Customer Reviews for

American Psycho

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

17 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

Nothing really matters

"American Psycho" is not only a great critique of the 80's yuppie culture, but it is a scathing criticism of a nation's moral decay. The book is very well written, and it has a style that creates a world easily accessible to the reader. The book creates a dissonance fro...
"American Psycho" is not only a great critique of the 80's yuppie culture, but it is a scathing criticism of a nation's moral decay. The book is very well written, and it has a style that creates a world easily accessible to the reader. The book creates a dissonance from real life and the actual plot that leaves the reader questioning if our narrator, dear Patrick, is a reliable source or nothing more than a raving mad-man. The wonder of Ellis's writing is that, while asking this question, the overwhelming fact is that it doesn't really matter. While Bateman, the main character, is a psychopathic killer, it is easy to empathize with him and understand his frustrations. The writing style is unique and makes it easy to get into Bateman's mindset. I usually am not a detail-oriented reader, and I often prefer to have my own imagination work than the author's descriptions, but long sections devoted to clothes and other such details really are a pleasure to read in this book, mostly because they help the reader see the world as Bateman does. A unique read to be certain, but wildly entertaining.

posted by ChesterfieldWatts on May 14, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

Pointless....

I read this book long before the movie, and this is one case where the book is not any better than the movie. In fact, the movie could not have been worse than the book. Clearly the author thinks he has something valuable to say about society, but I cannot see what it...
I read this book long before the movie, and this is one case where the book is not any better than the movie. In fact, the movie could not have been worse than the book. Clearly the author thinks he has something valuable to say about society, but I cannot see what it is. It seems as though Ellis only wrote this trash in order to get a rise out of people. Although it was disgusting and truly nauseating at times, it was boring. The author wastes pages and pages and pages having Bateman describe utterly ridiculous and meaningless things such as what brand of after-shave he wears and exactly how he puts it on. Reading labels on shampoo bottles is more exciting than the better part of this book, although not as informative (ha ha). When he is not putting the reader to sleep with endless and insignificant descriptions of clothing, he has Bateman describe exactly how he makes a rat crawl completely inside a woman's body via an unmentionable opening, then find it later, among other hideous things. It is either totally boring or totally sickening, but never suspenseful or interesting. If you want pure raunch, beyond what you may have read before, and/or a read that may be offensive to even the most inoffendable woman, then read this. Tedious.

posted by Anonymous on May 12, 2002

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Nothing really matters

    "American Psycho" is not only a great critique of the 80's yuppie culture, but it is a scathing criticism of a nation's moral decay. The book is very well written, and it has a style that creates a world easily accessible to the reader. The book creates a dissonance from real life and the actual plot that leaves the reader questioning if our narrator, dear Patrick, is a reliable source or nothing more than a raving mad-man. The wonder of Ellis's writing is that, while asking this question, the overwhelming fact is that it doesn't really matter. While Bateman, the main character, is a psychopathic killer, it is easy to empathize with him and understand his frustrations. The writing style is unique and makes it easy to get into Bateman's mindset. I usually am not a detail-oriented reader, and I often prefer to have my own imagination work than the author's descriptions, but long sections devoted to clothes and other such details really are a pleasure to read in this book, mostly because they help the reader see the world as Bateman does. A unique read to be certain, but wildly entertaining.

    17 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2002

    Pointless....

    I read this book long before the movie, and this is one case where the book is not any better than the movie. In fact, the movie could not have been worse than the book. Clearly the author thinks he has something valuable to say about society, but I cannot see what it is. It seems as though Ellis only wrote this trash in order to get a rise out of people. Although it was disgusting and truly nauseating at times, it was boring. The author wastes pages and pages and pages having Bateman describe utterly ridiculous and meaningless things such as what brand of after-shave he wears and exactly how he puts it on. Reading labels on shampoo bottles is more exciting than the better part of this book, although not as informative (ha ha). When he is not putting the reader to sleep with endless and insignificant descriptions of clothing, he has Bateman describe exactly how he makes a rat crawl completely inside a woman's body via an unmentionable opening, then find it later, among other hideous things. It is either totally boring or totally sickening, but never suspenseful or interesting. If you want pure raunch, beyond what you may have read before, and/or a read that may be offensive to even the most inoffendable woman, then read this. Tedious.

    10 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bums, The Patty Winters Show, Video Returns,and Murder

    American Psycho is satirical look at the upper crust of New York's socialites. It is also a psychological thriller about the life of a yuppie Harvard grad named Patrick Bateman who is a homicidal maniac. Bateman narrates his day to day life over the course of a couple of years. He tells of every mundane detail including what brand shirt, pants, suits, shoes, etc, everyone, including himself, is wearing. He describes his murders with no emotion, just as he does everything else.


    Bateman and his "friends" spend much of their time trying to get reservations at the best restaurants and clubs in town. They run in circles where identity isn't as important as appearance and who you know, and people are often mistaken for others. Because of this constant mistaken identity, it is hard to tell if Bateman is truly a homicidal killer or if he is just suffering from delusional psychotic daydreams.


    I found this book to be excruciatingly boring for the vast majority of it. The repeated themes in this book were; video returns, the Patty Winters Show, Manolo Blahniks, bums, hard bodies and reservations. I understand that this was a satire about how superficial New York socialites are, however, there are only so many pages that should be dedicated to painfully detailed descriptions of clothing and discussions of "where to eat". The first two thirds of the book were uncreative with regard to the murder and sex scenes. It isn't until the last third of the book that things got interesting. The main character finally let loose his homicidal rage in very graphic and colorful detail that made me cringe.


    On a scale of 1-4, I give this book a 1. If the last third of the book hadn't gotten better, I would not have rated this book at all. With that said though, please read this book for yourself and let me know what you think.

    8 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2000

    Human Emptiness at it's Finest

    To say it bluntly this book sucked. I want to go back in time find the author's parents and make them both take birth control pills to keep this writer from being born to write such trash. Not just because of the violence, violence can be used in interesting ways but this is just horrid and bone chilling. It's like reading a Nazi's diary. But the sheer emptiness of it. Because it frightens me the way the author writes in such naseating and sickening detail about dismembering and murdering women. Because of the emptiness of people who sit around all day, drinking wine and snorting cocaine between eating fancy food (and human livers, yum) and talk about meaningless nonsense such as whether or not their hair looks good or what kind of clothes they wear and music they listen to. I hate emptiness and stories that have no point. I hate novels that lack dept so violence is included for shock value. Highly overrated.

    8 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2013

    Long and Tedious? Try brilliant and hilarious

    To each his own... but personally I find the conplaints about the over abundance of details, especially regarding the clothing brands, to be an absolute joke. Dismissing these details as mundane is dismissing tge entire message of the book. Theyre yuppies... every thing was scrutinized down to the last detail. Where you ate, what you ordered, who you were with, what you wore, who cut your hair... these details were everything that mattered.

    As for the violence, its a sattire and the book is halarious. The point is the extreme of being such a ridiculous yuppy that your more worried about reservations than your compulsion to kill and also hating everyone but helplessly obsessing over having everyone love you...

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Avoid this book if you enjoy having a plot and dynamic characters.

    This book is awful. I read it due to a friend's recommendation. I didn't realize at the time that he was a hip counter-culture kind of guy (the kind that tell you that the things you like are terrible, and that terrible things are good). American Psycho has no plot at all. The book begins with an intriguing literary method of hooking the reader. Bret E. Ellis introduces us to the neuroses of the Antagonist, Patrick; this is done by way of first-person introspection into Patrick's inner thoughts. This is fantastic, hence the one star that I did give the book. After that, there is no plot progression at all. There is no dichotomy to exploit between characters, no antagonist, and even Patrick lacks any dynamic character development. There is no plot; that is not to say that the plot is poor; there is no plot at all. This book is just a perpetual repetition of the (at first) intriguing introspection into Patrick's psyche, and his resultant outbursts of rage.
    I find the repetition insulting. If this book was a novella, then it may have been brilliant; Ellis' one narrative hook is unable to carry a reader who enjoys a dynamic journey complete with plot, conflict, and character development.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2012

    Great book. That is if you arent a total p***y

    I found this novel to be a fantastic look into the mind of somebody who is completely empty and derranged. You can tell from the start that Bateman has no sense of reality or emotion. He blends in perfectly with his environment because all his fellow yuppies are empty and devoid of reality themselves and the sick part is that Bateman is the only one who sees everything for how it really is... who knew all you had to do was be a psychopath? I reccomend this to anybody who can understand that this could easily be a real situation. If you're a feminist or a religous nut, I wouldn't reccomend it because you probably have no grasp on reality and won't be able to appreciate it anyway.. 5 stars

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2000

    boring

    This book gave me a headache. It was boring with very little story. I could care less about any of the charachters, I found out very little about any of them, and did not want to learn more. The explicit detail of unimportant things was done with a point, but it got old and made the book not enjoyable. All this could be forgivable if something happened. Every 30-40 pages we got 1 or 2 pages of action for shock value. After the first couple action sequences they were not even that shocking. I read the first 200 pages and promised myself I would not finish it and warn others. If a book is nothing but irritating for 200 pages you have to be an american psycho to finish it. Crime and punishment it is not.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2000

    Bad, bad book

    I read this because I saw the movie blurbs, and was terribly disappointed. It was full of gratuitous, graphic violence and had an unsatisfying ending. I will save you the trouble of reading this book: 'Describe -- in detail -- what everyone is wearing, describe -- in detail -- what everyone is eating, kill some people in a horrible way. The end.'

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2000

    Too much information

    While I enjoy books which feature subject matter that frequently requires graphic descriptions, I found American Psycho to rely exclusively on violence to make its statement. The entire content was solely based on name dropping of various clothing designers and overly descriptive acts of violence. I found little insight to the mind of Bateman and instead a laundry list of fashionable eating establishments and GQ style tips. With many other authors currently in publication who explore this genre with more success, I suggest we look elsewhere.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2011

    STATUS IS EVERYHING, HUMAN LIFE IS NOTHING

    Satire is defined as "a literary composition in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule". "American Psycho" is a satire savagely attacking our modern consumer culture and a graphic psychological thriller. Patrick Bateman is an investment banker on Wall Street. The book begins with Bateman and his friends partying, drinking, dining and leading superficial lives. Then you are thrust into Bateman's psychotic hell as he begins a killing frenzy. The acts are so heinous that you wonder if they are the imaginings of a deranged mind or real events. Even more perplexing is the fact that when Bateman confesses his crimes, people think he is telling a joke. Is society really so apathetic and self-involved? The plot of the book is really a stream of consciousness from Batema's point of view. Be prepared for gruesome violence - the murder scenes are horrific. I would say this book is a fascinating read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Occupied Wall Street; a revisited vision of disassociation

    Among the hundreds of published photos of the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon, there is a perfect photographic metaphor for AMERICAN PYSCHO, itself a 400-page metaphor for disassociation in American society. It portrays a group of Pat Bateman-types, and one a clone, so close is he to how you come to imagine Bateman, staring out from The Bailey Pub and Brasserie at marching protestors. The suited diners appear incredulous. Which is the point of Easton's book about the endgame of self-absorption. Another way to look at AMERICAN PYSCHO is as SEINFELD, "The Show About Nothing," without the self-deprecating humor and with buckets of blood. Except at the conclusion of SEINFELD, the gang finds themselves in jail.

    Many have written about the contents of the book, so there's not much to add on that score. However, its structure is quite good, beginning with Bateman and his crowd in action partying, dining, dressing, and generally leading their superficial lives, with hints of Pat's other, dark life. Then, suddenly, you plunge into Bateman's subterranean hell as he begins killing in a frenzy of utter viciousness, which you might read in any number of ways: today, perhaps from the viewpoint of the OWS protesters, Wall Street mauling what they call the 99 percent.

    Two motifs in the book were intriguing. First was the repeated appearance of LES MISERABLES posters, playbills, etc, often surfacing as garbage. The second was Pat's obsession with the Patty Winters Show. In LES MIZ, the best of the human spirit triumphs over economic and governmental oppression. In contrast, no one and nothing in any way, shape, or form is ennobling in Pat Bateman's set; nor can they experience the emotional depth of the musical's characters. As for the Patty Winters Show, a mishmash of every pointless and humanly indifferent talk show you care to toss in the grinder, it seems to mirror Bateman's, as well as his associates', disconnection and insensitivity to what passes for most people as real life.

    Finally, those seeking other fiction about serial killers with strong psychological bents (and less blood), you will be well served with Jim Thompson's THE KILLER INSIDE ME, John Fowles's THE COLLECTOR, or my I, KILLER.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2006

    Ugh

    Seriously, you have to be a psycho yourself to enjoy this book. It wasn't even that it was gorry (because there are plenty of books out there just as graphic), but the way it was written...who cares what designer he's wearing! Take out all the sections giving descriptions of clothing and the book would be shrunk in half. Do yourself a favor - skip it.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2002

    Fantasy book lover

    Quite Frankly, I thought this book sucked. But, that could be because I do not usually read this kind of material. I recommend this to anyone who likes fiction with a hint of reality.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2014

    Awesome

    AWESOME

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    My rainy days and Mondays read.

    This book takes me to a dark place in my adolescence. I thoroughly enjoy the madness.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent & Graphically Disburing As Well

    Bret Easton Ellis, has done a perfect job in entering a mind an insane killer. The main character of this novel, Patrick Bateman. Is an 80's yuppie, obsessive compulsive, and utter psychopath who rather than has a revalation into his further madness towards the end. This book is an awesome satire on 80's pop culture, but at the same time, gives you a not necessarily close, but still a complete connection with a man who murders random people, for no good reason, but either out of pleasure of other people's pain. The tale starts off pretty slow, and then Patrick Bateman describes his sexual activities, and then his killings. I think Easton Ellis did no not want overwhelm the audience too soon.

    Each act of murder Patrick Bateman does done & described was intense, and disturbing. Scenes that you would not soon forget. A friend of mine who sugessted this novel to read told me it was worth it because the blood literally splats out of the pages. Send shivers thru your spine. Hands down Bret Easton Ellis knows how to creates a uninhibited, graphic modern story. I enjoyed it alot, and recommend anyone to read it.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A-M-A-Z-I-N-G

    I loved this book, I couldn't put it down for a second. Ellis is an amazing writer, his writing style is very smart and very cleaver. I've never read anything with such attention to detail. He was very descriptive with everything from inner monologues to designer suit details, from physical features to physical events. Although the events in the book were very graphic, one could still find the humor. It has a lot of sarcasm but it is well used and witty. The movie is also very good but the book seems like something completely different (in a very, very good way) which tends to be the case in most book vs. movie scenarios. Definitely a must read. Ellis is definitely my favorite author and I would highly recommend reading this as well as all of his other works.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2009

    Disturbing in the best way

    I love disturbing books. I like books that kind of push you out of your comfort zone. This book does this for sure. My favorite feature of this book was the author's exceptional capability to express sarcasm. The characters would be so snotty, sarcastic, snub. And by reading this book, you were able to get all of those impressions in each scenario. I found myself laughing so much at some of the lines in the book, because the character would be saying something, but somehow you knew what they really were thinking. I work not far from Wall Street so I see guys in the nice suits walking out of the Equinox gym all the time. Now, I look at them in a much harsher light!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2002

    Interesting Satire

    In reviewing a few of the remarks by national reviewers, I was surprised to see how they refused to see AmerPsy as a satire, seemingly unaware of the genre, but rather blamed the author for having twisted perspectives. Clearly Ellis gives us an exaggerated world and is spelling out a time period when society thought it could cure a few horrible ills with but a quip: Just Say NO. The portrayal of American Businessmen Elites is biting and agrees completely with, and is not a reflection of Ellis' personal state, what Noami Wolff has said about the male psyche of the time - the 80's was a greedy psycho-eat-psycho world - and how it does seem to resounate now post-Enron. Ellis has deliberately constructed a Hell on earth and warns us in the first line and reminds us in the last: This is no Exit (very Satre) - The materialistic preoccupation and loss of actual identity of the interchangeable characters leads one to suspect how in some senses we are all part of this creepy culture; his characters virtually speak nothing but GQ and Esquire advice columns verbatem. The only issue I had was that as some have hinted - it was too long. I think he could have written it in half the number of pages.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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