American Lit · Books that have film Adaptations · horror lit

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

“This is not an exit.”

I guess I should’ve had a bit more sense to avoid a book with the word Psycho in the title if I wasn’t looking to be revolted. Ah, live and learn I guess. I suppose I expected good things seeing as the film was tolerable.

It put across the consumerist-driven society of 1980s yuppie Manhattan, with a large chunk of the book being an inventory of what people are wearing. A good bit about the book is that food is described with uxurious intensity. I know that is a big part of the book’s problem, that the consumerism is defined by being seen and spending as much money as possible while doing it.

Interspersed with the chapters of murder, mutilation and money, there are chapters about his music tastes too. I guess its supposed to break up the banality of it but it only adds to it. In the book Patrick Bateman’s status as an unreliable narrator is exposed and while this was certainly interesting I don’t think it was really good enough to save the book in my estimations.

I understand that the book is supposed to be a statement about yuppie culture, but the murder and violence got too much. I can stand pretty much anything when it comes to horror and violence but it really was too much. Every murder was highly sexualized and described with a total lack of empathy. It’s like a sexual assault on the senses, and not one to read if you don’t want to feel filthy for days afterwards.

There is too much violence and brutality for this book to be tolerable. That being said, the cultural notes of the book were an interesting part of the book and the only reason I give this book a singular *. Culturally, it is always interesting to read about Donald Trump in the 1980s context especially given the current American political climate.

I just hated this book and I don’t think I’ll really endeavor to read it again.

MY RATING: * / *****

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