Andrew Calderon's Reviews > American Psycho

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
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's review
Jun 02, 2012

it was amazing
Read from June 02 to 10, 2012

I have had various conversations over throughout the course of reading this book with people curious about its content.
The conversations have revolved primarily around the topic following topics: Is this book merely pornography or is it a influential text? Is the amount of gore necessary, and does it merit the overall message of the book? What is the overall message of the book? I will address some of these questions, in the hopes of advocating for what I think is a valuable piece of literature. Before continuing, there is one big assumption that I have made in regards to this text, which is that Ellis did extensive psychological research in order to craft this book. Due to the delicate subject matter I would consider it an insult to the reader if Ellis concocted this work entirely from his imagination without regarding any scientific studies.

The book revolves around the life of Patrick Bateman, a fictitious character, who is a serial killer living in Manhattan. He is a member of the upper echelon of society. The text is written in the first person, giving the reader insights into Bateman's mental life. He breaks the fourth wall (acknowledges the presence of a reader) on few occasions. These are important points to note. By informing the reader about the cultural perspective of the protagonist, that he knows that we are watching, and that we are privy to all of his thoughts, a personal connection is manifest. The nature of the connection, be it disgust, sympathy, empathy, curiosity, etc., will obviously vary from reader to reader.

This unique amalgam of circumstances form a unique perspective, one that is not explored frequently in literature since serial killers are relegated to the corners of moral atrocity, for obvious reasons. However, the book allows us the opportunity to see what the protagonists environment has done to shape him. The serial murders perspective is used as a lens to analyze American, consumer-capitalist culture and the affects it can have on a persons external and internal relationships with the world. Insofar as serial murders are human beings that have grown up a culture, adapted, learned, and still developed the tendencies characteristic of the title, they tell us something about our world.

What they tell us may not be a justification for the behavior, but it shows us a facet of human social culture that should not ignored. The assumption is frequently made that such individuals are biologically made up differently and so their behavior is reflective of structural 'errors' rather than a socialized, adaptive response to their environment. My contention is that ignoring this perspective because of the moral stigma associated with it is a detrimental to understanding of the human psyche and how it develops.

For the above mentioned reasons, I think that this book is a stunning piece of literature that affords us the opportunity to learn about our culture in an unconventional way.

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Reading Progress

06/03/2012 page 20
5.0% "I'm going through the process of casting everyone in the book, picking from the large repertoire of people that I know. I'm basing my decision more on the aesthetic parallels I imagine, than parallels in personality. Great book! Easton Ellis captures the subtleties of conversation well."
08/21/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Kraemer I hear that that shit is more messed up than the movie.

Andrew Calderon Andrew wrote: "I hear that that shit is more messed up than the movie."

We'll see. I'm only on page 86. It's definitely more culturally critical in the book than in the movie.

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