Book Review: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

  PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: Read a banned book during Banned Books Week Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy...


PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: Read a banned book during Banned Books Week

Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book featuring one of the seven deadly sins,  A book published in the 20th century, A book with a main character in their 20s

TW: sexual assault, abuse, animal cruelty or animal death, fatphobia, violence, pornographic content, death or dying, abortion (off-page), blood/gore, mental illness, racism and racial slurs, sexism and misogyny, classism, hateful language directed at religious groups, homophobia

Well o-freaking-kay. American Psycho was quite the doozie. I’ve loved the movie version of American Psycho for a long while. Christian Bale excels in the role of Patrick Bateman in a way that cannot even compare to his more blockbuster roles. The movie is the perfect satire - shocking, gruesome, and humorous. The book? Not so much.

Meet Patrick Bateman, a 20-something Wall Street fella with an obsession of status, fashion, Donald Trump, and graphically and obscenely murdering people and animals for fun.

People have raved about this book for as long as it’s existed. Folks mark Easton Ellis as their all-time favorite author, and many cite American Psycho as their favorite book. I’ve heard more times than I can count that the book is incredible if you can get past the gore and graphicness. But I have to say I don’t agree. 

I went into this book expecting the gore, expecting obscene graphicness, and while this book certainly more graphic than I could have ever imagined, it wasn't what bothered me about the book. Instead I was offended by the blatant racism and homophobia, the complete hatred of homeless folks, and the weirdly obnoxious obsession with Donald Trump. I expected the misogyny, and yes I know the book is literally from the perspective of a psychopath, but there's a point when I begin to wonder what is wrong with the person writing the book. Some of the things that take place in American Psycho are horrendous things for anyone to think about, let alone write down in words. I truly don't have the capacity of language to write a comprehendible response to the actions that take place in this book, and I am not easily shocked or mortified. No one really expresses how graphic the novel is. But just know that it's impossibly worse than you'd ever imagine.

Now aside from the gruesome details I (somewhat) expected from a book title American Psycho, this book is immensely boring. Perhaps one of the most boring books I have ever read. Patrick goes into every situation literally explaining what every single person in the scene is wearing, from type of item to brand to store it was purchased at. Things would go from a complete snoozefest to totally horrifying torture scenes. It was all very odd. The graphic horror was terribly enthralling and quite page-turning, but everything else was totally slow. It took me two weeks to read a 300-ish page book! 

"How could she ever understand that there isn't any way I could be disappointed since I no longer find anything worth looking forward to?" - American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis

I suppose there is something to say about Easton Ellis' writing though. I truly felt as if I was losing my mind through the book. From the mind-numbing boredom of some scenes (representing Bateman's apathy in most general situations) to the exhilarating madness of torture and murder scenes (the acts on which Bateman felt high and excited). It was an incredibly difficult book to read for so many reasons, but for me it was not the wonderment that most describe it to be.

Goodreads rating: ★★★☆☆

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