s. The second is as a hideously misogynist extended fantasy about the abuse, torture and murder of women. It's the second interpretation that raises issues for me. I am a feminist, and proud to say so; yet I absolutely loved this book. So is it possible to be a feminist and still enjoy American Psycho? My (personal, subjective) answer to this question is yes. I can understand the objections others have raised and, unsurprisingly, I found the violent scenes intensely disturbing and difficult to read, and skimmed over the worst parts in the same way I'd squint at the screen during a particularly bloody film scene. The titular psycho, protagonist and narrator, Patrick Bateman, is undoubtedly a horrifically misogynist character - both in terms of the hideous things he does to women and in the minute details of the ways in which he perceives and judges them. The female characters (pretty much all of them, one by one) are objectified in the ultimate way - desired, fucked, tortured, dissected, even eaten. The violence is often juxtaposed closely with graphically detailed sex scenes or fantasies, with the two flowing into one another until they begin to seem almost inseperable. To me, this feels like a damning comment on the links between pornography, the consumer of pornography's view of women, and violent behaviour. And after all I've read about the author's motivations in writing the novel and other readers' and critics' reactions to it, I'm fairly sure this is how it's meant to be read. The story is so obviously an allegory that, to be honest, I find it hard to understand how anyone could take it seriously as a fantasy of violence. Bateman announces his crimes to colleagues and girlfriends at numerous points, with these confessions become more blatant and more desperate as the book goes on - yet it seems nobody ever hears him, or their own self-absorption and greed is advanced to such a level that they don't notice or care. The character becomes more and more of a blank canvas as the book goes on, a development underlined by the fact that he is constantly being mistaken for someone else, or spotting an acquaintance and not being sure exactly who it is. The men melt into a homogenous blur of Brooks Brothers suits, Valentino ties, slicked-back hair and nonprescription glasses; the women into an interchangeable mass of blonde hair, big tits, whiny voices and Carolina Herrera silk blouses. In the end it doesn't seem that Bateman is actually a character as much as an amalgam of these people: their obscene greed, materialism, lack of empathy and empty selfishness - mixed in with astounding naivety and ignorance - concentrated and personified. There's no realistic way Bateman could continue to get away with the crimes he commits - so frequent, so violent, so obvious - and as a result it becomes clear that either they are symbolic, or they are the fantasies of the character himself, an expression of his inward/outward anger and hatred. As the narrative becomes ever more surreal and descends into madness towards the book's conclusion, the latter theory begins to seem more and more likely. Bateman's supposed victims seem to reappear; he is involved in an impossibly lengthy police shoot-out which yields no retribution; he begins to step outside himself, narrating from a third-person perspective. The only incident in which he is identified as a killer by someone else appears, at second glance, to be a straightforward robbery. At the very end of the story, the reader is left to make up their own mind about the truth of events, making this a classic example of the unreliable narrator genre (I really should create an unreliable-narrators shelf here, I love them so much). This book is, as its reputation suggests, a harrowing read at times, but it's also truly hilarious in parts - the endless repetition, the lengthy passages solemnly appraising the back catalogues of dreadful 80s bands, the meticulous descriptions of ludicrous meals and label-laden outfits. I loathe gratuitous violence and 'torture porn' films but while the violent scenes in this book are arguably unnecessary in their detail, they are contained within the context of a viciously intelligent satire. I wavered between admiration, amusement and repulsion throughout many of the earlier chapters, but I really loved the ending; the build-up and the subtle changes and the conclusion itself, all so brilliantly done. Altogether I thought this was an absolutely fantastic, if not always 'enjoyable', book and I don't feel bad about saying so.

  17. 5 out of 5

    GTF

    Where to begin? Well firstly, I will just comment on the violence in this novel and say that it contains some of the most graphic torture and killings that I have ever read about both in the real and fictional world. There are wild and creative forms of brutality performed on people that I didn't know were possible. I am not easily put off by goriness, but a lot of pages of this book were difficult to read. It goes without saying that 'American Psycho' is not for the faint-hearted. The story is t Where to begin? Well firstly, I will just comment on the violence in this novel and say that it contains some of the most graphic torture and killings that I have ever read about both in the real and fictional world. There are wild and creative forms of brutality performed on people that I didn't know were possible. I am not easily put off by goriness, but a lot of pages of this book were difficult to read. It goes without saying that 'American Psycho' is not for the faint-hearted. The story is told from the perspective of a wealthy investment banker named Patrick Bateman who lives on one of the most prestigious streets in New York City. The beginning of the novel suggests nothing too horrific about Bateman, but he does often mutter very questionable remarks about himself under his breath, begins seething over trivial matters, and is remarkably meticulous with assessing expensive clothes and jewelry. To the reader, he is initially just another self-absorbed upper-class asshole who lives a very extravagant, promiscuous and drug-fueled lifestyle. However, the dark and cruel side of Bateman's character eventually manifests and his acts of murder and sadism become a frequent hobby. It also becomes increasingly clearer that his sanity is very dubious, as he develops trouble with distinguishing the real from the imagined. His decaying sanity along with his astounding callousness creates a highly unreliable narrator. In a way this book reminded me of 'The Catcher in The Rye' (with the addition of appalling violence and insanity) as it is not centred around a plot but instead just features endless and intriguing pondering of the male narrator. 'American Psycho' closes with a very ambiguous ending which you see coming, given the style of narrative and sequence of events that lead up to the ending. Easton Ellis is very skilled at creating characters. He can divide people into various categories of habits, intellect, temperament, level of empathy etc. and then insert them into novels in a way that makes them feel real. I think why 'American Psycho' has stood the test of time is because of its portrayal of the upper-class in Manhattan, and the juxtapositions of common realities such as wealth & poverty, good & evil, attraction & repulsion.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Actual rating: 2 🌟's I think Bret Easton Ellis described his own book the best in 1991, when he said: "...I wrote a book that is all surface action: no narrative, no characters to latch onto, flat, endlessly repetitive." He certainly did do that. I get the message he wanted to sent out, and I'm definitely able to respect and appreciate that. However, I personally appreciate well-developed characters and a good plot even more, so this book just wasn't for me. At the end, I felt like nothing had happe Actual rating: 2 🌟's I think Bret Easton Ellis described his own book the best in 1991, when he said: "...I wrote a book that is all surface action: no narrative, no characters to latch onto, flat, endlessly repetitive." He certainly did do that. I get the message he wanted to sent out, and I'm definitely able to respect and appreciate that. However, I personally appreciate well-developed characters and a good plot even more, so this book just wasn't for me. At the end, I felt like nothing had happened, even though so much had happened?? I don't know how to describe it...I guess that's the point of the novel: For everything to just be on the surface, for nothing to make an impact. So again, the purpose of the author was definitely fulfilled; it just wasn't the kind of book I enjoy reading.

  19. 4 out of 5

    ✨Tamara

    Damn this book is graphic! It's the 1980s and the rich keep on getting richer and the poor keep on getting poorer. Patrick Bateman is bored of his humdrum life on Wall Street. Nothing seems to excite him more than stopping people and ripping them apart. We follow his quick descent into madness as Ellis gives us in a blow-by-blow fashion. With the exception of a few scenes, the movie is pretty much true to the book. They cut out a lot of the sex as well as the killing of a child and a dog. They als Damn this book is graphic! It's the 1980s and the rich keep on getting richer and the poor keep on getting poorer. Patrick Bateman is bored of his humdrum life on Wall Street. Nothing seems to excite him more than stopping people and ripping them apart. We follow his quick descent into madness as Ellis gives us in a blow-by-blow fashion. With the exception of a few scenes, the movie is pretty much true to the book. They cut out a lot of the sex as well as the killing of a child and a dog. They also toned down the gore substantially. I can see why people hate this book. Patrick Bateman and his "friends" are a pack of egotistical and extremely self-centered pricks. I mean it's supposed to be American Psycho, not American Douchebag right? However sexist Bateman is not. And I will tell you why... he looks down upon everyone. Women are either trash or hard bodies or they are deemed as unfuckable and are completely in love with him. Men also fit into three categories for Bateman: friends/business associates, not from America, and faggots. He even looks down on animals LOL. Bateman is a case where he in discriminately looks down upon everyone that is not him. I will warn you eager readers, this book is EXTREMELY graphic not just in gore but also with the sex scenes. As the somewhat rational person that I like to think I am, I have a hard time thinking that another human being could actually put pen to paper the way that this author did with some of these scenes. It kind of makes you sick. like I got a lump in my throat reading it knowing that I'm reading a book and that someone has written this book from their own imagination. That's how sickening it is. With all of that aside the book is rather a boring read. The Douchebag Circle is constantly talking about the hard bodies they want to fuck or the new things that they bought or who is sleeping with who or the drugs they can score and where. All of it is extremely monotonous and takes up more than half of the book in all. It gets rather annoying. With everything considered I would have to say this was an okay read. However I wouldn't really recommend this book because of the extremely graphic scenes and apparently obvious tendency to piss people off for one reason or another. You can also watch my review of this book on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/a1WwzH-O9GM

  20. 5 out of 5

    mark monday

    ever see that video Criminal, the one where a winsome and pathetic fiona apple is surrounded by empty beer bottles & video equiment as she writhes sadly in a closet, in the backseat of a car, and in a tub as some dude rubs his feet all over her face? ugh. this book is like that shitty, creepy video, except times 100. just thinking about parts of it makes me want to take a shower and rinse the muck off. Criminal had arty direction by an interesting director that i like, Mark Romanek. American ever see that video Criminal, the one where a winsome and pathetic fiona apple is surrounded by empty beer bottles & video equiment as she writhes sadly in a closet, in the backseat of a car, and in a tub as some dude rubs his feet all over her face? ugh. this book is like that shitty, creepy video, except times 100. just thinking about parts of it makes me want to take a shower and rinse the muck off. Criminal had arty direction by an interesting director that i like, Mark Romanek. American Psycho is also interesting: intelligent and stylishly written, with some "points" to make about consumer culture, class, and male egotism. but i don't give a flying fuckeroo about interesting points or stylishness or intelligence when the vehicle you're using to express those points is one built on pure degradation and creepy self-indulgence. you may be making your points but you are also making me sick. congratulations!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Warwick

    I am not convinced that endless descriptions of murder and torture are a good metaphor for unrestrained eighties capitalism. Consequently, while I have read many books that made me uncomfortable or nauseous, I have not read any that did so for such weak returns. The prose style is never better than competent. Generally it alternates between repellant and just very dull. I don't think it's hard to make readers feel sick and disgusted. If I tell you I have a puppy in one hand, and a blunt pencil in I am not convinced that endless descriptions of murder and torture are a good metaphor for unrestrained eighties capitalism. Consequently, while I have read many books that made me uncomfortable or nauseous, I have not read any that did so for such weak returns. The prose style is never better than competent. Generally it alternates between repellant and just very dull. I don't think it's hard to make readers feel sick and disgusted. If I tell you I have a puppy in one hand, and a blunt pencil in the other, even though you know they don't really exist you probably don't want me to decribe what happens when the two are made to interact. Exercises in this sort of writing have to work hard not to feel juvenile and this one doesn't work at all. There is a lively ongoing debate over whether it's misogynistic or not, (just have a look at the comments to Paul Bryant's excellent review). To me it seems self-evident that the book is misogynistic – but then there are a lot of excellent novels that are also misogynistic, so I'm not sure how far that gets you. More pertinent for me was just the fact that I loathed every moment I spent reading it. I think I threw it away halfway through. Maybe it turns into Tolstoy after page 200, but I have no inclination whatever to find out.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    When a book sticks with you, you know it is powerful. It may not be entertaining, and it may be downright disturbing, but if you can't get it out of your head it is most certainly great, and that is my experience with American Psycho. For me, it's about the music. Bret Easton Ellis did something miraculous within Patrick Bateman's killings: he destroyed the music of Huey Lewis and the News, Genesis and Whitney Houston. Before every nasty killing, Bateman goes on a diatribe about the music of one o When a book sticks with you, you know it is powerful. It may not be entertaining, and it may be downright disturbing, but if you can't get it out of your head it is most certainly great, and that is my experience with American Psycho. For me, it's about the music. Bret Easton Ellis did something miraculous within Patrick Bateman's killings: he destroyed the music of Huey Lewis and the News, Genesis and Whitney Houston. Before every nasty killing, Bateman goes on a diatribe about the music of one of these eighties' faves, then listens to the music while killing, making it the soundtrack of habitrails and bloodshed. I can't listen to any of these singers without visions of Patrick Bateman's killings flooding into my consciousness. Granted, losing some of these singers is worse than the loss of others, but it has been over a decade since I last read American Psycho and the gory music video Ellis conjured in my mind is as strong as ever. I can barely reference the images of the real videos of "I Want a New Drug" or "If This Is It," but I can see a voracious rat about to eat a woman to death through her reproductive organs with stunning and disgusting clarity. It is not a pretty book, and the squeamish should stay away, but for anyone who seeks to be overwhelmed by images they will never forget, American Psycho is one of the greatest books ever written. *Beyond Ellis' power to evoke indelible images in my mind, horrific though they may be, there are depths in the story of Patrick Bateman that make it not just a great read but a nourishing read. Is there another book that so perfectly captures the eighties in the US or the Reagan/Thatcher world view as American Psycho? Patrick Bateman is the quintessential eighties American male; he may even be America itself. Obsessed with appearance and appearances, consumption and greed (almost clinically so), Bateman is arrogant to the point of hubris, malicious, deviant, and ultra violent, yet he still maintains an outward likability that completely fools his friends (allies) much like the nation he so perfectly represents (from his first person narrative -- "me, me, me" -- right down to his designer suits and morning, skin revival rituals), and therein lies one of the necessities of violence in Ellis' narrative. If Bateman is America, Ellis needs to lay the nation's murderous streak bare; he needs to make people face the brutality and horror of the murderous act -- not simply gloss over it and move on as post-Vietnam America wittingly did and continues to do. Even today, people blithely ignore the violence inherent in the American system, and if American Psycho is an allegory for this system, the terrible violence of Bateman's cruelest moments become the most important moments of the book. They force us to face the cruelty, to see the cruelty and not forget it. And if Ellis were to drop the violence but maintain the rest of the book as a criticism of consumerism, the removal of the violence would simply become another version what Reagan's America did so well (and the nation has been doing so well ever since) -- admitting the less offensive problems to hide the more offensive. Even if we drop the allegory, however, and simply see Bateman as a monster whose presence criticizes hyper-misogyny, hyper-violence, hyper-masculinity, and hyper-consumption, Ellis' choice to express the violence as he did is sound because when Patrick Bateman isn't being violent (and he isn't being literally violent very often) his narrative has the ability to lull us into comfort -- to forget how horrible the man can be, how horrible he really is. Thus, the book's moments of shocking violence wake us out of our comfort zone and force us to face the sort of monster our culture created and still creates (there are more serial killers killing today, after all, than ever before). When Ellis was writing this piece, I doubt that he was considering the infamy his book was about to achieve. So when I read American Psycho I try to suspend what I already know about the contents of the book and the controversy surrounding the book and imagine (which is the best I can do) what it would have been like for a reader who had no idea what they were getting into -- which was surely Ellis' intent (even if this could only happen a few times in the book's history): for the uninitiated, Bateman would seem a little weird to begin with, maybe mildly OCD, but likable all the same. Bateman's cynicism and his dislike of the insufferable people that surround him would likely win over most readers very quickly; we would connect with his unhappiness and quickly come to empathize with a man who's struggling to find out what is wrong with his life, even though he has a dream job, everything he'll ever need, and a potentially dream life. Then...BAM! He is a murderer. And not just a murderer but the worst kind of sadistic serial killer one can imagine. And we are instantly implicated in his violence (which I think is the ULTIMATE point of the book, regardless of other readings...that we are all implicated in creating the Bateman's of our world) because we empathized with the man, even liked the man, and we are in his head and watching him commit heinous acts, and we are compelled to continue reading. It challenges us to wonder if anyone can be part of this culture and truly claim innocence. What an amazing reading experience it is must have been for the people who read the book without any foreknowledge. And what a tremendous feat of writing on Ellis' part. If you try to read American Psycho today, I hope you approach it from this direction because I think all of Ellis' possible purposes come clearer when we enter American Psycho as a blank slate -- even if it can only be an imaginary one.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mykle

    I'm finally about able to process this book. I remember when it came out in 1991, after Ellis's first book, LESS THAN ZERO, had been a precocious publishing phenomenon and his second, THE RULES OF ATTRACTION, had sucked but sold well. Everybody was waiting for something from the guy, some answer to the question of whether or not he was a genuine talent or just last month's flavor for an increasingly trend-driven publishing world. Then he gave us AMERICAN PSYCHO, and everybody lost their shit. No I'm finally about able to process this book. I remember when it came out in 1991, after Ellis's first book, LESS THAN ZERO, had been a precocious publishing phenomenon and his second, THE RULES OF ATTRACTION, had sucked but sold well. Everybody was waiting for something from the guy, some answer to the question of whether or not he was a genuine talent or just last month's flavor for an increasingly trend-driven publishing world. Then he gave us AMERICAN PSYCHO, and everybody lost their shit. No unkind word ever said about a book wasn't said about this one. It was called incompetent crap, the author was vilified a fraud and, worse, an inciter of rape and murder. And as all the controversy (if you can call the entire lit media deciding to hate the same book a "controversy") drove sales through the roof, the ultimate slap in the author's face was when the New York Times actually erased the book from its #1 position on the best seller list -- they just shoved it down the memory hole, in the interests of "taste and decency." Certainly this book had unique power to piss people off. And that of course cemented the book's sales & made Ellis simultaneously the most and least successful author in America. But I'm a hype-avoider, and LESS THAN ZERO had been so oversold and overloved when it came out, I really just wanted to be left alone by the works of Brett Easton Ellis. Then, a decade later, the AMERICAN PSYCHO movie came out, and it was really great. Edgy, but not unduly shocking; an excellent period piece for the Reagan eighties and the Masters-Of-The-Universe era on Wall Street. Which led me and I'm sure many others to reconsider our feelings for this book we had heard so much about but hadn't read, and ... well, yeah, I finally read it. Ellis has a great talent for describing vapidity, an amazing imagination for the empty conversation of horrible people. Empty, horrible people are the subject of this book as well as his first book, but he definitely perfected his techniques here. The descriptions of loathesomeness are merciless & shouldn't leave any questions as to where his sympathies lie. But the narrative description has a precise emotionlessness and an absence of judgement, which was at that time his signature style. And that style, which works fairly well for the nihilistic young coke-zombies of Less Than Zero, is here just perfectly suited to describing the mental state of the madman, the mimic, the sophisticated monster that is Patrick Bateman. Patrick Bateman, the eponymous psycho, narrates his reality with a vocabulary of repeating tropes: what incredibly expensive designer clothing the people around him wore today, what useless expensive gadgets clutter his home, what ludicrous food he's eating in which pretentious restaurant, the utter casualness of racism, sexism and elitism among the young rich bankers he dines with, the way nobody ever hears him when he glibly confesses his crimes, the way all the young bankers look alike & are constantly mistaken for one another, the topic of his favorite morning television ("The Patty Winters Show"), the antidepressants and mood stabilizers and cocaine he inhales constantly and interchangeably, the quality & duration of his workout, the precarious condition of his perfect hair, and so on. All of which is dryly, darkly hilarious. These are the superficial building blocks of Bateman's superficial reality, and through the obsessive order thereby repeatedly described Ellis slowly introduces cracks. The first third of the book is a remarkably controlled fugue of this stuff, actually quite musical, in which little glimpses of evil build and build, accelerating toward the certainty that something very bad will happen -- all the while continuing a richly detailed, absurdly amusing sendup of the lives of detestable, useless rich brats. It creates a delicious suspense. But then something changes, and this is where it all gets difficult. Because after the first brutal murder he describes in detail -- though he's insinuated a few others by then -- the book goes from form to chaos. The evil crescendos but keeps building, like a screaming loud noise that keeps getting louder. Bateman tortures and kills and tortures and kills, in passages that are exquisitely rendered and increasingly hard to stomach. I admit I began just skipping them. Ellis' imagination for awful things is on fire here, especially in these sections devoted to sexual torture. These passages, though relatively few pages, are what all the fuss was about. They are deeply, deeply disturbing, and one can't help wondering if they're necessary. Nevertheless, there's another problem: the book loses shape, purpose, momentum. The thick middle of the book is a series of vignettes with little need for them to happen in any order. Bateman goes shopping, hallucinates, kills a prostitute, a co-worker, some animals, an old friend, shops some more. Mostly we get episodes in an ongoing battle with his mental state -- not that he's trying to change, or that he feels guilt or anything. (He actually uses the word "bad" to describe his actions exactly once; I think it must have been a proofreading error.) He just craves control of himself and sometimes can't find it, gains or loses it, finds himself with more or less of it. But honestly, at this point any remaining reflex a reader could have to sympathize with Patrick Bateman's so-called problems is as dead as the homeless man we watched him stab in the eye. A sane reader will probably recoil from his or her natural vicarious projection into the role of the narrator; one has to read this book very differently from how one normally reads books, or else feel deeply corrupted and dirty. Certain torture passages of the book are torture just to get through. Torture of the characters, torture of the reader, and Ellis himself described writing it as a kind of torture too. (Also, I want to point out that the first third of the book is in some ways just better written than the middle third; the sentences simply seem like the work of an older & more experienced author. It left me to wonder if Ellis had begun by inventing these middle vignettes one at a time, discovering his character's traits and voice along the way, and only years later completed the opening and closing sections. No matter how else I felt, I did become very interested in the question of "what the fuck was he thinking, writing this?") To be fair, some plot points do progress. Bateman's best friend vanishes mysteriously before the ugliest parts happen, then reappears near the end. Bateman finds himself somehow unable to murder his execrable gold-digging girlfriend, but does finally dump her. He is likewise unable to murder his secretary -- one of the two truly warm, decent, thinking, listening women described in the book. He tortures, murders and eats the other one -- and yet in a penultimate vignette Bateman starts to wonder if the love of a good woman could somehow reform him. The scene is strangely poignant, but still ranks as the maddest moment in the whole book. Bateman, despite his raging homophobia, is also oddly unable to kill his closeted gay co-worker Luis after Luis confesses his love-that-cannot-be-named for Patrick. It's as if he's powerless to hurt anyone who actually cares for him -- which adds up, fortunately or not, to about two and a half people in all of New York. Meanwhile, his ongoing, baffling inability to be caught or even suspected in the dozens of casual, brutal murders he commits is briefly challenged by a pushover detective who detects nothing at all, and then again in a violent gun battle with mysteriously incompetent police. By the end of the book one might or might not wonder if Bateman has "grown" or "changed" or had a "character arc" -- there are some clues to that effect, maybe -- but I honestly could only have been satisfied to see him caught, judged, executed, tortured, punished, hurt, made to feel or understand what he'd done. The book builds a craving for some kind of justice that goes totally unfulfilled. It left me pissed off and angry, and of course the natural target for that anger is Brett Easton Ellis. Why did he do this? Why did he write this so well, and yet to such ugly and apparently meaningless effect? Why did he ruin a perfectly good satire of the despicable classes by throwing in all this brutal, numbing, pornographic violence and forcing me to wallow in it with him? The book ends with a very conscious, pat answer to those predictable questions when he summarizes and defends the entire novel in a single paragraph ostensibly about lunch. I won't quote it, but the long and short of it is that Patrick Bateman (and Ellis by metaphor) is just "doing his thing." What a load of crap. What I see here is an writer with unique power, un-beholden to the cliches of the American novel -- what you might call an Important Author -- but he's only in his early twenties. He's seen a lot, recorded it well, but has only so much depth to add. Due to his rampant early success, he's living the same coke-fueled, money-bleached existence as all these young, overpaid Manhattan financiers. They're his friends and peers, or at least they enjoy the same restaurants. He is at an anxiously pivotal moment in his precocious writing career, and knows that his next book had better make a splash. Shock value becomes its own justification in that context, and the task of skewering the eighties New York rich kids, which ought to have made a great book all by itself, suffers in the shadows of a mature talent bent to immature ends. Interestingly, the film version of American Psycho reforms this situation nicely, communicating in broad strokes much of what's good about the book while leaving out the nastiest parts. So if you're interested in this book, I guess I'd recommend you see the movie.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    “I had all the characteristics of a human being—flesh, blood, skin, hair—but my depersonalization was so intense, had gone so deep, that my normal ability to feel compassion had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning.” American Psycho is a masterfully accomplished, incredibly black satire, one which primarily focuses on consumerism, obsession with status and r “I had all the characteristics of a human being—flesh, blood, skin, hair—but my depersonalization was so intense, had gone so deep, that my normal ability to feel compassion had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning.” American Psycho is a masterfully accomplished, incredibly black satire, one which primarily focuses on consumerism, obsession with status and reputation, and the annihilation of the self in favor of that noxious bliss, the potent narcotic effect associated with conformity and “fitting in.” This book is admittedly disturbingly violent and extremely graphic. It goes over-the-top in almost every way possible. It does so in an attempt to function as a mind-numbingly excessive illustration of how excess numbs the mind. Yeah, I know, that sounds like a cutesy, gimmicky, too-clever setup for a novel, right? But, to my mind, Ellis makes it work. More often than not, the book is as irrepressibly, exuberantly hilarious as Christian Bale’s outstanding performance in the film adaptation: Aside from the humor, I believe another reason that it works so well is that readers catch these infrequent but genuinely jarring glimpses of themselves in the main character, Patrick Bateman. As with the vile protagonist from Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, you realize you aren’t quite as far removed from that hideously unbalanced mindset as you would like to think you are. As you’re laughing about—or feeling nauseous over—the absurdities and generally batshit behavior of Bateman, whose name-brand name-dropping and thoroughly vacuous, meaningless existence are just as insane as his vicious brutality and cannibalistic culinary endeavors, what emerges is a distorted, exaggerated, grotesque funhouse mirror reflection of…yourself. In a culture where superficiality, image, decadence and waste are worshipped for their own sake, things can’t help but become ridiculous, absurd, and monstrous. And as a satire on what living in such a state of affairs looks like, I think this book succeeded admirably: “Luis is wearing a wool-crepe suit, a cotton broadcloth shirt and a silk tie, all by Ralph Lauren. Like me, like Charles, he wears his hair slicked back and he’s wearing Oliver Peoples redwood-framed glasses. Mine, at least, are nonprescription.” Nailed it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Janz

    I've been putting off writing a review of this novel because I have so many conflicting emotions about it. So I'll just streamline it by throwing my reactions at you haphazardly. You know, kind of like Patrick Bateman's disordered thoughts. 1. This book is vicious, vile, and often made me suppress a whimper. It's the only book that's ever sickened me to that degree. 2. Bret Easton Ellis, like him or not, is a masterful writer, and this is a masterful book. 3. I've never in my life felt so guilty I've been putting off writing a review of this novel because I have so many conflicting emotions about it. So I'll just streamline it by throwing my reactions at you haphazardly. You know, kind of like Patrick Bateman's disordered thoughts. 1. This book is vicious, vile, and often made me suppress a whimper. It's the only book that's ever sickened me to that degree. 2. Bret Easton Ellis, like him or not, is a masterful writer, and this is a masterful book. 3. I've never in my life felt so guilty for laughing at a book, but laugh I did. A lot. 4. Have I mentioned how horrible the events detailed in this novel are? Imagine the worst thing possible. Then multiply it times seven. Then realize that what Patrick Bateman has in store makes what you imagined look like a PG-13 horror movie. The kind where things jump out at you, there's no nudity, and there are never, ever bloody deaths. 5. Patrick Bateman is one of the most unique characters in all of fiction. I truly despise him. But I love hearing him wax poetic about the artistic merits of Genesis and Huey Lewis and the News. I also find his interpersonal interactions and reactions so hilarious that I was constantly entertained by him. At least, until he got women back to his apartment. 6. About that. I can't emphasize enough how monstrous Bateman's behavior is. Several times I found myself writhing in bed in the desperate hope that a scene would Please. Just. End. 7. So why is this a five-star review? Because the book knows exactly what it is. It's a rip-roaring, scathing satire of hedonism and materialism, a pitch-black forerunner to Chuck Palahniuk's masterful FIGHT CLUB. This novel is utterly unique and totally unapologetic. So while I condemn the behavior in the book, I celebrate the artistry with which it's rendered. AMERICAN PSYCHO is a revolting, gut-churning masterwork. If you read it, I guarantee you'll feel a little worse about mankind afterward.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Krok Zero

    I would write a review, but I have to go return some videotapes. ******************* OK, I was gonna let the inside-joke above stand, but I guess I do feel like getting some thoughts down about America's Next Top Psycho. At this point I'm sure it bores everyone to dredge up the whole misogyny question again, but it still puzzles me that smart people who must certainly know not to confuse the character's perspective with the author's continue to pull the concern-troll card here. Like, it's perfectly I would write a review, but I have to go return some videotapes. ******************* OK, I was gonna let the inside-joke above stand, but I guess I do feel like getting some thoughts down about America's Next Top Psycho. At this point I'm sure it bores everyone to dredge up the whole misogyny question again, but it still puzzles me that smart people who must certainly know not to confuse the character's perspective with the author's continue to pull the concern-troll card here. Like, it's perfectly valid if you think the satire in the book fails, or even if you think the violence is overwrought, but anyone who thinks this book is misogynistic must also believe that Mark Twain was racist for using the word "nigger" repeatedly in Huck Finn. You can't and won't convince me that there's any meaningful difference. Of course, what's unfortunate about the "does this book hate women" discourse is that it blocks discussion of the hundreds of pages of this book that do not contain violence towards women or men. One thing that surprised me (going in, as I did, with various preconceptions) was that Patrick Bateman is not really the cartoon character that Christian Bale portrayed in the movie. I mean, my memory of the film is dim, and I know that Bale was great in it, but on the page Bateman is a lot scarier because he's self-aware. You can't just dismiss him as an easily mockable artificial construct or a satirical avatar of Ellis's anti-yuppie vitriol, because you're living inside his head for 400 pages, and it's clear that he knows exactly what he is -- and, more disturbingly, he seems to be the only character in the book for whom this is true. I think that's the elephant in the room that people who talk about American Psycho either don't understand or don't wanna face: Bateman, as monstrous as he is, is actually the hero of this story. He's the only one who speaks directly and listens to people, while everyone else is off in their own solipsistic haze; he's the only one who seems to have any interests beyond the rank materialism of snazzy clothes and trendy restaurants, it's just that those interests involve sadistic torture and murder; he's the only one with any apparent concerns about the world and his place in it. Given the utter voidlike vapidity of every single person in this novel, it's not unreasonable to say that Bateman is the only one with a soul. That is the truly frightening thing about this book, moreso than any of the torture-porn scenes. Personally, I prefer the tragic simplicity of Ellis's Less Than Zero. Psycho can be repetitive and, I think, inconsistent -- is the eloquent, charming Bateman of the first chapter's dinner party really the same guy as the Bateman who can't complete any basic social interaction without begging off to go return some videotapes? Maybe it's just his descent into total madness, but something about the evolution of the character felt improvisatory on Ellis's part. The other thing that's mostly missing here, which is why I think it's ultimately inferior to Less Than Zero, is the subtly calibrated pathos that made the earlier novel such a knockout. Without resorting to speeches or explanations, Ellis expressed in Less Than Zero a deep sadness that belied the narrator's affectless tone. In American Psycho, there was really only one moment that felt like the kind of grace note I loved in the earlier book, and I'll paste it here: We had to leave the Hamptons because I would find myself standing over our bed in the hours before dawn, with an ice pick gripped in my fist, waiting for Evelyn to open her eyes. That's the most beautiful sentence in either book, maybe the only truly beautiful sentence Ellis has ever written -- his strengths as a writer do not really include handsome prose. It's such a chilling image -- not a visceral horror like the infamous rat scene, but something that hits you right in the soul, something that, again, makes it impossible to domesticate Bateman by laughing at him. I wish there was more like it. But in the absence of that, there is plenty to laugh at; I loved the book's comic centerpiece, an all-night conference call between Bateman and a few of his buddies as they spend hours trying to figure out where to eat dinner. It's the kind of marathon absurdism I love, like Mr. Show's Story of Everest bit, where you can't believe how long the joke is being dragged out, and eventually the dragging-out becomes the joke, to the point that you get irritated, but then the joke laps your irritation and you find it hilarious again. Bateman's lone encounter with law enforcement (actually a P.I.) is played for laughs instead of suspense (a smart move given Ellis's total lack of interest in any kind of narrative momentum), in one of the weirdest and funniest of the dialogue scenes. And it never stops being funny when Bateman will straight-up admit, in plain English, that he is a mass murderer, and his conversation partner will not register his confession at all -- because Ellis's most abundantly clear point is that people in this culture did not (do not?) listen to each other, at all, even a little bit. So nah, I don't think this is a Great American Novel, or the Great Gatsby of the late 20th century (as one Goodreads reviewer floated), although I do think that's what Ellis was going for, in his own sick way. But twenty years later it's still stirring up debate, and if that's not a mark of good litterachurr I dunno what is.

  27. 5 out of 5

    TK421

    The scariest thing about this book for me is that since I finished reading it--almost eight years ago--I still look around when I am in a crowded place at the faces of the people and wonder: Which one of you thinks like Patrick Bateman? Which one of you is ready to snap? Perhaps these other faces think the same when they look at me... VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

  28. 4 out of 5

    Loretta

    I'm not sure what to say about this book. It just wasn't for me. 👎🏻

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rowena

    May 4, 2013: I couldn't finish this I'm afraid. Too much racism, sexism, homophobia, materialism, narcissism etc etc. It just wasn't for me. May 26, 2013: I really dislike leaving a book unfinished so after some consideration and some gentle nudging from a GR friend, I decided to finish reading the book. After reading the remaining chapters, my rating hasn't changed; I still dislike the book. Yes, the title does clearly suggests psychotic events will be found in the book but I wasn't ready for th May 4, 2013: I couldn't finish this I'm afraid. Too much racism, sexism, homophobia, materialism, narcissism etc etc. It just wasn't for me. May 26, 2013: I really dislike leaving a book unfinished so after some consideration and some gentle nudging from a GR friend, I decided to finish reading the book. After reading the remaining chapters, my rating hasn't changed; I still dislike the book. Yes, the title does clearly suggests psychotic events will be found in the book but I wasn't ready for the extreme graphic descriptions of brutality depicted. They are honestly the most brutal I have ever read, and as I am a very squeamish person, there was no way I was ever going to enjoy this book. I also got bored by the repetitive descriptions of food and fashion. I understand why the author felt compelled to put them in but it got annoying after a while. What I did like were the few chapters that discussed 1980s music icons. Whitney Houston and Genesis in particular. I love 80s music and so I enjoyed those chapters a lot. Well, I am proud of myself for placing myself outside of my reading comfort-zone! I don't think I will ever read another book similar to this one.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leo .

    They say that most serial killers and sociopaths start off by killing animals. Building up their evil threshold and barbaric skills. I read this book back in the 1990's. I did think it was a good book but I hated all the animal cruelty. It was a chore to read through to the end. Too much graphic violence and less about the character's psyche. If you love animals give it a wide berth. Also a film starring Christian Bale. I would give that a wide berth too.

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