Disclaimer: American Psycho is one of my all time favorite movies, with one of my all time favorite on screen performances. I read this book hearing Christian Bale’s voice in my head. Therefore, I went into this journey with a bias in its favor.
Let me get the “negatives” out of the way first. Ellis is a self-indulgent writer (granted, he was only 27 when writing this which is prime time for the male ego). This story could have been told in far less than 400 pages. It is filled with repetitive chunks (chapters…potato, potahto) that could easily be skipped by the 5th time the subject is addressed, and you won’t miss out on anything plot wise. I know what you’re thinking – “Why are you about to say you loved this book? It includes so many of your pet peeves with writers.” And my answer to you is this – it all works when the narrator of the story is Patrick Bateman.
Bateman is psychotic and obsessive. He dwells on every materialistic detail of the world around him; and now you do too, because you are 110% in his head for all 399 pages. So, the self-indulgence, and OCD patterns, make perfect sense. At the core of this book is a ridiculously well-constructed character, a dark and well-timed sense of humor, and a strong statement on the obsession with consumer materialism as a means of achieving happiness in American society. Bret Easton Ellis had a lot to say during a dark time in his life, and his voice certainly resonated throughout American Psycho.
I would not recommend this book to every reader I know – spoiler alert: homeboy gets graphic. And just when you think sex and murder couldn’t possibly be described in further, and more gruesome detail, he proves you wrong…repeatedly. But, to those who have the taste that this book requires, or are looking to explore something outside the norm for them, it is high on the list.
Rating: 4 Bloody Stars