Matt's Reviews > American Psycho

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
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's review
Mar 30, 2008

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Read in April, 2008

** spoiler alert ** This book is considered one of the blueprints of the Transgressive movement of the late 80's/early 90's. The story revolves around Patrick Bateman, a young, wealthy Wall Street guy who enjoys murder, torture, and rape by night. I am sure that this work came off as much more scandalous during it's initial release. Unfortunately, the theme of the upstanding, successful guy who is later discovered to have a secret life as a brutal killer, S&M aficianado, etc, has been played to death in movies and the true crime genre of television and books in the last fifteen+ years. The story is narrated in the first person by Bateman, an every scene includes precise details of the clothing and personal items used by both him and his affluent circle. This worked well in the beginning to establish the shallow yuppiness of his life, but I grew tired of this as the story went on. The same goes for the murder scenes as well. There are three chapters that are pure genius, however. The setting for the story is the late 1980's, and these chapters involve Patrick performing a detailed analysis of his favorite pop musicians, which include Genesis, Whitney Houston, and Huey Lewis and the News. These have to be read to be fully grasped, an explanation would not do them justice. I had a slight problem with the ending as well. We are led to believe that Bateman may have not done all of this killing, and that it was just an active fantasy life to make up for his vapid existence. The problem with this is that there is no conclusive evidence presented either way. I'm not usually one of those people that want everything spelled out clearly, but in this case it seems like Ellis may not be totally sure about the whole matter himself. The book more or less just fizzles out without much of a climax.
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