Thursday, 22 January 2009

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

I just got back from two weeks' holiday, and that was really the only reason I chose to read this book- I wanted to read something new for the book challenge, and it looked more interesting than Portrait of a Bleeding Heart. I assumed, seeing as it is called, after all, American Psycho, some of the content would be a bit shocking.

Jesus Christ. It was an awful book. I am not shocked easily. I read Wicked Beyond Belief with nary a flinch, I watched Sweeney Todd and complained that it wasn't as gory as I had expected. But this book- not only did I both flinch and turn away from some parts, the grisly, graphic description of one of the murders made me gag. It was truly disgusting.
The book is filled with graphic murders and tortures, sex, and swearing, but it's written in a very stream-of-consciousness sort of way. It's probably supposed to give a sense of Bateman's psychoticness, and the feeling of this group of boring people with nothing in their lives, but it just made the book vaguely boring. The long, rambling chapters on different musical groups annoyed me, just because they had nothing to do with the story or anything- they were just there.

To summarise, the book follows the life of Patrick Bateman in incredible detail. Bateman is a rapist, murderer and psychopath. He is exactly the same as everyone else in his mundane life in Manhattan- yet in his spare time, he brutally slays and mutilates hundreds of women, blinds homeless men because he can, takes cocaine and is a complete nutcase.
Reading American Psycho has changed my opinion on things- I will now be forever suspicious of charming yuppies, and the whole "stranger-danger" thing is really forward in my mind now.

The book was well-written, but it was incredibly, incredibly shocking. It made me wonder how the writer actually managed to think up such things- it was that awful. In a weird way, it's a good book, but I don't know many people who could read it.

I wouldn't say that I enjoyed the book, but I didn't dislike either. As far as recommendation goes, if you don't like your murders gory and your sex scenes explicit, this book is most definitely not for you. Even people like me, who have strong stomachs and can deal with most stuff like this, I guarantee you, you will be horrified.
It's the sort of book I would say that you should read if you're at the library and you pass it, but I wouldn't say you should rush out and try and find it.

1 comment:

  1. you've kind of missed the point of the ending, in that, was it real? or were the murders and brutality all just part of his twisted imagination and psychosis. Is a true American Psycho someone who does these horrible things or just wishes they could.

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