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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel of two frighteningly different halves
On the one hand this book is, and let me make this clear straight away, one of the most repulsive books I have ever read. The further you get throught the book, the more horrific the murders become. It would be very easy to dismiss this as an empty, attention-grabbing ploy.
But that would be unfair: this book works brilliantly as a satire on the 1980s attitudes...
Published on 12 July 2001

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strangely compelling...
When I told some friends that I'd picked American Psycho their immediate reactions told me that I was in for a unusual, probably difficult, read. It is most certainly unusual and parts of it I had to read very quickly and with my eyes half-closed.

The description of Patrick Bateman's life in American Psycho is, on the surface, a dry portrayal of the...
Published on 21 Oct. 2010 by IDHunter


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best novel written in America since "The Great Gatsby", 24 Dec. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: American Psycho (Paperback)
F. Scott Fitzgerald has a successor. Easton Ellis' coruscating portrait of the monied class as it behaves in contemporary times stands comparison, in its perspicacity, with Fitzgerald's insights into the plutocracy of the Twenties and Thirties. Savagely satirical, achingly funny, and appallingly violent - often within the space of the same page - this is the novel people will read in two hundred years' time, if they want to know what life was like in the last years of the twentieth century.
On a qualitative par with "Gatsby", this is beyond question the deepest, funniest, most memorable, and most emotionally draining novel I have ever read. It still disturbs me that as the tale unfolds I find myself less and less able to dislike its ghastly, tortured hero. Like Fitzgerald, Easton Ellis will always be remembered for this book above all his others, whatever their merits.
A novel of monsters, created by a giant.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make your own mind up!, 27 July 2000
By A Customer
Ignore these reviews, read the book and make up your own mind! This book is so cleverly written that you will need to come back to it time and again to get the most out of it. Yes, the violence is deeply disturbing and horrific but the author, in my opinion, means us to be horrified by it. Yes, the fashion comments get boring, but this is a reflection of the character's obsessive behaviour brought about through drug addiction, not to mention the whole social satire of the fashion conscious 80's. And, of course, what everyone has so far neglected to mention, is the question of whether or not the main character actually committed the crimes in question or whether they were the drug fuelled fantasies of a sick mind! Ultimately I was left feeling pity for a character who in no way deserved it. The main character ends up being not only a product of his time but all that was wrong and evil about his time, nevertheless I cannot help but see him as a helpless victim swept up on a wave of commercialsm and hype of all that a rich successful young man ought to be. This expectation fuelled by drugs makes him the screwed up kind of yuppie you might expect but 1000 times worse. The graphic descriptions of poverty and violence merely serve to shock the reader out of the apathy that they, along with everyone one else, has succombed to in their everyday reading of newspapers and watching T.V, violence is not just described in this book it is glorified and it takes this to shock us in a world where violence is accepted as the norm! Well done Bret Easton Ellis for a book which is not only a very good read but which challenges the reader on a number of issues and moral standpoints. I defy any person who has read this book not to look at the world around them more closely, a novel which truly opens ones eyes to the society in which we live.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book of all times!, 2 Jan. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: American Psycho (Paperback)
It's not just that this book's story is seen from the sickly subtle mind of a raper, torturer and killer yuppie who just cannot satisfy his material and physical needs. It's more the unique way in which Bret Easton Ellis tells the story.
His style is pure literary genius, I've never seen anything like it! As a reader you feel like you're just standing there, in the middle of it all. A style which creates an extremely intense effect.
I only know two people apart from myself who have managed to read »American Psycho« from the first to the last page. I wonder why, 'cause the language is straight forward, and the novel is so tense, I had difficultiues putting the book down!
This is the best book I have ever read! It really is! The maybe upcoming film version can never create the intense effects and chills of the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Kindle edition, 9 April 2012
By 
Grant Fitzgerald (Edinburgh, UK) - See all my reviews
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The book itself is excellent but I doubt if the Kindle edition was actually proof-read. There are quite a lot of minor typographical errors which are a distraction, as well as half a sentence in the "Killing Dog" chapter which has somehow ended up being transplanted into the wrong paragraph, destroying the flow completely. These errors are not present in my old Picador print edition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessarily gory, 4 May 2014
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I am not one to shy away from gory and disturbing books, when they make a point. This isn't just a reaction against hard reading, although there is not a glimmer of anything positive in this book to lift your mood, its a reaction against the unrelenting manner in which this book shoves your face into evilness. It leaves you with nothing, no personal reaction to the book, to carry with you. Its basically a pointless read, it fills you with negative emotions and leaves you with them, without doing anything to change your persective on the issues raised in the book. It shocks for the sake of shocking, not for the sake of contributing something to your understanding of people, or relationships, or mental health, or your own mind.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Shocking Thinker, 16 July 2004
I approached this book after becoming a fan of the excellent movie based on it. I do not know whether this is unfortunate or not. Easton Ellis has created a curious beast. The book opens up harmlessly, with slightly odd stylings such as detailed descriptions of characters clothing and so on. It then introduces you to some of the most shocking cases of murder imaginable. As has been said before, this is not for the faint hearted. Yet despite this, it is strewn with acute humor. This coupled with the homicide leaves one in an emotional sandstorm which is quite unique. If you wish to be tested, this is for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars do they see beyond the superficial, 26 July 2013
I just read this on summer holidays in Spain. The usual book shop that sold english books was closed down so while walking along a town i saw a book shop with an english section and i was drawn to this book.
I found it intriguing and frustrating, violent and funny, stimulating and mundane. Even in reading therefore it evoked in me reactions which mirrored the two sided nature of Mr Bateman's confession. But i felt that the frustration and mundane bits were important aspects of the book to highlight the insights into the way society can be so superficial at times and contrast it to the real depth of the depravity and violence within Mr Bateman. I read the reviews and i felt that the shock and horror at the violence in fact some how justified the underlying analysis of society that the book portrayed. I wouldn't think the author would be surprised that people of a closed mind set would be outraged.
The tempo of the book I felt increased as it went along but I think the real skill was keeping it constant at any given point between the work/restaurant scenes and the chapters where Mr Bateman was letting his desires overcome him.
I appreciated his use of what i would consider the mundane to perhaps frustrate or to even keel the reader. I would think only the most fickle of reader would really appreciate all the names of suits and ties and such like but it set the scene of big city excesses and over whelming self centered personalities. The same could be said of the music descriptions. It stood out that Mr Bateman could talk on the subject of Genesis and Whitney Heuston to a phd level of detail but never once really mentioned any real details of his work.
The use of the last of the chapters on music and its position in the book heightened I felt the authors use of frustration (perhaps the skill of building towards a climax and letting the audience have a respite before the final shock.
Maybe if you read it, look beyond the obvious and enjoy the book for all its worth
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good bed time story for children, 9 Feb. 2013
By 
Michael Cunningham (Melbourne, Victoria (AUS)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: American Psycho (Paperback)
"I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don't know why. My nightly bloodlust has overflown into my days. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip."

American Psycho (1991) is a hallucinatory web of social satire spun by author Bret Easton Ellis about a psychopathic serial killer who works in Wall Street in the 1980s. The book examines the dark side effect of a society heavily absorbed in a life of passive consumerism and also its desensitisation to extreme violence through television. The magic of American Psycho is how the author manages to juxtapose these two threads seamlessly - "Dinner last night? At Splash. Not much to remember: a watery Bellini, soggy arugula salad, a sullen waitress. Afterwards I watched a repeat of an old Patty Winters Show that I found on what I originally thought was a videotape of the torture and subsequent murder of two escort girls from last spring (the topic was Tips on How Your Pet Can Become a Movie Star)." American Psycho is undoubtedly black comedy at it's finest, and perhaps darkest; told through a first person perspective it details the day to day life of Patrick Batemen, a 27 year old who works in mergers and acquisitions at a company called Pierce & Pierce. Bateman is described as being quite wealthy and yet he does absolutely no work throughout the book, and instead spends his time bouncing between extreme ultraviolence and repetitive social outings. His life is completely void of passion and involvement and he even becomes numb to his massacres, which increase in scale like a rising wave throughout the course of the story.

The book has been scolded by many - feminists especially - for its misogynist and overly violent nature, and saw the author with a mailbox full of death threats. It was also praised for its daring exploration of the dark recesses of the human psyche, a timeless case study of a human soul completely fractured and devoid of social morals and values. What Bret Easton Ellis accomplished with American Psycho was the literary birth of a true monster - a monster that could very well lurk in the hearts of all ordinary people. The novel uses social satire to hint that this monster exists as modern consumerism, obsession with work, and a blending in with the environment and inability to stand out as an individual, as evidenced by Batemen and his colleagues total inability to properly identify their co workers, and even other characters inability to identify Batemen - "Owen has mistaken me for Marcus Halberstam (even though Marcus is dating Cecelia Wagner) but for some reason it really doesn't matter and it seems a logical faux pas since Marcus works at P & P also, in fact does the same exact thing I do."

American Psycho is not pleasure reading (unless you're a sadist of course) but is gruelling and tough to swallow. It's hard to tell what is more torturous to read, pages upon pages of violent mutilation being described in vivid detail, or whole chapters dedicated to Batemen's rambling reviews of his favourite bands and musicians (Genesis, Whitney Houston, Huey Lewis and the News etc). The book, while highly entertaining, borders on formulaic, and can be quite repetitive in it's 'murder scene, dinner scene, murder scene, endless lists of what people are wearing, what the topic on the Patty Winters show is, murder scene' approach. The author loves to write the vilest, most disturbing stuff that could possibly exist in the human imagination, and then juxtapose it with something completely mundane, such as a long argument over what restaurant to get a reservation at. However, this is what American Psycho is all about, and to take this element of the book away would be to reduce it from a powerful social commentary into something Marquis De Sade would read on the toilet. The only reason the repetitive nature of the book bothers me is that a lot of it felt unnecessary. At 400 pages, the book is like a never ending story that feels as though it should've achieved it's goal in half the page length.

But perhaps the thing that disturbs me the most is how I eventually skimmed through most of the boring parts of the book and took my time reading the violent bits. I might even say the only reason I read and enjoyed American Psycho is because, like most people, I have a dark side, and it gets a thrill out of reading or watching things I would never do in real life. Why else do we read books or watch television if not to vicariously experience events outside our day to day routine? If nothing else, American Psycho might make you question your own reflection in the mirror.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sushi My Girlfriend, 19 Oct. 2007
By 
Philip Solo (UK , Japan, or Thailand) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: American Psycho (Paperback)
We have a guy called `Bateman' at work. He looks and behaves nothing like the `hero' of this novel, isn't impeccably dressed, doesn't eat lunch in smart restaurants, doesn't earn a huge 6 figure salary and hopefully.. his nocturnal activities don't match either... but like the central character in this novel.. everyone just calls him `Bateman...'

Patrick Bateman is Hannibal Lector's yuppie nephew preceding our favourite `slice n dice' psychiatrist by a good many years but with a lust for sudden explosive gore-soaked violence that would make his `Uncle Hannibal' proud. Bret Easton Ellis's exquisite, expensively manicured and `his hair was perfect' protagonist is a narcissistic self obsessed over paid and indulgent dealer. His daytime obsession apart from making huge money is to outdo his other vacuously self centred male clique inmates demonstrating one-upmanship - achieve the `perfect' exclusive impossible-to-get restaurant booking, obtain snob-club memberships and flaunt their cartier-gucci-rolex-versace style-brand obsessions.

High powered 80s `new men'...they preen, strut, gossip and whinge their way through their overprivileged expense account lives driven by media trivia statistics. Their biting sneering criticism is a prescient glimpse of the male version of `Sex in the City' - a triumphant win for greed, gadget- materialism and vanity over meaningful existence. They ruthlessly denigrate everyone, sneer and boast, treat waiting staff and service personnel like scum, and of course they all `hate and despise' the jobless, the homeless and the `underclass' with a vitriol that knows no bounds. They drool over ever more contrived minimalist priced-to-insanity menus, celebrity tailoring, skin treatments and `male perfumes'. They talk yuppie `buzzword' speak and act like the spoiled selfish ***holes they are. Above all they 'hate' women, but can't do without them.

Bateman though, has a secret. He compensates. He twists and blurs and warps his view of the world so that amongst his shallow peer group of preening guppies he is really a silk suited, Armani clad, calvin-klein Thin White Shark (with a perfect tan). At night Bateman targets and stalks prey - women (although the odd homeless tramp can be a suitable target for his murderous rage when the mood strikes) As the book progresses, Bateman's off duty serial killer `hobby' grows and grows into an uncontrollable monster. It's an explosive, bloody and visceral gutting, carving, raping, nail-gunning and beating of women, and gets more and more risky, careless and enthralling to him. Like most extreme sensation seekers he soon becomes jaded and needs an ever more outrageous thrill to produce the desired post event calm.

He is carelessly `wasteful' of his girlfriends, even ones he likes and has moments of bitter-sweet regret - one look, one move, one magazine vignette-style frozen moment or a word can set off the kill frenzy. After which he returns to his daily `act' within the indulgent high profile media dominated GQ `men's world'. A swaggering waxed-smooth male model peacock surrounded by yes-friends ` what shall we eat today , where shall we shop?' Bateman's neurotic male cronies make you think `material girls' are not so bad after all.

As famously asked in Hitch Hikers Guide `what is the meaning of life' .? For Bateman and his ilk its a constant keeping up with and humiliating of their peers and all those `beneath them' - rich diets, hi profile cars, designer suits, and vacuous gold-digger girlfriends just part of advertising land's trim and trappings. Bateman's label-scorning, brand obsessed life is a walking `to die for' OCD obsession, every move style-analysed and scored by our studio audience, folks. The rivers of anxiety, envy and resentment run deep and red through his mental landscape. It's the Land of Excess, the 80s aspirant excess-style-dream world.

The book follows his obsessive-compulsive disorderly decline and descent into homicidal madness and bursts of rage filled murderous self indulgence in a vain attempt to cope with his ever increasing thrill seeking and the bleak despair of boredom. A portrait of the veneer generation where fashion trappings, social status and `bling' outweigh values and where the line between normal `observance' of rules and outright pathological rebellion is a thin one. Bateman crosses the line and like Luke Rhinehart's Dice Man he is on the slippery bloody slope. He sets himself against the rest of grudgingly law abiding society...no way back...!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you can cope you'll be rewarded., 20 Feb. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: American Psycho (Paperback)
I read this book a few months ago and I thought it was one the best books I've ever read ... while that may disturb some people to know that such young people are reading books like this, I think that the younger generation seems more in touch with this book than the oldies. I was reading the reviews with a smile plastered on my face, seeing how many people had given it one or two stars because of it's excessive violence and brutality. It's gritty I admit but I wouldn't go as far to say that it turned my stomach.(It did for some of my friends who seemed kind of shocked when i showed certain sections to them. The book is know in circulation around my class.) I also think that the people who thought that the constant mention and descriptons of what people are dressed in the book were boring didn't quite get it. The constant name dropping was what the 80's was all about. It was a very materialistic world. What I most loved about the book is the way the real "goings on" hit you all of a sudden. Patrick seems like a normal guy but every once and a while he slips a little until suddenly the violence hits you when he commits the first heinous crime in the book. It's superb! The person who read it over 3 years and said that it was a chore was going about it the wrong way. You need to get into it. I read it in a week and a half and I'm certainly a hell of a lot younger than him. Some people will love this book and others will hate it. I for one love t and think that all the people who can cope with it should read it now! It's brill.
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American Psycho
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (Paperback - 26 April 1991)
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