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Phil Collins solo was better than Genisis for sure!
Phil Collins solo was better than Genisis for sure!

American Psycho

Another excuse to rock Huey Lewis!

Lise Johnson - Saturday, March 28, 2009

Released: 1991
Author: Bret Easton Ellis
Publisher: Vinatge Books
Website: Vintage Books
Buy this book at Amazon

I’ve wanted to write up a review of this book since ICSYB started almost two years ago. Why the procrastination? Well, one I’m lazy and two, it would mean having to read it again. You have to be in a certain fairly healthy, happy state of mind going into this book. Remember back in 1994/95 when parents and advocacy groups were getting all, “won’t someone think of the children” about the imagery in Natural Born Killers? And then the rumors going around that young Mickey and Mallory emulating couples were watching the movie on LSD to psyche themselves up to jump out of their neighbors bushes to stab them? Nobody remembers that? I was doing a lot acid myself at the time so this could be a totally made up urban legend. Anyway, when all of that Focus on the Family fear was being thrown around about a lazily made “shock” piece (Done much better with Funny Games, by the way), I was unafraid.

hey baby!What I was afraid of was some Holden Caulfield type getting his hands on American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis that would lead to a bloodlust spree that would make Clarence Boddicker look like Kevin Spacey’s gay serial killer in Se7en.

Anyhow, I can now say that there was no fresh perspective gained upon re-reading nearly fourteen years after I read it the last time. It’s still a brutally clever satire of the “Greed is Good”, ketchup as a vegetable era. If you ever envied or had that time in American history glamorized out of proportion in your mind, knock it off. The book reminds you of the shallowness, selfishness and in the case of our protagonist, Patrick Bateman, literal bloodlust that was required to be a member of the club.

classic!There’s always been something wired a little wrong in his brain that goes beyond rich, spoiled brat but the entitlement doesn’t help the idea of him as a monster. We are given the idea that he does it out of boredom or a desire to feel anything at all and the idea of this person blending so well into that crass, indifferent class of people scares the shit out of me. The lesson? Lunatics are everywhere, no matter how dapper or dreary their clothing. That money, privilege, and power coupled with social standing do nothing for retaining any semblance of sanity that it seems Patrick strives for, even at his worst. I swear to God, if you read this, don’t feel bad for conjuring up some sympathy for the character, no matter how dark and horrible he gets. Good writers have to have an identifiable character to shape the story with and Patrick really is a remarkable character to get to do this with.

So don’t go around thinking you’re a sick fuck for laughing at certain things that in the real world would make you dry heave. This book does kind of seep into your psyche though and to me, that’s the measure of any great art. Does it stick with you, challenge you, and make you re-think yourself or something else?

This book does all of that and maintains great style and a gorgeously worded read on top. Just make sure you’ve been taking your meds regularly and stay away from playgrounds for a while, okay?

 

 

Many different covers of the book - I like this one.
Many different covers of the book - I like this one.

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