American Psycho

American Psycho
By Bret Easton Ellis

This is a story about capitalism in America. More specifically, how capitalism has replaced humanity and decency. This is a story about greed, power, lust, and how we treat/view those around us.

This is the story of Patrick Bateman, a 1980s Wall Street investment banker ...and a serial rapist and killer.

I, like many people, have seen the movie several times and here is the best way to explain the difference between the two. Before reading the book, I would have given the movie, on the scale of violence and horror-factor, a 10.

After reading the book, I would now give the movie a 4 in comparison.

This book in INSANELY violent.

It is incredibly well written and feels painfully real in its descriptions, which are detailed and let nothing slide. NOTHING. By the end, I had to skim or skip the murder/violent sections because they are so graphic that I found myself feeling physically ill. Me. I can generally handle anything in a book but I had a really hard time with this one. I had to take breaks to go look at cute puppies or babies or anything that would make me feel like there was hope for humanity or life in general.

I would leave the book feeling as though I had just been witness to some atrocity, to someone's horrific murder, to a crime and act I would never be able to remove from my consciousness.

This book is anti-yuppies but, moreso, it is against the view that financial success is paramount in life. Relationships, if they cannot benefit your career and your bank account, are worthless. If they cannot make you feel powerful, if they cannot boost your ego in an unrealistic, deity-like sense, then you might as well eliminate such relationships (and people) immediately. It is about the horror of needing to climb over other people. It is about how disgusting we make ourselves internally when we strive for outer perfection. It is about the loss of humanism in the face of capitalism. It is about monsters in America and the fact that we make them with the pressures of popular culture. It is about what we have the potential to be.

Do I recommend this book? Yes and No. The underlying theme is really interesting, as are the issues and questions and plot at hand. But it is not for the faint of heart... or, more truthfully, if you have a heart, you WILL struggle to get through MANY sections. As an example, I said aloud, "If one more dog gets tortured, I just don't think I can keep reading..."  needless to say, this is not a light, pleasure read.

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