American Psycho might be better known as a film than a book. But the truth is that American Psycho is a 1991 novel written by Bret Easton Ellis that was adapted into a critically-acclaimed film in 2000.
Is this novel any good? Continue reading to find out whether or not it’s worth your time!
Written by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho is a novel that follows the narrative of Patrick Bateman. Bateman is a successful investment banker in his 20s who lived in Manhattan during the 1980s.
Told from Bateman’s perspective, he leads a seemingly normal life. That is until he begins committing violent murders, becoming a serial killer.
American Psycho explores themes such as violence and consumerism. It’s filled with dark scenes that may not be suitable for everyone. Bateman acts as an unreliable narrator, which raises questions about how much of the novel’s events happened.
In 2000, this novel was transformed into a film adaptation starring Christian Bale as Bateman. The film was directed by Mary Harron.
Now that you have everything that you need to know about American Psycho, let’s get into our review! Just bear in mind that this review will contain light spoilers.
In Bateman, Ellis crafts a complex and interesting character. As disgustingly immoral as Bateman is, he is nonetheless a fascinating character. From a psychological perspective, few literary characters are as interesting as Patrick Bateman.
The choice to make Bateman an unreliable narrator is ingenious. It keeps the reader wondering whether or not the book’s events actually happen.
Another fantastic feature of this novel is that it is truly shocking. Once you become familiar with a literary genre, it can sometimes be easy to predict what’s going to happen next. But American Psycho keeps you guessing, creating suspense. This also makes it a difficult book to put down.
The downside of this is that the book can be quite brutal and gruesome. While some readers will be fine with this violence, others may find this triggering. So if you are not a fan of fictional violence, it’s best to avoid reading American Psycho!
Personally, the violence was well-handled. Not to mention, it’s to be expected in a book about a serial killer.
Alongside violence, one of the primary themes of American Psycho is capitalism. The novel essentially acts as a sensational satire of capitalism by highlighting how all of the characters are merely concerned with materialism.
Bateman especially views people as objects, particularly women. This may seem sexist, but in reality, Ellis has included this to highlight how corrupt this consumerist society has become.
Bateman has intentionally been written as a sexist character to demonstrate his complete lack of empathy; he merely views women as meat.
There’s also a focus on materialism. Bateman often describes in detail the clothes that a person is wearing, which emphasizes society’s obsession with materialistic appearances.
Bateman and his work colleagues also spend lots of time focusing on their outer appearances. In doing so, they underline their obsession with vanity and narcissism.
Overall, we enjoy the exploration of capitalism and materialism. It demonstrates the numerous flaws in society since Bateman is not the only character to have these materialistic views. In turn, this highlights flaws in modern society.
Linked to consumerism, wealth is another major theme in American Psycho. Likewise, it’s presented phenomenally.
Due to his wealth, Bateman often looks down on those that are poorer than he is. This can be seen when Bateman kills numerous homeless people, suggesting that he views them as lesser.
It’s possible that Bateman’s schizophrenic episodes could be linked to his way of handling society. Potentially, this could be a result of the wealth-driven capitalist society that Ellis depicts.
Ellis’s portrayal of wealth in the novel is brilliant because it shows how disconnected people can become when they focus on wealth.
American Psycho is a tremendous piece of literature that creates a unique and psychologically fascinating character in Patrick Bateman.
Yet, it’s hard to say whether I would recommend reading American Psycho. This may sound a little odd, given that I’ve spent the majority of this review praising the novel.
But the truth is that American Psycho covers a range of dark topics that may not be suitable for all readers. This includes sexual violence, which some may find triggering.
It’s an intoxicating read that makes you feel a little guilty for experiencing all of the horrific deeds that Bateman conducts. If you enjoy wading through these complex themes, American Psycho is the perfect book for you!
We give it 5 out of 5 stars.
American Psycho is a brilliant book that contains interesting themes. So if this novel sounds interesting, why not give it a try? Hopefully, you will enjoy it as much as we did!