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Customer Review

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Generation X classic which makes Coupland look like a light weight, 12 April 2006
This review is from: American Psycho (Paperback)
Easton-Ellis' first person description of the development of a psychopath is nothing short of mind blowing and this fact alone makes American Psycho a great novel. Following the anti-hero Patrick Bateman through about a year of his life and aided by flashbacks to past events the reader is drawn ever more into the mindset of a killer and his normalisation and disassociation from the acts that he is committing. At the beginning of the book (where violence is only hinted at briefly), it is very easy to laugh at Bateman, his shallow life, appalling friends and fiancé and his assumption that happiness and wealth are one and the same thing. As the story develops one can almost feel pity for someone who is so clearly trapped in a life not of his choosing but which he is unwilling to leave for all the wrong reasons.

Bateman's increasingly violent behaviour and periods of psychosis characterise the middle of the book, but the author still finds room to add his own brand of dark humour to the situations he puts his star into. In the final section of the book we see Bateman develop into a full blown psychopathic monster, completely out of control and unable to repress the primal urges that are overcoming him.

That Easton-Ellis manages to achieve this whilst taking a sideways sneer at eighties yuppie culture AND providing an allegorical interpretation of what it means to be alive in modern day America is what makes this novel remarkable and ultimately an essential read.

My only complaint is that the novel is too long. Did the Huey Lewis and The News chapter really add anything to the plot, particularly after lengthy discussions on Genesis and Whitney Houston? Some of the later murders also seemed to add very little to the development of the character or the plot and one could argue were only added for pure shock value. (I'm thinking in particular of the murder of the escort girls and the rat chapter). This has the effect of making the last fifty to a hundred pages a bit of a chore, and dilutes the otherwise excellent ending.

Like Lunar Park this novel creeps up on you and doesn't necessarily leave you in a better place than when you started it. There is no happy ending and if you feel disgusted after 200 pages it is probably best to put the book down at this stage rather than put yourself through the last 150 pages which are far more graphic. If you found the humour in the film entertaining and didn't find the murders too gory then I would recommend this. If you have trouble dealing with misogyny or black comedy then it is probably best to do what most of New York's high society should have done and avoid Bateman altogether.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Jan 2010 23:07:10 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Jan 2010 23:07:55 GMT
IF1 says:
"...and avoid Bateman altogether", hahaha, a touch of black humour there, in complete harmony with the story, the movie rocks as well, Bale is magnificent...
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Location: London, UK

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