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Reviews of American Psycho (1991)

Review by islander255 (2007-09-26)
If you're considering reading this book, you've likely heard a lot about it--how it's graphic, shocking, moving, groundbreaking(!!)

Yeah, yeah. It was graphic and shocking, all right. But is was also shockingly bad. 400 pages really isn't a lot to read, but when it takes past page 100 for anything to start happening, you know there's a problem. Seriously, the first 100 pages is all about Patrick Bateman's life as a rich person, and if I ever read a book with so much needless description about brand-name clothes and fancy restaurants, I'm going to puke.

Sometimes after page one hundred Patrick Bateman finally starts murdering people. Then there's the section entitled "Girls" that really aren't for the faint of stomach. They're graphic to the point of being pornographic--not just in a sexual way, but also in a violent way. The term "violence porn" was made with works like this book in mind. It was all very shocking and startling, but in the end it was violence for the sake of violence, and it didn't disturb me at all. At least "Crash" had some sort of fetishistic reverence its in graphic description. At least "Gravity's Rainbow" was witty and objective in its aberrant sex scenes. "American Psycho", however, is written in total seriousness. Bateman isn't the only person who's full of himself--the author, Bret Easton Ellis, also seems full of himself in his pretentious handling of such an abhorrent subject.

Around 2/3 of the way through the book it finally looked liked some real conflict might happen. Of course, it came to naught. Same for the climax.

And what about the storylines surrounding the violence? Patrick's relation to Evelyn and Jean and his friends... well, those were pretty realistic, but pretty boring, too. You could find such goings-on in any proper soap opera. And let's face it: this book obviously wasn't written in an effort to portray a rich person's life in New York City. This book was written for all those gross little scenes that stick out like so many boils.

To top off this mess, Ellis has tried to drag 100 pages of material across 400 pages. He could have introduced us to Patrick's life in 30-40 pages at the most. He never needed to insert the chapters on the different bands (a note scribbled in the front of my library copy advised the reader to skip those sections; after reading one, I took the advice and missed nothing). The chapter where Patrick and his friends are arguing about where to go to dinner was funny at first, but after 17 pages (no joke!) it got REALLY tiresome!

This book made me feel about as bitter as the main character. Do yourself a favor and skip it entirely.

2/10

Review by drache_gnar (2006-03-12)
What can I say about American Psycho, one of the most controversial novels of all time?
Well, I can say that it is disturbingly funny.
That it is horrifyingly creative.
That it is bluntly violent.
That it is the best novel I have ever read.

Clever, brilliant, funny, violent, horrifying and realistic.
A masterpiece.

Recommended for those whom are not faint of heart.
10/10

Review by neko (2005-07-14)
I absolutely loathe this book. I picked it up a couple years ago at the recommendation of a coworker and it is the only book I have ever regretted reading.

I'm no prude, but this book was disturbingly graphic for the sake of nothing more than being shocking - something that I felt detracted from the more tolerable story that was going on in between the gore. Depolorable characters (I know that's part of the deal, but jesus....) and a ridiculous ending serve the make the book even harder to swallow.

I will admit that as much as I despised it the entire time I was reading it - I never stopped. I'm not sure if it's because I was waiting for some redemption from the main character or for his own gory come uppance, but I didn't feel I could leave the book unfinished. Maybe I felt like if I put it down I'd always wonder about it. Anyway, kudos to Ellis for writing something I hated but still HAD to finish.

But - I recommend not picking it up at all.




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