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American Psycho

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  137,679 ratings  ·  5,994 reviews
Patrick Bateman is handsome, well educated, intelligent. He works by day on Wall Street earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. His nights he spends in ways we cannot begin to fathom. He is twenty-six years old and living his own American Dream.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published March 1991 by Vintage Contemporaries / Random House
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Lara I saw the humour threaded throughout the entire novel. Ellis alternates between excessively black humour and a more tragic kind of honesty. He's…moreI saw the humour threaded throughout the entire novel. Ellis alternates between excessively black humour and a more tragic kind of honesty. He's incredibly mocking and satirical, but ultimately he makes a serious statement. (less)
Lara I sort of saw the excessive mentioning of brands as a very specific technique. To me, this was one of Bateman's coping mechanisms, his persistent…moreI sort of saw the excessive mentioning of brands as a very specific technique. To me, this was one of Bateman's coping mechanisms, his persistent focus on material things because they're concrete and real, as opposed to the detachment he feels when he's really losing touch with reality. Brand names were also used to reinforce everyone's focus on material things, and everyone's warped sense of what is important.(less)
American Psycho by Bret Easton EllisLord of the Flies by William Golding1984 by George OrwellA Child Called "It" by Dave PelzerA Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Most Disturbing Book Ever Written
1st out of 1,643 books — 5,870 voters
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Community Reviews

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jason, an old high school buddy, knew i was in manhattan for a few nights and asked to meet up for dinner. fuck it, i'm a sentimental guy, and it's nice to catch up -- even with a wall street douchebag. jason told me that lisa, another old friend, would be joining. here's the conversational breakdown at dinner:

20 minutes: comparing features on their new blackberries.
40 minutes: the new zagat guide and the city's best restaurants.
20 minutes: glib commentary on people we grew up with.

lisa leave

This may be the only book I've rated 5 stars that I have NO intention of EVER reading again. Ever. After finishing this, I was forced to wait until my brain had cooled down and re-congealed before I could cogitate sufficiently to put my experience with this novel into words.

And yet, even after almost 36 hours have ticked by, the only word that keeps bubbling up to the surface of my consciousness is...WOW both the good and not so good vareity.

At first, I'd thought about try
Jan 27, 2008 Lauryl rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: strong stomached feminist scholars
I actually read this book a few years ago, but I stumbled across the Goodreads reviews of it, and felt I needed to add my voice, because it is such a difficult piece of lit in a lot of ways,and honestly, it probably is more deserving of a thesis paper than of a measly little review on Goodreads.
American Psycho is a brilliant book. Genius. It will no doubt deservingly be remembered as Bret Easton Ellis's masterpiece, his tour-de-force of sadist misanthropy.

I effing HATED it.

American Psycho is a b
Paul Bryant
Aug 21, 2014 Paul Bryant rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: men who really hate women
(another update incorporating comments about BEE's latest novel - apparently he's still at it!)

Before we start - a quote by Norman Mailer about Bret Easton Ellis : "How one wishes this writer was without talent!"


People think the pages and pages of descriptions of hacking and chopping up women are ironic.
Well, in one sense they are, but in another sense they aren't.
People who like this book should ask themselves why they want to read pages and pages of descriptions of hacking and chopp

paul bryant recently reviewed/revised his review of this book (hi, paul bryant!) and i read it and the dozens of intelligent remarks his negative review sparked,both pro and anti-this book, and there isn't anything i can add to the discussion that hasn't already been said by people far
Petra X
This book is TRUE. I live on an island of bankers, investment brokers and trust company lawyers and all of them are drunken, mad psychopaths with Jack Nicholson laughs and a propensity for getting into a lot of trouble at weekends.

They drink and they snort and they screw and they sail and they make loads of money and every now and again some of them disappear never to be heard of again. The women, the secretaries and admin staff come out from the UK husband-hunting but quickly find they are the
Emily May
This book shocked me. Though not for any of the reasons I might have expected.

Not shocking fact #1: This book is about a psychopath.
Yes, how very astute of me. I hadn't seen the movie before I picked American Psycho up, but most people who know a bit about books know a bit about Patrick Bateman. Despite this book not being very old, Bateman has a certain infamy amongst fictional serial killers and psychopaths. He is so wholly devoid of morality, completely disconnected from reality and human emo
Dan Martin
Dec 29, 2014 Dan Martin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people with open minds
Shelves: fiction, favorites
This book blew me away. First of all, you have to be prepared to be let into the mind of a psychopath. That entails more than murder, which a lot of people reviewing this book completely miss. Watch out for these two types of brainless reviews. "Its worth the boring stuff for the violence". or "It's misogynistic! And about murdering people. You like that?". I know it's not standard, but a protagonist CAN be a villian. If you think experiencing or creating something makes you an advocate of it, y ...more
Ben Winch
I don't usually bother giving negative reviews here, but I feel it's time to nail my colours to the mast and identify a few problematic titles. Problem #1: American Psycho.

It's funny how many people qualify their glowing reviews of this book with the words 'I didn't enjoy it but...,' as if it contained some bitter but necessary medicine. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I would have thought even a disturbing book, movie, song or painting should at least be enjoyable on some level if it's to gain its
JaHy♕ Bitchy  Goddess ♥'s  everything CrAzY  ☿

 photo bad_thinking-300x222_zpsdd90652e.jpg

Are you easily offended? Do not read this book.
Are you easily frightened? Do not read this review.
Are you easily annoyed? Do not read this asshole .
Are you easily sickened? Do not read horrific tale.
Are you easily dizzied? Do not read anything.

Honestly, I have not idea why I enjoyed this materialistic, self centered, psychotic story, but GOD HELP ME, I DID. The only reason I decided to read the damn book is because I noticed it was #1 o
I'm finally about able to process this book. I remember when it came out in 1991, after Ellis's first book, LESS THAN ZERO, had been a precocious publishing phenomenon and his second, THE RULES OF ATTRACTION, had sucked but sold well. Everybody was waiting for something from the guy, some answer to the question of whether or not he was a genuine talent or just last month's flavor for an increasingly trend-driven publishing world.

Then he gave us AMERICAN PSYCHO, and everybody lost their shit. No
When a book sticks with you, you know it is powerful. It may not be entertaining, and it may be downright disturbing, but if you can't get it out of your head it is most certainly great, and that is my experience with American Psycho.

For me, it's about the music.

Bret Easton Ellis did something miraculous within Patrick Bateman's killings: he destroyed the music of Huey Lewis and the News, Genesis and Whitney Houston. Before every nasty killing, Bateman goes on a diatribe about the music of one o
The scariest thing about this book for me is that since I finished reading it--almost eight years ago--I still look around when I am in a crowded place at the faces of the people and wonder: Which one of you thinks like Patrick Bateman? Which one of you is ready to snap? Perhaps these other faces think the same when they look at me...


Stacia (the 2010 club)
Dec 03, 2013 Stacia (the 2010 club) rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Someone who can handle tons of gore
Recommended to Stacia (the 2010 club) by: Ash Wednesday
See Pat date.
See Pat screw.
See Pat mace.
See Pat use a nail gun.
See Pat eat flesh.
See Pat do obscene things with a severed head.
See Pat store body parts in random places.
Go, Pat, go!

1.5 stars Don't worry. That's the tame version. I didn't spoil the extreme parts of the story. Trust me.

It might be a long, long time before I read something which knocks American Psycho out of the top spot for "sickest thing I've ever witnessed," and I've read books which have had rape, murder, and gore aplenty i
May 26, 2013 Rowena rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who aren't squeamish, fans of the Eighties.
May 4, 2013:
I couldn't finish this I'm afraid. Too much racism, sexism, homophobia, materialism, narcissism etc etc. It just wasn't for me.

May 26, 2013:
I really dislike leaving a book unfinished so after some consideration and some gentle nudging from a GR friend, I decided to finish reading the book. After reading the remaining chapters, my rating hasn't changed; I still dislike the book. Yes, the title does clearly suggests psychotic events will be found in the book but I wasn't ready for th
Krok Zero
I would write a review, but I have to go return some videotapes.


OK, I was gonna let the inside-joke above stand, but I guess I do feel like getting some thoughts down about America's Next Top Psycho.

At this point I'm sure it bores everyone to dredge up the whole misogyny question again, but it still puzzles me that smart people who must certainly know not to confuse the character's perspective with the author's continue to pull the concern-troll card here. Like, it's perfectly
Jonathan Janz
I've been putting off writing a review of this novel because I have so many conflicting emotions about it. So I'll just streamline it by throwing my reactions at you haphazardly. You know, kind of like Patrick Bateman's disordered thoughts.

1. This book is vicious, vile, and often made me suppress a whimper. It's the only book that's ever sickened me to that degree.

2. Bret Easton Ellis, like him or not, is a masterful writer, and this is a masterful book.

3. I've never in my life felt so guilty
As far as I can tell, there are two ways to interpret this book. The first is as a hysterically funny, incredibly dark satire on the excess, greed and materialism of rich young Americans in the late 1980s. The second is as a hideously misogynist extended fantasy about the abuse, torture and murder of women. It's the second interpretation that raises issues for me. I am a feminist, and proud to say so; yet I absolutely loved this book. So is it possible to be a feminist and still enjoy American P ...more
May 13, 2007 Holly added it
Recommends it for: probably no one
I could not finish this book. In fact, when I finally (and gratefully) decided to stop reading it, I could not even bring myself to return it to my bookshelf. I actually threw it in the garbage, which I have never done to another book.

It's a shame, too, because up until about 3/4 of the way through, I LOVED this book. The writing is simply brilliant, and Ellis presents a fascinating and thought-provoking view of 1980's American society, made especially poignant by the fact that it is only mildl
My very limited research on psychopaths reveals that a potential 4% of the population has a sociopathic personality disorder. (source: Harvard psychologist Martha Stout Ph.D.)

In other words, one out of every twenty-five people is a psychopath----a person with no sense of concern for the well- being of others and no feelings of remorse, regardless of what sort of harmful or immoral action they undertake.

A psychopath is able to lie, cheat, steal and kill with no feelings of sorrow or regret. Some
mark monday
ever see that video Criminal, the one where a winsome and pathetic fiona apple is surrounded by empty beer bottles & video equiment as she writhes sadly in a closet, in the backseat of a car, and in a tub as some dude rubs his feet all over her face? ugh. this book is like that shitty, creepy video, except times 100. just thinking about parts of it makes me want to take a shower and rinse the muck off. Criminal had arty direction by an interesting director that i like, Mark Romanek. American ...more
okay, this is a good book. but it is also a gnarly book. ellis got a lot of flak from feminists after this came out because a lot of people believed it was a really sexist work. i don't necessarily agree. i think ellis was making more of a commentary on the behaviors of a certain class/race group of men in a certain time and geographical location. basically rich-as-god white stockbrokers in nyc in the 80s at the height of the greed is good times. how the power they were given (a lot of it imagin ...more
Bryce Wilson
Because sometimes life is shit.

This is the way Satire should be, no mercy no quarter. I love the construction of the novel, the way Bateman's madness is revealed gradually just dropped phrases, and idle thoughts which are given no more or less weight then the descriptions of conspicuous consumption that fill the book. How nothing actually happens for the first hundred and fifty pages or so, so by that time you're almost wanting some insanity to drop. And when it does it's just like "Oh God No."

I am not convinced that endless descriptions of murder and torture are a good metaphor for unrestrained eighties capitalism. Consequently, while I have read many books that made me uncomfortable or nauseous, I have not read any that did so for such weak returns.

The prose style is never better than competent. Generally it alternates between repellant and just very dull. I don't think it's hard to make readers feel sick and disgusted. If I tell you I have a puppy in one hand, and a blunt pencil in
Ian Klappenskoff
Australian Psycho 2012

We decided to catch up for a barbecue lunch in the park, rather than the sort of dinner party we used to have.

It was difficult getting everybody together, what with kids' sport and, for those whose kids had already grown up, there was some initial reluctance because the football season had started, whatever code you followed.

I started to look at my wardrobe on Thursday, I still have everything I've ever bought that hasn't physically worn out, even jeans that I won't fit int
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Revision: I think the comments section of this review is better than the review.

So I find myself writing much more in comments sections than I do in my own review sections. Occasionally I think I've had something good to say in these online conversations. So for this review I present a series of posts (mostly mine) from the comments section of another review of this book which basically began with some general thoughts on feminism and then veered more directly toward the book:

Message 9: Some of
Stephen M
I was reading the onion the other day, a satirical “news” source that I enjoy very much. They’re very well known for their fearlessness and their tendency to push the envelope for which I’ve always been happy. I was raised with some vague (and other not so vague) libertarian ideals, one of which says that all is fair game in comedy and free speech and that as long as it’s funny, who cares who would end up being offending? Principles of free speech and freedom of expression trump almost all other ...more
MJ Nicholls
The Correspondents #3

Dear Patrick,

I read your novel American Psycho the other week and I must protest. Firstly, Genesis’s shining moment is the single ‘I Can’t Dance’—a beautiful admission of terpsichorean ineptitude that most unpopular white males can sympathise with—not the early prog LPs like Foxtrot et al. But I write today with a more practical request in mind. I cannot pick up chicks, Patrick! I think the problem lies in my appearance. I am a wearer of spectacles and as we know, ladies dis
"Hey, I'd sure like money. Maybe I'll write a book about cutting off a woman's jaw and facefucking her! Yea! People'll kick up a fuss and buy it based on controversy alone! But books are long, and I can honestly only come up with like four ways to kill people, and three different types of helpless people to kill! Maybe I'll pile it with 300 pages of repetitive filler about what Yuppies wore ten years ago, French cuisine, blow, and record reviews of ironically shitty bands I've plagiarized wholes ...more
Jul 13, 2008 John rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers with guts of iron, psychopaths, yuppie scum, Jared Leto
When I walked up to the counter of my local bookstore (Denver's famous Tattered Cover) with American Psycho in my hand, the attendant behind the counter offered me a warning. "Ah yes," he said, mind reeling back to the bestsellers of seventeen years ago, "I remember reading this one when it came out. Not for the faint of heart, I'm afraid..."

"...more like the strong of stomach."

Although I had seen the motion picture adaptation of the novel and was vaguely aware of the violence the book contained
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2015 Reading Chal...: American Psycho - New York 1 15 Jun 13, 2015 11:47AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: American Psycho 3 19 May 15, 2015 04:53PM  
Bateman's violence: All in his head? 73 1823 Apr 10, 2015 06:44AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis 5 27 Jan 21, 2015 02:38AM  
what i hate about this book 50 504 Oct 17, 2014 12:19AM  
Is confusion of names a theme or am I just easily confused? 9 148 Sep 03, 2014 03:03AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis --> Starting August 25th 5 15 Aug 27, 2014 03:01AM  
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Bret Easton Ellis is an American author. He is considered to be one of the major Generation X authors and was regarded as one of the so-called literary Brat Pack, which also included Tama Janowitz and Jay McInerney. He has called himself a moralist, although he has often been pegged as a nihilist. His characters are young, generally vacuous people, who are aware of their depravity but choose to en ...more
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“...there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there.” 410 likes
“I had all the characteristics of a human being—flesh, blood, skin, hair—but my depersonalization was so intense, had gone so deep, that my normal ability to feel compassion had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning” 348 likes
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