If the 80's Calls, Return This With the Videotapes

American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis

So this is in the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die List. And every time someone in this book picks up a Zagat guide to choose a bar or argue the merits of the appetizer of this restaurant versus the other (and there were A LOT of Zagat-ery in this one), I get a meta moment. Maybe that's genius on Bret Easton Ellis' part maybe not, but I'm rating this based on how I felt after.

 

 

Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no escape.


I did watch the film first. I've started to feel annoyed at myself for having a long list of books made into movies that I've watched but haven't read (hey, I went to school for A LONG time, cut me some slack). So I may have suggested this as a buddy read with a couple of friends… for which I will be eternally sorry for. I promise I do not have a sharp and constant pain I want to inflict on others. And I probably wouldn't have finished this if not for the buddy read, so thanks guys.

And well, at least now I have a new scale to measure disgusting and gratuitous violence against in my future reads. 

I'm not going to do the re-blurbing thing because I actually don't want to review this for fear of sounding exactly like Bateman, reciting regurgitated opinions on something I'm only an occasional dabbler in (i.e. literary fiction). Maybe I got the points this was trying to get across, maybe not (though people should really stop watching Toddlers and Tiaras. Like seriously.). I'm not going to detail all the crazy that went in and over my head, but suffice to say that yes, it was pretty disgusting, no I didn't like it even if I may have LOLed one too many times and just as a heads up, when a chapter's title in this book says Tries to Cook and Eat A Girl it means EXACTLY that. 

Sometimes, too much violence in books renders that part of the brain, the one that gets shocked and disturbed, fatigued up to a certain point. Yeah, you won't have a problem with that here. Things just get progressively MORE disturbing in the second half. Don't fret about not remembering who the characters are, the brand names, the Whitney Houston/Genesis/Huey Lewis chapters, the author just chooses to bore you with mind numbing detail because there's a point he's trying to cut across. Now if these points NEED to be hammered in such a repeated, exhaustive manner is an interesting topic of conversation. Because this delivery toes the line between shock for the sake of shock and creative social commentary. Like David Finch shooting a scene from inside a fridge... It's cool, it's new, but what's the point? To illustrate how one lives with psychopathy and its context within what's normal and how there's very little difference in certain social strata? Did we really need the Habitrail for that?

I did like the latter chapters though, how it felt like I was on the verge of unlocking Patrick Bateman's insanity before he takes it away and you feel like one of the homeless beggars he so loves torturing... Then I cycle back to hating this again.

So before picking this up, ask yourself, do you really want to read about a yuppie serial killer who hides three sliced out vaginas with Hermes ribbons in his gym locker? And no that's not the worst part of the book because a rat eats its way inside then out of someone's vagina… do you really need to read about that, excessive misogyny ("hardbody" as a term needs to die several painful, repeated deaths), homophobia, racism, bigotry and FFS, cannibalism, before you die?

Otherwise, all the good parts were in the movie. Particularly Christian Bale.

 

And all his "good parts". #incentive

 

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.