American Psycho

American Psycho

Book - 1991
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c
ckapadia
Jul 14, 2020

Gave up after 10 pages. Makes Holden Caufield look like a boy scout.

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Bubba_Louie
Jan 13, 2020

Believe me - "American Psycho" is one difficult book to recommend to others as being an enjoyable or worthwhile read. Yep. There's no doubt about that!

Its long-winded story repeatedly swings, like a pendulum (back & forth), between boring and monotonous descriptions of boring and monotonous people and that of gruesomely detailed narration, graphically depicting human murder and mutilation.

To be sure - "American Psycho" in not the sort of literary material that is likely to appeal to the vast tastes of a wide-ranging audience of readers out there. No way, Jose!

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NeoNoir
Dec 19, 2019

Appropriately titled "American Psycho" (Uh? Did I just hear someone mention the name of Donald Trump!?) - This book of in-your-face horror and twisted-minded gore is certainly one helluva bumpy roller-coaster ride where the reader doesn't know whether to laugh out loud or else cringe with total revulsion at this downright demented tale of modern-day madness.

Originally published back in 1991 - "American Psycho" is widely considered to be one of the most scathing and cynical statements pertaining to the overwhelming superficiality and callousness that prevails at present (and continues to grow) in American society today.

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lmm3629
Aug 09, 2019

Reader BEWARE!!! I like to consider myself a horror genre enthusiast. Stephen King is my favorite author. Gore, murder and uncomfortable situations do not faze me much. This book, however, went way beyond 'the line'. If detailed stories on how to torture
and murder humans and animals is your thing, then this book is for you. Otherwise, stay far, far away.

d
dennismmiller
Jul 20, 2019

Patrick Bateman is certainly a wealthy Wall Street executive. He is probably an undiagnosed schizophrenic. He may be a serial killer.

Reading American Psycho is an unpleasant experience. Of course, there are the detailed descriptions of grisly, sadistic violence, much of it of a sexual nature, but equally dreadful are the extensive descriptions, at some point during each of Bateman's encounters, of the designer fashions everyone is wearing, often accompanied by similarly elaborate descriptions of brand name electronics and popular music. American Psycho is often described as a satire on the '80s, or Wall Street, or both, but is not nearly so narrow. Bateman and his circle could be displaced with only minor adaptations to contemporary LA or DC - indeed, the presence of Donald Trump as Bateman's idol offers a tempting invitation to any exceptionally dull filmmakers with access to the movie rights. It is even easy to imagine a alternate version of the novel following a Dennis Rader-like figure living quietly in the suburbs. Bateman's curse is not wealth or Reaganism, but boredom. He attempts to escape from his superficial world through increasingly frenzied acts of transgression, but they only compound his problem.

Unfortunately. the same superficiality characterizes the novel itself. It is based around a gimmick - vapid investment banker is a crazed killer, only he's so boring that no one notices - and although Ellis pushes it as far as he can, it only goes so far.

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candlesticktroughs
May 07, 2019

This was a publication sensation: people thought it was a guilty pleasure to read a work which featured such a sociopathic protagonist, and yet enjoyed it! Unfortunately, what was once a vice has become a habit; this trend now runs deep in our society. Elsewhere it has been diagnosed as narcissism.

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lunabookworm55
May 05, 2019

There's some funny and unexpected turns to this book, like the fact that everyone around the main character is so oblivious to the point where's he's nearly asking for his friends and colleagues to notice how twisted he is, but he's frustrated because they play it off as "and off-color, clever sense of humor" when he's being completely serious. At first I thought this book only brought up sexual situations in this book to make a commentary on how porn is passed off as "perfectly fine" for grown people to watch even though addiction to it can mess up your relationships and day to day life, but then the book got really descriptive and heavy-handed with those moments. I wouldn't recommend this book because of that, it started looking promising as a book that had things to critique and something to say with an interesting tone, but turned out to basically be a porno with murders occasionally being featured as "commercial breaks".

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Derringer
Feb 21, 2019

American Psycho is a truly twisted tale about a modern-day serial killer (young, handsome and horny) who mutilates, butchers and tortures his victims without any conscience or remorse, whatsoever.

In many ways this is a mighty tough book to read. Author Brett Easton Ellis puts the reader through a real grind of having to read full chapters of superficial descriptions (and other such nonsense), meticulously outlining the shallow characters in the story and their empty-headed, fashion-conscious interests.

Anyway - If you are an impatient reader, American Psycho's nerve-racking story will most certainly put you through an endurance test as it gleefully depicts murder and madness of the most hideous kind.

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Thucyd1t3s
Dec 06, 2018

This was an excellent portrayal of the psychological collapse of an emotionally shallow, ethically untethered man. For the first 150 pages or so. I get the impression the author didn't know where to go with it, so decided that the edgiest thing he could do was have his character decide to hate gay men, kill men, and torture and kill women in graphic written detail, though (spoiler) he may be delusional regarding the latter two. The latter half feels schlocky and lazy - seriously, if the character loathes gay men, why is he killing women? It would have been far more interesting to explore how his interior deterioration is reflected in how his acquaintances react and how his life comes apart, but the writer seems unwilling to delve into the likely consequences of the character's behavior.

a
alicat1
Feb 22, 2018

Psychotic rages aside, this read
represents a detailed tribute to the materialistic
trappings of the Manhattan Yuppie existence, with
pop-artist evaluations woven between killings.

z
zvanstanley
Jan 04, 2018

Before reading this book, there are a few things you should know:

1. It is incredibly graphic, in regards to both sex and violence. It only gets more graphic as the book goes on.
2. It is intentionally shocking.
3. You are not supposed to like the main character at all.
4. It is a criticism of consumerism.

Knowing this should make the book a little easier to read.

b
bookreaderman
Aug 23, 2017

pretty good book i read it in grade 10 with my book club hahahahaha. the writing encapsulates the materialistic yuppie lifestyle from the perspective of a psychopath. the gory parts are pretty gory as you would expect and if you actually experience feelings horror from books this one isn't for you but if you aren't weird, read on :)!

a
Abrockin
Oct 12, 2016

Couldn't stand reading this novel.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Sep 08, 2016

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis was the best horror and psychological thriller that I ever read; Ellis’s writing style drew me in instantly because it was so different than others. Patrick Bateman is a 26-year-old investment banker who works on Wall Street. He’s very critical of his own and other’s clothing, as well as his physical appearance; Ellis conveys this through his copious observations of others’ clothing and their brands. In an essay-like format, Bateman analyzes various music albums, as well as describing the features of everything he owns. Through these detailed descriptions, he exhibits his sophisticated nature. However, Bateman’s alter ego is far from his facade. When no one’s around, he finds humour in killing innocent people and sexual pleasure in torturing and murdering women. In excruciating detail, Ellis describes how Bateman murders and tortures each person. Patrick Bateman is the epitome of psychopathy and his character made me feel queasy throughout the entire novel. I give this book a 4.5/5 star rating and recommend it for ages 18+ due to excessive sexual and graphic descriptions as well as foul language. @ilovefood of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board

This is not a book for the faint of heart, or for those wishing for a fanciful journey through the twisting turns of storytelling. This is a book about Patrick Bateman: a mid-twenty, handsome, well-dressed, charming, well-dressed, Wall Street working, well-dressed, psychopath.  Did I mention well-dressed?  This is a black comedy written from the perspective of the psychopath himself, and as such, you can expect nothing less than a cold, calculating, scrutinizing narrative that very much takes into account dress as a symbol of stature – often.  Although this is a very interesting piece of literature, and there are very, very few so adventurous in the way in which they are told – there really is nothing like it – it ultimately is becomes quite a samey feeling book, leaving the reader almost completely uninterested about anything happening half way through.  Luckily, events nearing the end of the novel garner the reader’s well-deserved attention with great storytelling; however, the book does suffer from inherently being told by a psychopath: it’s intensely dry.
- @FalcoLombardi of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

saharri1 Mar 23, 2016

Brilliant satire of greed, excess, narcissism, and the downward spiral that accompanies undeserved privelege. Extremely violent, but necessarily so. Commodity fetishism as sociopathy.

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ben_norman
Jul 23, 2015

Beautifully written, viseral and perfect. A beautiful commentary on the shallow nature of man( we are so preoccupied with ourselves, we don't even notice a murderer in our midst even when he confesses) and the mindless preoccupation with the rich. A powerful and important piece. I love this book and will happily read it again and again. Brutal and graphic; Not for the faint of heart. My favourite book by far.

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wormboy
Dec 03, 2014

To donb0099:

I wasn't going to read this book until I read your little review. You've made it sound appealing to me. I'm going to check out a copy right now. Thanks!

BTW, you should look into doing work for New York Times Book Review. I think you have a future in it.

m
ManMachine
May 11, 2014

Here are three cold, hard facts about American Psycho, a sensationally controversial and decidedly brutal piece of modern-day horror-fiction. (1) Published in 1991, gay-closeted novelist, Brett Easton Ellis, wrote this cruel-minded story as his way of venting his deep-rooted hatred towards women.

(2) In the many months following its publication, Ellis received numerous death threats and slews of hate mail.

(3) When Canadian serial killer/rapist, Paul Bernardo, was finally arrested for his heinous crimes in 1993, he claimed that he read this book as his "bible".

Even though American Psycho does contain plenty of perverse and twisted humor, it would be ridiculous to say that this is a novel which can be taken lightly. Generously laced with graphically-detailed descriptions of mutilation, cannibalism & necrophillia, I found this book to be a very trying experience.

In between page after page of frivolous descriptions, rambling on and on about who's wearing whose designer-label fashions, and who's not, Ellis meticulously depicts the incomprehensible depths of madness as he quite accurately captures the insanity of violence which prevails in our time.

Believe me, American Psycho is not a book for the squeamish, nor is it for the impatient reader.

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erinsitter
Mar 22, 2014

Yes, this book is tough to read. There's no argument there.

The main character's attention to detail is painful at times. But that's kinda the point. He's so self-absorbed and self-entitled that he can't help focus on (and describe in minute detail) the style, attitudes and social status of those that surround him. It's all he knows and all he aspires to be. He's totally crazy, too, but the fact that he blends so seamlessly into the high-society world he occupies is truly frightening.

Love this book, but not for the faint of heart.

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donb0099
Nov 07, 2013

This is the worst book I have read part way through before just giving up as a waste of my time. The author uses this completely distracting style that includes describing the clothing that everyone is wearing in every scene. He must be getting paid by the word and this is his way of padding a completely non plotted novel.

Plus, he obviously has serious issues with women. Anyone that can dream up the sick, demented stuff his protagonist does to women is seriously ill.

I really wasted my life reading the amount of this book that I did.

JUNK. TRASH. UNREADABLE.

v
VRMurphy
Apr 17, 2013

This is a problematic book. It is beautifully, tighly written, and it is elegant social and economic satire. BUT... the brutal, sadistic violence is too much. I get the point, he describes everything else in such detail, the violent scenes couldn't be glossed over, it's part of the point of his comment on society. It's just too bad that Ellis is such a good writer, because I can't condemn this book. I certainly won't re-read it though, which I will with some of his other work. And I can't honestly recommend it. I wonder if later in life, Ellis will look back on this the way Anthony Burgess did on "A Clockwork Orange", and regret publishing it.

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chgarland
Mar 17, 2011

SPOILER ALERT

As I recall from having read this book many years ago, by the end of the book, Bateman is taking his bloody sheets to the laundry and no one pays any attention to them at all. This lead me to conclude that none of the bloodshed in this book really happened. I decided that the whole thing was a metaphor for Bateman rebelling against the utter emptiness of his life: the meaningless job, the vapid girls, the men trapped just as much as he is. The extremely long discourses on popular music point up the emptiness of Bateman's soul, not in the sense of being a psychopath, but in the sense of having lost his soul and having no idea whatsoever of how to get it back. The book was a rather nihilistic meditation on life in New York in the 80s.

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mattgren06
Aug 14, 2010

I give it a very good because of the fact that this book is not only disturbing, but will affect you. This book is extremely graphic, violent and disturbing and it will put you in a rotten and violent mood while you read it. Be careful reading this guy.

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AlanaS
Oct 09, 2009

An interesting book that looks at the mind of a serial killer from his perspective. I have to admit that I still don't know what I think about this book, I may have to re-read to form a more concrete opinion about it.

r
Ringwood
Jun 18, 2008

This novel is one of the most disturbing I have ever read. While it's relatively well-written (aside from the constant references to the characters' clothing choices, which gets tedious at best), I found it pointless. That said, I also found it extremely hard to put down. Basically a look into the life of 'Wall Street executive by day/raving psychopath by night ' Patrick Bateman, the book is full of disturbingly violent imagery and situations, and tries hard to comment on the materialistic 'Me' society of the 1980's. It fails badly in my opinion and ends up being nothing more than a gore fest.


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