Book 31 American Psycho

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis fulfills
the “Book Featuring One
of the Seven Deadly Sins” for the PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge. The tale
features many sins: Envy, Greed, and Pride. Overkill, right? You have no idea.
Spoilers ahead.
I cannot speak about this novel without revealing
many spoilers. So, if you would like to avoid them, here’s my quick take. I’m a huge horror fan. I’ve been reading
horror since 1983. Sad but true. Stephen King is my jam. Every new story is a
like curling up with a good friend. I’ve read Barker, Koontz, Jackson, Hill,
Trombley, Hendrix, Lovecraft, Straub, Stoker, Poe. You get the idea. American
disturbed me on a Clive Barker level. Like way more than I expected
from the man who gave us Less Than Zero. Yikes, it was graphic and
intense and not for those with a weak stomach.
to spoilers.
This novel got under my skin. The images portrayed
haunted my nights for a while after I read it. I was a teen in the 80s, and
many of the business stuff, power, money, clothes, cultural stuff rang true for
the time. But contrasted with the description of the acts performed by Patrick.
Backing upAmerican
is the tale of Patrick Bateman, who slowly devolves from a corporate businessman
into a psychopathic killer. When not working or eating at 5-star restaurants, he
spends his time torturing and killing people. He seems to be completely detached
to the heinous acts he performs. His deeds fall into many of the seven sins. He
kills because he’s envious, and greedy with materialism that was the 80s. And the
pride he has getting away with murder…I’m sure with some serious thought I
could come up with Wrath, Gluttony, and Lust. But I do not want to think deeply
about this story.
So there you have it. A serial killer loose in New
York City, preying on anyone and everyone he wants. The torture scenes and death
images were horrific, better than any slasher movie I’ve seen. But details niggled at me. Our killer claimed he
ate some of his victims. I had a hard time reconciling his behavior with cannibalism.
Not that I didn’t believe this guy would eat people. Oh, he would if he could.
But his mental state didn’t deteriorate as I thought it should. Cannibalism
attacks the brain with a disease called Kuru, not unlike Mad Cow disease. But
he was pretty nutty by the end.
Also, his need to confess struck me as odd. Why tell
everyone? Was this the Pride sin flashing its ugly head? Perhaps. But no one
believed him. No one bought his crazy stories. No one question the people
around him going missing. No one remarked on the bloodstains in his apartment,
on his clothes (not even his dry cleaner). No one believed him when he outright
said he killed Paul Allen.
Spoilers for sure here.
The end reveals it was all in his head. He never
touched, killed, or hurt anyone. Never tortured a woman with a rat (that was
the WORST image). Never took out his coworker to gain his job. Wha?
Or did he?
The end leaves an ambiguous note about what really happened
in the book and what didn’t.
It was the 80s and drug use (specifically cocaine) abounded. But I think our protagonist
(no way I’m calling him a hero) was a very sick man either way. The author
painted the mental illness in broad, bloody strokes. So by the end, whether or
not he was guilty, we were disturbed deeply by this guy.
Like I said, I’m a horror fan, but this book was just too much for me. 
give American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis Four Dry Cleaning Bills. (Even
though I didn’t love
it, it sure stayed with me.)

Comments 1

  • I once attended a presentation that compared the mindset of serial killers, surgeons and corporate CEOS were the same: single-minded and focused on their own power. Thanks for the review. Definitely one for me to miss.

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