Becky’s One Hundred and Sixty-First Book Review: “American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis

“American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis is one of the most disturbing books that I have ever read. It took me a very long time to read it just because I had to keep putting it down every time the book went into awful territory. It’s interesting. I read a lot of books that are disturbing, I love true crime, I love horror, and I love thrillers: the more disturbing the better. Yet when it came to reading “American Psycho” I found myself sick to my stomach multiple times. For whatever reason, I felt the need to push through and finish the book. But it’s hard to describe just how twisted Bret Easton Ellis writing is and even more so why I felt the need to finish his book.

““I’m resourceful,” Price is saying. “I’m creative, I’m young, unscrupulous, highly motivated, highly skilled. In essence what I’m saying is that society cannot afford to lose me. I’m an asset.”” (American Psycho, pg 3). I liked this quote because it captures the essence of the kind of people that surround Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho”. Everyone in and around his world spend all their time trying to prove how hip, how in demand, how rare they are. His world is full of phonies so it really comes as no surprise that Bateman finds himself going a bit mad. That’s really an understatement for what Bateman is and what he does. He is a serial killer.

What was really interesting about reading “American Psycho”, which is narrated by Patrick Bateman was being privy to his psychotic thoughts. He doesn’t shift personality when he goes between meeting colleagues for lunch to chopping someone to bits. Everything he does is cool and calculated. “…Vaguely disappointed, I made a few more calls, but only halfheartedly, opening today’s mail while doing so, and I finally hung up in midsentence when I came across a personalized reminder from Clifford, the guy who helps me at Armani, that there was a private sale at the boutique on Madison…two weeks ago! and though I figured out that one of the doormen probably withheld the card to piss me off, it still doesn’t erase the fact that I missed the fucking sale, and dwelling over this loss while wandering down Central Park West somewhere around Seventy-sixth, Seventy-fifth, it strikes me profoundly that the world is more often than not a bad and cruel place.” (American Psycho, pg 162). The way that he reacts to missing a sale, I just thought this illuminated just how crazy he is.

Throughout the novel, Patrick Bateman is unraveling more and more. He quickly becomes reckless in his homicidal behaviors. “Life remained a blank canvas, a cliché, a soap opera. I felt lethal, on the verge of frenzy. My nightly bloodlust overflowed into my days and I had to leave the city. My mask of sanity was a victim of impending slippage. This was the bone season for me and I needed a vacation.” (American Psycho, pg 279).

Would I recommend this book? I honestly don’t know. Bret Eason Ellis does spin an interesting tale, however this book is not for everyone. It’s not something most people, in fact, would enjoy. It’s a disturbing book, and even after having finished it I’m not sure how I felt about it. I know that I’m glad that I did not buy it. This was a good use of the library. I sincerely doubt I will ever pick this book up again. That being said, Bret Easton Ellis’s writing intrigues me and I have put another book of his on hold. “American Psycho” is not a good book to share with most people. I will not be recommending it to my parents. I will not be recommending it to most, but there is something there, something addictive in his writing that makes me want to keep reading his works.

“We stare at each other endlessly. I’m convinced she sense I’m about to say something. I’ve seen this look on someone’s face before. Was it in a club? A victim’s expression? Had it appeared on a movie screen recently? Or had I seen it in the mirror?” (American Psycho, pg 369)

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