Patrick Bateman is twenty-six and works on Wall Street; he is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. American Psycho is a bleak, bitter, black comedy about a world we all recognize but do not wish to face and it takes us to a head-on collision with America’s greatest dream — and its worst nightmare.
First published: 1991
Honestly, I don’t even really know how to write this review, which is also why there was no post on Sunday. Basically, American Psycho ruined my week and I didn’t want to think about it anymore, but I promised I’d review all the books I had to read for the contemporary literature course I’m taking, and I feel like the bad reviews have to be written, too.
The thing with this novel, however, is that I didn’t just not like it. It goes much deeper than that. The contents genuinely scared and upset me, and not just as a reader or a student, but as a person.
The novel depicts a psychopath, Patrick Bateman, who cares more about what clothes he’s wearing and which clubs he goes to than about the people (mostly women) he tortures, rapes and murders. The reader experiences the story through Bateman’s eyes and gets to read very graphic and detailed descriptions about what he does to the people he tortures.
I got 300 pages into the book, but I didn’t finish it, and I’m not planning on finishing it anytime soon. Maybe I’m ready to read this novel ten years from now, but right now I’m not in the right place to read it. As a twenty year old girl it is terrifying to read about the complete and utter terror of a girl who’s being raped and tortured. Because, let’s face it, many girls of my age are sometimes afraid of getting raped.
However, to do American Psycho some justice I have to say I do respect this book; it’s extremely well-written and an effective social critique. It is one of a kind; no novel will have the kind of effect on you as this one does. I talked about it with my teacher today, and he said he still doesn’t know whether he hates it or loves it.
There is so much more to this novel than rape and murder, and, honestly, if it didn’t scare me as much as it did, I’m pretty sure I would’ve been in awe of American Psycho (although I’m still not sure if that would’ve been positive awe or negative awe).
Just know what you’re getting into before reading it, is all I’m saying.
And now I’m done with American Psycho for a looong time. See you on Sunday for what I hope will be a more cheerful post!
5 thoughts on “American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis”
You did a good job!
I’m actually happy to hear you say (so to speak) you didn’t know how to review this book – I haven’t blogged my review/discussion yet, and I read it twenty years ago! It’s a difficult book to review.
This is not a usual comment from me – honest.
I started this to just tell you – ‘I had the worst nightmares of my life after reading this!’ But then it grew to what it is now! I’m sorry! Haha!
The fact that he DOES think more about his wardrobe and career than he does about the women… that says so much about the psychopath who is Patrick Bateman… That’s not why I’m commenting, sorry.
I read this book when I was only a couple years older than you, (I’m 42 now, btw).
First, let me say… I have always been a huge horror fan, can’t tell you how many books I’ve read, or movies I’ve watched. Since reading it, I have read worse – (graphically, anyway). (Don’t judge me – hahaha!)
Still, to this day, no book or movie has EVER affected me like AMERICAN PSYCHO.
I don’t know if it was B.E.E.’s portrayal of Patrick Bateman, or the graphic scenes, or P.B.’s mentality that you mentioned.
Whatever the reason – I had the worst nightmares. Many nights, not just one, and they lasted long after finishing the book. That is not something that happens to me, or I wouldn’t be a horror fan. I was (subconsciously) scared to go out after dark for a little while after reading it, too.
I downloaded American Psycho when I got my first ereader, and downloaded a different e-format when I got my Kindle.
I’ve never re-read it.
I’ve watched the movie a few times, but it’s NOT the same. (The social commentary in the movie feels a bit more satirical.) They’re just two totally different pieces of work.
You’re review is great! I am going to say – ‘I hope you finish it one day’, but I don’t know if I mean it. You’ve grasped the concept, you ‘get’ it.
I’m excited to check out more of your reviews. I’m a horror fan/reader/blogger, but I’m interested in seeing your take on the books from your contemporary lit class!
(I found your blog from the Liebster post by Cathy746books)
Nice to meet you!
P, L, & N
Wow, I’m sorry! I just kept going, and going…
That’s too long, and too much.
I won’t be offended if you remove it.
That’s really okay! I appreciate you giving your opinion about and experiences with the book because I’m curious about what other people think of it. I think it’s hard to find a book that has quite the effect on a reader as this one does… I still can’t say if I’ll ever finish it or not, but you’re right — I have grasped the concept and for now that’s enough. Thanks for commenting!