Book Review: American Psycho
Ok so most of us have probably heard of the creepy, allegorical, gruesome novel that is American Psycho. What I want to know is, do all of us understand it? This novel has been hailed in many circles as violent and completely irrelevant to anything, it’s simply an excuse for a man to write about the different ways to violate a body, and to catalog where to get good food. Confusing? I would say so.
So what is the book about?
Patrick Bateman is a very wealthy stock broker who works on Wall Street. He wears expensive suits, eats expensive food, does expensive drugs, and buys anything that he can randomly grab in a store. He is the epitome of consumerism. His values are non-existent, as is his respect for the human race. The book is told from his clinical point of view, and not once throughout the near 400 page novel do we experience anything but cold observation. Most of the time Bateman is in a drugged or drunken stupor so we can not always be sure of the validity of the perspective. However, we do know that this man is committing a lot of crimes and spending a lot of money.
Other than committing crimes and spending money, Bateman attends a great many social engagements. He has a large amount of “friends” who all find each other indistinguishable. Generic names are tossed around. Sex is as mundane as brushing your teeth. Everyone’s girlfriend/fiancee/wife is sleeping with everyone else’s wife/fiancee/girlfriend. It’s this vicious cycle. In some ways that inhumanity that exists within the society that Bateman finds himself a part of, may be the reason he does what he does. No one in his world cares about anything remotely important, so why not take a chainsaw to someone’s jaw? (Yeah, it’s that grotesque, but even worse.)
The book was a lesson for me. It taught me that writers are a little insane. They deal with subject matter and themes that no one really wants to approach. The great writers of the past generally ended up in asylums or died prematurely. Sometimes society can’t take revolutionary ideas. They need to sit in a box of convention with the shades shut tight. Bret Easton Ellis all but burned the shades as well as the box those people live in, and boy was he in for a tidal wave of hate when he did. However, that’s a whole other story. Read the book, and you’ll see what I mean.
Until next time or not, I’m still Cait.