Russell's Reviews > American Psycho

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
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May 14, 14

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Read from February 24 to March 09, 2012

This book is a page-turner for sure, and for all the right reasons. A 400 page satire of the excesses of the 80's told through the hollow eyes of Patrick Bateman, a charming, handsome, morbidly wealthy, sexually depraved, racist, homicidal psychopath. Not exactly Disney Channel material. Basically if Bruce Wayne were were a bloodthirsty stockbroker who like to fuck, film, torture and eat prostitutes...this is the book he would write. “Bateman” instead of “Batman” (Christian Bale...get it?).

Bateman works on Wall Street and is the ultimate archetype of yuppie decadence, which he explores to its utmost finality...explaining (some would say ad nauseum) what he and every single member of his entourage are wearing, right down to the socks. This of course, is done intentionally, pointing out the absolute obsession of these elitist douchebags about wearing painfully expensive name brands at all times...and always always with the proper etiquette. Pat is the de facto expert on all things prep, as his friends are constantly asking questions like, “Is it proper to wear tasseled loafers with a business suit?” and other queries. The other ways Ellis points out the ridiculousness of this world are outrageous and hysterical. The fact that Bateman is constantly having to “return some videotapes”, the pervasive references to Les Miserables, and funniest of all, the pathetic misidentification of the other yuppies churning through Manhattan's upper echelon. People often mistake Pat for another stockbroker and vice versa in a perfect illustration of how futile all of their conceited pomposity really is. They all spend a nauseating amount of effort on what they look like, but essentially all end up looking exactly the same...a wasted product shat from the silk-lined asshole of a monster bloated with greed.

American Psycho is written as a stream of consciousness, following Bateman's every movement, from working out at his $5,000 a year gym to $500 dinners to his manicures and yes, to his scenes of debauchery (sex) and death (murder). Plopped in between are ponderous (and hyper detailed) reviews of the entire catalogs of 80's icons like Whitney Houston and Genesis (he's a big fan btw). These do an excellent job of showing that Pat has the same detached feelings about Huey Lewis and The News' “Sports” as he does about his girlfriend or murdering call girls in his apartment. All of these things makes this book unlike like anything I've ever read before. The ambiguity of whether or not Patrick is actually committing the murders or just having deluded fantasies gives the work the extra swagger that makes it a must read...and reading it now during the time of “The Great Recession” makes you think: what the fuck have we really learned?
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David hey, aren't you going to tip?


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