Wednesday, May 18, 2011

American Psycho

Rating: 5/5 Stars
Scott has been bugging me to review this book online since I finished, but I've had such a crazy work schedule that I managed to develop a sinus infection and further put off my review writing.  But now that I have  a breather (....get it...breather?...nevermind), and the Nasonex/Astepro are starting to work, I shall share my thoughts on this controversial novel.

I mentioned after finishing Pillars of the Earth that I needed a lighter read, mainly physically, so I picked up American Psycho- paper back, 399 pages.  Yes, I had seen parts of the disturbing movie. Yes, I knew the book was about a deluded rich-boy serial killer, but even that didn't prepare me for what this book had in store.

The book, in a word, is genius (no, this does not mean I sympathize with serial killers or any other killer for that matter).  But Patrick Bateman's narration is incredible, whether it's describing a designer outfit (never forgetting even the slightest name-brand detail) or a dinner (which ALWAYS includes an appetitzer and an entree, no questions), you are sucked into his warped world of stature and luxury.  It takes a while for details of the killings to start to take place.  You, the reader, are being wined and dined, learning men's dress etiquette, and even reading a full chapter on Patrick's adoration of U2.  Interesting enough, you learn very little detail of Patrick's job on Wall Street except for the fact that he makes boat loads for doing close to nothing.

Patrick glazes over his nasty little habit (about which he does not appear to feel the least bit remorseful) until maybe halfway through the book when you finally see what a monster Patrick really is.  There are gruesome details that the average human could not even imagine until Bret Easton Ellis puts them on the page.  (Kind of makes you wonder where he came up with all of these ideas.)  There are more and more stomach churning scenes (prostitutes, dates, coworkers, etc are killed) and about 3/4 of the way through the book I started thinking enough!  Too much!  This is just blatant, over-the-top, in-your-face violence towards innocent(?) individuals, and I've read it once and I get it.  He's psycho.  But you keep reading, and you're glad you do because you further watch Patrick unravel until you're unsure the line between reality and imagination, real life and fantasy.

Patrick is one of the most amazing narrators in the history of American fiction.  Part of you likes him, even though he is so obviously a huge asshole to others.  You can almost see the faintest shimmer of goodness in him, especially in regards to his relationship with his secretary, Jean.  And then you're reminded that he tortures small animals for fun, eats human body parts (after having sex with them), and has a more grotesque imagination than I ever believed possible.

This book is not for the faint of heart.  But to search the depths of such a mentally deranged narrator's mind and to be entertained, even to laugh out loud at many passages, leaves you feeling guilty and intrigued at the same mind.  Plus, I can never turn down a book about luxury New York life in the '80s.  Steer clear of the Bolivian Marching Powder, but if you have the guts, pick up this book.  It will blow you away (if you make it through...).

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