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American Psycho

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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 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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  • Posted December 26, 2012

    Very good book yet only downfall was that the book i ordered had

    Very good book yet only downfall was that the book i ordered had unfinished sentences and paragraphs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2012

    Disturbing is probably the best word for this book. I don't know

    Disturbing is probably the best word for this book. I don't know of any other book that can portray the mind of a deranged murder as well. It focuses on the yuppies of the 80's, with the main character being among this class. Although the book is written with these people in mind, it does not feel dated. It can drag on a little at times, as the overarching narrative isn't all that solid. This isn't necessarily a bad thing about this book, however, as it lets you pick it up any time without having to spend too much time thinking about what came before.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    Quite interesting

    I loved the movie so I had to read the book. I was not dissapointed, though is wasn't as violent and as explicit as i thought it was gonna be and at moment I even found it somewhat comical. It was indeed a good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011

    A perfect look into a killers mind

    Along with that comes the crazy and the boring. This book at times gets pretty gruesome! It was like a car wreck you had to keep reading. There were a few chapters i down right skipped because it was straight up just details about music....that didnt matter. Overall good book.

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  • Posted December 1, 2011

    Borderline smut.

    Well written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2011

    *A WARNING: If you read this novel on the NOOK Color...

    Actually, "attempt" would be the word of choice here. I'm sure the book as a whole, is fantastic, judging by what I've read so far. Bret Easton Ellis is a very intriguing writer! However, there are certain pages in the NOOK Color version which are cut off (sometimes midsentence) preventing me from even finishing an entire chapter.

    The first time I noticed this, I let it slide, thinking it was only the page. The SECOND time I started getting irritated. By time number three, I called Support. I'm very disappointed that I spent ten dollars on a book that I'm aching to read, yet is broken. I now have to wait seven days for my book to be fixed/updated.

    I advise NOOK Color readers to wait, for your own benefit, preferably until this book is fixed, in order to save yourself ten dollars.

    I'm really loving this book though and can't wait to read it again!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    WOW

    Couldn't put it down

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  • Posted May 24, 2011

    Tough read but worth it

    I would call this a tough read, not because it is poorly written, but because it is quite gruesome. It is incredibly interesting though. I would recomend it for some one who is nit too squeemish and doesn't need a traditional, linear plotline to enjoy aa book.

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  • Posted October 29, 2010

    Well-written, but not for everyone

    American Psycho is a satiric look at Wall Street in the 1980s, using the main character, Patrick Bateman, as a first-person perspective of this high-class and posh lifestyle. Bateman has everything: looks, money, brains, and a prestigious job to boot. But what his equally wealthy and prominent friends and co-workers don't know is his incessant need to commit gruesome acts of sex and violence. Prone to fits of anxiety, the only thing that seems to calm Bateman down is his penchant for luring young women into sex, followed by torture and eventually murder. Believing that there will be no consequences for his actions, Bateman carries on with his horrifying secret life, while those he surrounds himself with are none the wiser.
    If you are impatient or have an aversion to excessive detail, then this is certainly not for you, as Bateman's narration vividly explains everything from scenery, clothing, and food, to his daily workout routine. This book is also without a doubt not for the faint of heart or weak stomach, being that it contains graphic scenes of rape, murder, and even necrophilia and cannibalism. If you are able to endure or even enjoy the slow (but unquestionably well-written) pace of the first third of the book then you may be rewarded with a suspenseful and thrilling read that you whole-heartedly enjoy.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    American Psycho

    If you watched the movie, then you have an idea of the direction this book went. And as much as I like Christian Bale, this movie simply did not do the book justice.<BR/><BR/>Set in the world of the superficial, where the greatest concerns are your nightly reservations and the latest workout routines, this story tells of Patrick Bateman, a highly successful business man, sucked so dry by the life he surrounds himself with that he has found a most shocking way to entertain himself. When the coke fails, when the workouts do not satisfy, when the sex is not enough, Patrick finds a different way to get his adrenaline going and ironically, in the shallow world he inhabits, he is easily able to get away with it.<BR/><BR/>This book is filled with jabs and social commentary at the `elitist¿ and the yuppie lifestyle, though obviously making some tremendous generalizations and pushing the envelope when it comes to materlialistic lifestyles. Suffice it to say that in this book, the characters are never descbribed, they are clones of each other only individualized by their Bill Blass tie, or their Armani shoes, or their Ralph Lauren shirts. The characters themselves are never sure of each other¿s identities. Half the time people assume you are somebody else, and most of the time people do not care.<BR/><BR/>Intriguing as this book is, however, I have to say it is not for everyone and those of a sensitive constitution should probably steer away from it. Paired with its comedic parody of life in the ¿successful¿ world of business, this book takes you in some very graphic, vivid trips into sexuality and violence. Thankfully, the author knows well enough to keep that from over saturating the story, giving just enough doses to make it shocking, without ever making it overdone.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2007

    Symbolic of the 80s

    I love this book. It's hilarious, and Patrick Bateman may be the most fascinating character I've ever read about. Ellis's writing is flawless, biting and witty except on the rare occasions when he chooses to be somber (and the book is actually pretty sad when he does). There's a lot of intense violence in this book but because you read about it in such a blunt, matter-of-fact way, you don't feel it at all, and it actually amuses, rather than appals, you. The people Patrick kills (or rapes, or tortures) don't seem real, and it's as if Patrick (and, by extension, the reader) is God, and those people are merely insignificant, lesser beings who serve no purpose other than to be killed (or raped, or tortured). In short, we enter the mind of a serial killer. And no one can deny that it's an interesting place to be. Oh yeah, and it's really entertaining to watch as Patrick spins further and further out of control, and no one notices. Probably the best social commentary/satire I've ever read =)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2007

    American Psatire

    If you enjoy dark humor, then this book is for you. If you enjoy VERY dark humor, then this book is for you. If you are susceptible to becoming noxious, this book is definitely not for you. A grotesquely violent and wildly funny satire on the lives of Wall Street businessmen and how shallow the lifestyle can actually become, the book takes you into the life and mind of Patrick Bateman: psychotic serial killer and Wall Street businessman who has an obsession with fashion, Donald Trump, women, accounts, cocaine, being attractive, and his hair. In satirical fashion, Ellis successfully portrays the Bateman of Wall Street, despite his every effort, as holding no real identity except that of a psychotic murderer. Ellis¿s unique prose is fascinating. His punctuation and sentence length may seem odd at first and difficult to read, but that is quickly forgotten as you realize that his writing is beautifully executed. At first glance, it reminded me of the almost unbearable writing of historic British literature by Emily Bronte or Jane Austen, but Ellis is simply not boring. In fact, he is brilliant and exhilarating. Bret Easton Ellis acutely documents and painstakingly writes about Bateman¿s detailed obsession with fashion, and the result is a well-researched work of fiction with hilarious results. The psychotic escapades of Pat Bateman are no less detailed and oftentimes too vivid. Reading it, I could not help myself from cringing in pain and disgust as he would colorfully and dramatically describe the brutal torture and murder of animals, children, women, and men. Having never lived the life but having friends who are on Wall Street, the story takes all the negative stereotypes you have ever heard and applies them to a single person ¿ who just so happens to be a psychotic killer as well. While following around the most narcissistic jackass on Wall Street with a penchant for murder provides for high entertainment at times, don¿t read this book if you have a weak stomach. Overall, Ellis takes Bateman and the reader on a wild ride in American Psycho, succeeding in delivering a scathing satire of Wall Street, though at times it can become a little too gruesome no matter who you are.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2006

    Yes, it may be the most disgusting book ever...

    Yes it is hard to read, yes it can make you squirm in your seat, yes it can be tedious and drag at times, yes it can make you wonder if there should be an age limit for books, and yes...it is a great novel. And if it makes you wonder about the human mind, if it makes you look at someone that you think you know and wonder...maybe, just maybe...then the novel has made its point.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2005

    Hated it, but....

    I was disgusted and hated every page, but felt compelled to finish it. I'm glad I did because it stayed with me and the more I turned the story over in my brain, the more brilliant I thought it was. It is a terrifying indictment of a society that that places material goods and status above all else. The book is as relevant today as it was in the 80's - money is still the all-powerful force that makes the world go 'round, but should it?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2003

    The truth is sometimes ugly .

    American Psycho is as brilliant as it is disturbing. The book is a fictional first person account of Paul Bateman who, by all outward appearances, is the epitome of sucess: he's young, rich, and handsome with a prestigeous white collar job. He enjoys the best that the material world has to offer: he dines at the finest restaurants, lives in a lavish apartment, and wears the most expensive clothing-- all of which he enjoys describing in excruciating detail thoughout the novel. One other interesting fact: he is also a psychopathic serial killer who takes particular delight in luring women back to his apartment where he systematically tortures, mutilates, disfigures, cannabilizes, dismembers and disembowels them in every way imaginable. The prose is interlaced with dark comedy and eroticism but any sane person who reads this book will be repulsed by the detailed descriptions of torture and murder. The author's central theme seems to be that human compassion and empathy are fast becoming casualties of our hyper-competitive society- a society that tacitly, and in some cases, explicitly encourages a social-darwinian world view. What is truely frightening is that Bateman's general attitude and lack of compassion for others is not all that uncommon (at least here in New York). I would recommend this book for adults who have a very high tolerance for printed depictions of extreme violence and cruelty.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2003

    Fatal

    This book really apitifies the theory of shock tactics, the contrast between business man and serial killer is something the world has not seen since the days of 'Jekyll nad Hyde' and this book ultimatley is n updated version along that theme. However the true nature of this book only becomes apparent towards the end when the acute reader begins to recognize the underlying story, this is where we see Ellis' true colours because despite keeping the reader gripped the violence and pure vulgarity of the book masks an actual sub-story which in itself is gripping and poignant. A Profound read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2002

    American Psycho: Book vs. Movie

    The American Psycho Movie was far better than the book although I did enjoy them both thoroughly. The actor who played Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) portrayed his character perfectly and i'm glad that I saw the movie before reading the book because it helped me see Patrick in my mind and understand his thoughts much clearer than I would have. The book was spread out much more in a frame of time from the mid- eighties to the start of the nineties, which is something that the movie didn't include. The book also helped me realize how the madness of Patrick Bateman increased as time grew on and explained the causes of it. I still preferred the movie because it is the greatest in my opinion, but would still highly recommend reading the novel. SEE THE MOVIE IF YOU HAVEN'T!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2002

    How much is too much? Sacrificing depth for gore

    If there is one book that oversteps the boundaries of satire into the depths of hidden social class and chaos, then this book is it. Although at times this book seems to be more of a 'gross-you-out-beyond-belief' attempt than a statement about high society, it still manages to achieve its goals between the gore. You may be disgusted hearing about the main character Patrick Bateman using a woman's own limbs to beat her jaw off, or simply appalled when reading about a gigantic rat used to retrieve cheese from inside a woman's body, but don't let that overshadow the great depth and literary genius of this main character. He shows absolutely no sympathy for his victims (even a child in the park) and finds no release for his tendencies in other ways. He is truly complex. One of the best lines in the book involves a conversation with his fiance Evelyn, in which Evelyn asks why Patrick even works with the amount of wealth that he has. He simply replies, 'I want to fit in.' This shows that even though he tries to overcome the conformities and norms of the upper society, he is still bounded to them. This is a direct parallel to his homicidal life, one he cannot escape even if he tries. One of the best aspects of the book is when Bateman goes into detail about the material aspect of his life. He embodies the material-driven lifestyle that America has pressed upon everyone under its wing. In a very comical and deep scene, Bateman and coworkers show each other their new business cards, and just the lettering and color alone yield way to great envy and disgust. That these characters, especially Bateman, become so infuriated over such an insignificant detail really displays the genius of American Psycho. Another message that hits home is the fact that Bateman attempts, under many circumstances, to reveal his homicidal lifestyle to others. He reaches out for help, especially to his lawyer with a detailed confession, but since America is moving so blindingly quick, no one stops to care. The point that no one really recognizes anyone else is also key. If the book has one major flaw, it is that at times, Ellis seems to sacrifice his depth of character for sheer gore. Some parts are terribly difficult to read, simply because you really hope that things like this do not happen in real life. But I say, if you're going to go for a book like this, you should go all out. I would rather be hit with a two-by-four than be tapped on the shoulder with the themes that occur in American Psycho, and any book that can keep you from sleeping well that night is worth the effort.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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