Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)'s Reviews > American Psycho

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
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really liked it
bookshelves: mystery-horror-thriller, classics, currently-reading
Reading for the 2nd time. Most recently started August 8, 2019.

Reread: 3/22/14

Spoilers ahead.

I learned a lot while reading this book. Fashion for sure, a bit about music, and a lot about murder. More than I needed to know of the latter.

That being said, I did like the book overall. It was like a train wreck -- you want to look away but you can't -- and a very well done one at that. Ellis had set course for this book, taking you through emotional breakdown of a man who has it all as most would say. The breakdown was perfectly done; you flashed back and forth between the normalcy of his day to day life and spotted it with pieces to do with music and murder. The heart of the book was in the way it was done; each chapter felt to have a purpose and moved the book along in a wobbly pattern that left me wondering about the time line that all this happened in. Typically I don't like that style, but in this no other way would have worked.

The wording is beautiful and Ellis captures a moment in Bateman's mind that is so poetic that I couldn't believe it was coming from this book, a book based around murdering people just to express who you are.

"...there is an idea of 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." To me, that is beautiful. It's like word porn to put it in general terms because I can't find enough words to use about how much his word choice shines through; nothing is extraneous and each holds a purpose.

Ellis was also fantastic with his characters. Patrick Bateman, the protagonist you hate, was structured to seem perfect -- practically the owner of some company, completely rich, arrogant, a womanizer -- but falling apart on the inside to the point of having panic attacks that he could barely suffer through and hallucinations that are so real he believes them. Delusional. Narcissistic. Possibly schizophrenic. Definitely needs therapy.

Batemen's treatment of women, discounting the women he murdered, was terrible. A womanizer, as I stated earlier, and abuser, mainly with emotions. He saw them as nothing and wanted to destroy them or at least humiliate them. Such as with Evelyn and feeding her a urinal cake that she dutifully ate until she felt it appropriate to say she was finished. Or Jean, his secretary, who wanted him and he played her like a record.

Going on with the characters, my favorite was Luis. A gay man who harbors hidden feelings for Bateman and believes they are in a relationship when Patrick goes in the bathroom to strangle him. It was hilarious and definitely cut through the tension left by the rest of the novel in its intricacies. He hides that he is gay by being with a woman named Courtney, who has no interest in him besides his money and is actually having sex with Patrick throughout the book. His bad fashion taste and desperateness to have Patrick even though the man has no interest in him was amazingly done and completely awkward in fashion. Really, his interactions with Patrick made me laugh each time because it was just so awkward and sad at the same time.

I will say, the rest of his friends were hilarious as well. They were so obsessed with fashion and that was another thing that pulled me from the grisly murders depicted in this book.

Cannibalism, necrophilia, body storage, and massive body mutilations were all showcased, even if I'm not sure they truly happened thanks to the ending. Either way, they were gory and completely disgusting. I have a very hard stomach and I could barely handle it. Nothing in my life has triggered such a violent reaction in me. A few times I swore I was going to vomit because of them, specifically when he went after the dog and stabbed that child in the throat. And yet, they were done with class, a surprising amount of it to be honest. Ellis did a wonderful job of showing the reader insanity at its worst form. Another little wonderful train wreck for this book.

The reason why I read this book was because I watched the movie. I do love learning about serial killers -- they are fascinating to me -- and when talking about some serial killer, I believe it was actually Ed Gein, said that this movie was fashioned off him. I decided at that moment to watch it. I did. Thought it was terrible. A couple years later I rewatched it, actually liked it, and decided to read the book to compare notes.

What I can say, is that the movie was toned down compared to this book. Anyone who has seen it will understand that as soon as they read the novel. Only a few killings were shown in the movie and definitely not to the degree of the book. Most of the time movies up the violence rather than tone it down. I can barely compare them because they are just so different so I'm going to leave the topic of the movie now before I really begin rambling.

This is one book that I loved but will never read again. Amazing in all the ways it was structured, but I can't handle rereading about a woman getting her insides eaten by a rat, or how a dog's legs look after being stomped on, or the way intestines just seem to go on when you're pulling them out. EDIT. I actually did reread it, and I handled it better knowing that it was going to happen. The initial reading was hardest because I had no clue how violent it would be.
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Quotes Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his) Liked

Bret Easton Ellis
“...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.”
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

Reading Progress

March 29, 2013 – Started Reading
March 29, 2013 – Shelved
May 2, 2013 –
page 75
May 7, 2013 –
page 134
May 8, 2013 –
page 214
May 10, 2013 –
page 269
May 15, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
May 18, 2014 –
page 0
May 21, 2014 –
page 142
May 22, 2014 –
page 300
75.19% "This being the second time I've read this book, the murders don't shock me anymore. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Still, I find pieces to laugh at, specifically Luis and Patrick's interactions."
May 22, 2014 – Finished Reading
August 8, 2019 – Started Reading
August 8, 2019 – Shelved as: mystery-horror-thriller
August 8, 2019 – Shelved as: classics
August 15, 2019 –
44.0% "This book is just as fucked as I remember it."

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)* Your feelings on this remind me a lot of my feelings for A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.

Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his) And, I have not read that book. I keep meaning to, but I haven't. One day.

Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his) I so know that problem. I think that it's on Kindle Unlimited. Or am I thinking of Slaughterhouse Five? I have no clue.

Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)* It probably is on kindle unlimited.... Most of the older books are. Especially classics.

Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his) Yeah, I do enjoy that. Plus, they have a lot of books on Tudor history on there as well. It's great.

Best Eggs I loved this book, I thought it was really crazy (and kinda true to life).

Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his) Oh yeah, this book is an absolute trip. But, do explain more about how it's true to life.

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