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American Psycho

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  196,560 Ratings  ·  8,454 Reviews
Patrick Bateman is twenty-six and he works on Wall Street, he is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. Taking us to head-on collision with America's greatest dream—and its worst nightmare—American Psycho is bleak, bitter, black comedy about a world we all recognise but do not wish to confront.
Paperback, 399 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)
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Elizabeth Ann The whole point of that scene was to force both Bateman and the reader to question whether or not those brutalities actually took place. It makes the…moreThe whole point of that scene was to force both Bateman and the reader to question whether or not those brutalities actually took place. It makes the us wonder if they were just the fantasies and hallucinations of a psychotic person.(less)

Community Reviews

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brian
Jul 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Stephen
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Unholy...Shite!!

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

...in both the good and not so good vareity.

At first, I'd thought about try
...more
Lauryl
Jan 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
...more
Paul Bryant
Oct 13, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  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
...more
Emily May
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, horror
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
...more
karen
Jun 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
THIS IS FULL OF SPOILERS - FULL TO THE BRIM. THESE ARE SOME MUSINGS THAT IN NO WAY RESEMBLE A BOOK REVIEW. YOU CAN READ IT, BUT I AM TELLING YOU STRAIGHT UP - THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. - actually, it's not that bad.


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
...more
Petra X
May 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Ben Winch
Jan 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
F
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, seen-movie, usa
Loved this book. One to give me a book hangover. Didn't want it to end.
Always loved the film and the book is really not far off.
Descriptions were OTT.
Dark Masterpiece



Love the scene with the business cards. Both film & book.
Bookdragon Sean
American Psycho is an energetic, transgressive piece of brutal art.

It’s without a doubt the most gruesome thing I’ve read. It’s horrifying and truly shocking at times. I had to put the book down on several occasions whilst I recovered from the graphic nature of some of it. So, a word of warning, if you don’t like blood don’t even bother picking this one up. It’s full of mutilation, disfigurement and brutal murder.

The film has nothing on this.

But the violence was so completely necessary in all
...more
Dan Martin
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Johann (jobis89)
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
"I've forgotten who I had lunch with earlier, and even more important, where."

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.

Where to begin... first of all, let me preface this review by giving a trigger warning for almost every possible trigger you can think of: rape, animal abuse, torture... this book is not for the faint of heart! This book
...more
JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust
**4.5"THE MOST FUCKED UP STORY EVVVVEEERRRRR" STARS**

 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 about 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 wa
...more
Stacia (the 2010 club)
Oct 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
...more
Franco  Santos
American Psycho es la típica novela plana que entiende pero no procesa. Esta obra pertenece a la clase de las que pueden llegar a abarcar páginas y páginas de retórica insulsa para luego culminar en nada. Bret Easton Ellis interpreta y desarrolla la sociedad consumista yuppie de los años 80, que se reduce a marcas y moda sofisticada. Una muestra de la superficialidad, la posesión y el narcisismo extremo... y ahí se queda. Y por eso mismo American Psycho no es una obra maestra. No va más allá de ...more
Blair
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
GTF
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Where to begin? Well, firstly I will just comment on the violence in this novel and say that it contains some of the most graphic torture and killings that I have ever read about (both in the real and fictional world). There are wild and creative forms of brutality performed on people that I didn't know were possible. I am not easily put off by goriness but a lot of pages of this book were difficult to read. It goes without saying that 'American Psycho' is not for the faint-hearted.

The story is
...more
Brad
Mar 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
mark monday
Feb 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Mykle
Apr 15, 2011 rated it liked it
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
...more
Anne
May 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-english
Actual rating: 2 🌟's

I think Bret Easton Ellis described his own book the best in 1991, when he said:

"...I wrote a book that is all surface action: no narrative, no characters to latch onto, flat, endlessly repetitive."

He certainly did do that. I get the message he wanted to sent out, and I'm definitely able to respect and appreciate that. However, I personally appreciate well-developed characters and a good plot even more, so this book just wasn't for me.
At the end, I felt like nothing had happe
...more
Tara
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1001-list
“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.”

American Psycho is a masterfully accomplished, incredibly black satire, one which primarily focuses on consumerism, obsession with status and r
...more
Jonathan Janz
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Krok Zero
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-2010
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
...more
Loretta
I'm not sure what to say about this book. It just wasn't for me. 👎🏻
Warwick
Nov 04, 2013 rated it did not like it

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
...more
TK421
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary
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...

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

7jane
Aug 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(first review - will probably add another after a reread:)
We meet Patrick Bateman (here again - he appears briefly on Rules Of Attraction; he also appears even more briefly in Ellis' later books, at least two of them), in the physical and professional peak(ish) of his life, fit, in a good age, doing well enough... but he's now entering a dark mental phase that shows in his killings and increasing desperation; his world is full of shallow people, and (view spoiler)
...more
Rowena
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Leo .
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
They say that most serial killers and sociopaths start off by killing animals. Building up their evil threshold and barbaric skills. I read this book back in the 1990's. I did think it was a good book but I hated all the animal cruelty. It was a chore to read through to the end. Too much graphic violence and less about the character's psyche. If you love animals give it a wide berth. Also a film starring Christian Bale. I would give that a wide berth too.
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5,785 followers
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.” 549 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” 451 likes
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