“I’m writing this review on my iMac with a 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of 1600 MHZ DDR3 memory and a 21-inch LED-backlit display with IPS technology. It sits on top of my Antique Walnut HEMNES desk from IKEA and I’m sitting on my IKEA Vilgot swivel chair with handrests (in black). I’m wearing a 100% cotton, 3/4-length sleeve Henley shirt in purple, a black cotton-lycra exercise pant and SmartWool socks (all from LL Bean). This morning, the topic on The Jerry Springer Show was dwarves who practice S&M and the women who love them.
I’ve just come back from dinner at L’Auberge, where I had free-range squid topped with ceviche and grape jelly. Tompkins (or someone who looked remarkably like Tompkins but could have been Jenkins) had apricots and lamb in a balsamic vinegar reduction topped with juniper berries and an olive. She was wearing 100% worsted wool pencil skirt and a white silk blouse (all Ralph Lauren) and 6.5″ stiletto alligator leather heels from Christian Louboutin. I’ve got reservations for Bon Temps tomorrow, but the fact that I got reservations makes me think I shouldn’t eat there. I might use my Samsung Galaxy S III with a 4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED (1280×720) display and 4GLTE technology to cancel. I might be able to get into Doria using Tompkin’s name (if that was Tompkins … it could have also been Jensen or Jenkins). But first I’ve got to return my videos.
Now insert 14 paragraphs describing the most vile, depraved, stomach-turning, repulsive, sick-making, stomach-heaving sicko sex and violence that you can imagine and you’ve pretty much gotten the gist of American Psycho.
To say this book had some sick stuff in it is an understatement. I was prepared for that (or thought I was—Bret Easton Ellis has a very very sick mind). What I didn’t expect was the humor. (The “free-range squid” quote is direct from the book—despite the almost mind-numbing descriptions of what everyone is wearing and eating, you can’t skim or you’ll miss some sly wit.) The running joke about how everyone mixes up the identities of everyone else in their social circle was another one that amused me. But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.
This is a book about a young man (Patrick Bateman—the titular psycho) who works on 1980s-era Wall Street and personifies the Yuppie lifestyle of conspicuous consumption, brand-name clothing, dinners at the latest, trendiest restaurants, clubbing and cocaine. Unlike his contemporaries, Bateman also has another hobby—torture and murder, which he carries out with a chilling nonchalance. And, like everything else in his shallow empty life devoid of any human emotions or connections, he describes it in dispassionate detail. To Patrick, the question of how and when to wear a pocket square and how and where to dispose of the corpse of a decapitated prostitute are given the same attention (with perhaps a bit more passion placed on the pocket square issue). In short, Bateman is a sick fuck. Yet the “joke” of the book is that no one (save for his victims) takes him or his occasional shocking statements (“I’d like to see a woman’s head on a stick”) seriously.
I’m sure (hope? pray?) that Easton Ellis meant this book as a savage indictment/satire of Yuppie culture in Manhattan at a specific place and time. It’s probably why the book is on the list of 1001 Books To Read Before You Die. But if you’re going to skip one of those 1001 books, this might a good one. Although it has its moments and it makes it points, it is truly disturbing and I’d have to agree with Stephen King’s opinion on this one:
Do I think that all books and all ideas should be allowed in school libraries? I do not. Schools are, after all, a “managed” marketplace. Books like “Fanny Hill” and Brett Easton Ellis’ gruesome “American Psycho” have a right to be read by people who want to read them, but they don’t belong in the libraries of tax-supported American middle schools.
In other words, proceed with extreme caution.”