My goodness how time flies. I read American Psycho when I was a student back in 2000. Ten years have passed and I remember every single detail of this book very clearly. Saying that it’s not a book that you will forget.
Patrick Bateman is a victim of the 80’s yuppie culture. He is obsessed with brand names (trust me every single product that he uses or wears is world-renowned) eats at the finest restaurants and discusses money with his friends. He has a glitzy ‘girlfriend’ and on the side takes out the odd escort to spice up his life.
Now this is where things go a bit awry.
Bateman is also a vicious killer. He is not subtle either, the majority end up with tons of blood and gore. He is not selective either. A dog, child and a prostitute are some of the unlucky creatures to fall victim to his cruel hands. Each murder, or psychotic act is described in ultra violent rich detail. It’s not a book to read while eating lunch.
Bateman is not a reliable narrator. There is one scene where Bateman paints a room with a victim’s blood and it is spotless the next day. There are characters who he greets and they don’t remember him. Plus the whole book has these perforated lines instead of individual chapters, which gives the impression that Bateman is just jotting down ideas on scraps of paper other than documenting his life in a diary. Also, why are there interjections on 80’s bands like Huey Lewis and the News? My conclusion is that Bateman is so bored being a yuppie he has to escape into some fantasy psychotic world in order to actually stay sane.
Ultimately American Psycho is a brutally savage attack on Yuppie culture and the Wall Street boom. Bateman is so trapped that cannot cope with being a filthy rich man and is so immersed into his own world that he finds it difficult to understand where is he is.
It’s brilliant book and incredibly quotable at times but you do need a lot of strength to get through the gore but remember it may be an illusion. A word of advice to the first chapter is awful and the novel picks up as soon as Bateman describes his morning routine.