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!