Sunday, September 2, 2012

Review: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Rating (Out of 5): ~2-2.5
Publisher: (All over the place; it's a classic, everyone owns it. I borrowed the copy I read, and I don't remember what company it was from; sorry.)
Spoilers?: Yes, with warnings.

Goodreads Synopsis:

In American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of madness and captures the insanity of violence in our time or any other. Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront.

[There is some light cussing in this review.]

This is another book that I read because my brother wanted me to. Previously, he had raved to me about how good it was, and that I should read it (actually, it had become the book he would tease me about, because of how I refused to read it, without really knowing too much about it). I was over there for several weeks this summer, so I decided to read a couple of his books, and this was the last one I read before leaving. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, what I was going to think about it at all, and the beginning wasn’t even too bad. And then I read more of it, and that kind of changed things.
Now, I had a good outlook when I started this one. Albeit, before starting it, I had given The Rulesof Attraction, by the same author, a try, and that one had been a big fail*. But I was giving him another chance with this book, especially since my brother also did not like The Rules of Attraction, but loved this one.
So, here: I did not like this book. I could barely stand this book. I think loathed and hated are too strong of words for my feelings of this book, but they’re really close. Some of my feelings of hate and disgust lowered, though, I think, when I finished the book. Perhaps because there was a chapter near the ending that I liked. Perhaps because I was just so happy to be done with this terrible book that I had spent the last, like, five-ish days on.
Now, I’m just happy for it to finally be over.
If you haven’t read this book, it’s about Patrick Bateman. He works on wall street, in high society New York. Where people don’t really notice other people, where they are too stuck in their own lives and gossiping about others. They are all, every single character, too materialistic and selfish and self-centered. And just… They are all just so freakin’ despicable and there was not a single character that I liked, that I even halfway enjoyed reading about.
And, the materialistic thing? It's ridiculous how materialistic Patrick is. You can barely go more than, maybe, two pages, definitely not more than, say, ten, without there being at least a paragraph of description on what everyone is wearing. And so many brand name, high-class labels. I would suspect it were product placement if it didn't happen so often, and if it weren't just a way for Ellis to shove how stuck-up Patrick is into the readers' face.
I am just so done with this book and this author that I almost don’t even want to talk about it anymore. But that’s not what I’m doing here. I am talking about it here, just like I read this book, because I obviously hate myself.
Patrick doesn’t like people, and yet is surrounded by them all the time. He, like everyone else in this book, is somewhat serious with one person, and yet is cheating on her with someone else, all the time. (None of them seems to understand that there is such a thing as being faithful.)
[Spoilers ahead!] Patrick, as is pointed out in the synopsis, has something wrong with him. Which is so very true. He’s going psychotic and killing people (any type of person, really, and even animals) for no reason; and, along with that, he’s a cannibal, and the ways he kills people are, yea, creative and disturbing. But honestly, the violent killings didn't even bother me so much after a point; I was just not surprised anymore. And one thing that bothered me: he’s doing it so openly! He’ll walk around with blood stains on him, he’ll threaten people, he’ll tell people to their face that he’s killing others, and no one even notices.
Which, okay, I get it. That’s a major theme of the book: that no one notices anything around them. No one pays attention to anyone but themselves. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t drive me crazy. Because, you know what? Now, at least, I would like to think that, if someone suspects something it happening, they’re going to call the police, at the very least. And there is no reason for people not to suspect something is wrong with him.
Everything about him is wrong.
But, of course, everyone loves him. He smiles while saying something disturbing and no one notices. He waves some money around and gets what he wants. All the women love him. Everyone thinks he’s innocent or nice or sweet or something the opposite of a killer. It’s so goddamn ridiculous.
God, this book fuckin’ drove me crazy.
Those are, mostly, the things that bothered me. The rating, for how much I disliked the book, is a little high. Here’s why:
The author knew what he was doing. While the way he writes, the long, drag on sentences, and long, drag on paragraphs, with characters that suck, who are doing drugs and hooking up with women and drinking for no reason, I don't particularly like, he knew how to put the book together well. Patrick, while I hated him, was a well-made character. Everything he did, all of his materialistic and psychotic instances, were well done. There was a point to most of it, symbolism and foreshadowing and all that stuff. This book was well put together, okay?
At first, the drag on way of writing kind of annoyed me, but I got used to it. And the fast moving dialogue was usually pretty easy to read, and moved along pretty fast. That doesn’t mean that I enjoyed it, though, because I really didn’t.
Saying that, though, isn’t completely true. There were a couple of chapter that I enjoyed. Not many, but a couple. I liked the one, near the end, where Patrick and a few others guys are trying to figure out what restaurant they’re going to, and end up canceling and making and then canceling reservations, and Patrick accidentally invites two women and can’t remember where he told them to go. Some chapters that I did not like, in particular, were ones that were full of information about some band or singer, with only a little input of what Patrick thought about them. I just did not care enough about Huey Lewis and the News to read eight pages about them. And when he was describing his daily routine, like how he moistens his face and all that crap. I mean, yea, I get it already: Patrick is full of himself. I got that in the first chapter, okay? You don’t have to shove it in my face so much.
[Spoiler ahead!] Oh, and the ending. This is another thing that bothered me. Nothing changed at the end, okay? Just like nothing changed at the end of The Rules of Attraction. He didn’t learn anything, nothing happened to him, he didn’t die or go to jail. He’s still going crazy and killing people. It just made it seem like there was no point, and I don’t like that. What was the freakin’ point of reading about him, about what he does, about all his double-faced crap, when there wasn’t even a good resolution? Just… what was the point?
I’ve given the book an extra star for what the author did. So, without that star, this book would be about a 1-1.5, so it’s bumped up to a 2-2.5. There’s no way I can happily, in any way, round that up to a 3, though. The book started out in a 3 range, but now, it’s not even close.
I’m done with this book now. Once this is posted, and that book is away from me, I am done. I don’t have to read it or think about it anymore. I don't even think I want to watch the movie. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to read an adult, romance-ridden, smut-filled book that I will actually enjoy, just to get the taste of this book out of my freakin’ brain.

*I aimed for fifty pages, okay? I got ten. And then I got, I think, forty. And then I just could not read any more. Its standing rating is a one, and barely even that. I’m not officially giving it a rating, because I don’t like reviewing something if I haven’t finished it, but I’m pretty sure I have given up on that book, which is something I haven’t done before. There is a very, very low chance that I will try again, or at least try to finish it, but a higher chance that I will not. I just… I didn’t like anything about it: the writing was bad, the characters sucked completely, there was almost no point to the whole thing. I even watched the movie, in an effort to motivate myself to finish the book, and I didn’t even want to finish that, okay?

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