American Psycho is perhaps more known for being controversial as opposed to being classic. When it was first released back in 1991, it stirred quite the riot over it. Some places banned it, others wanted it to be censored, those mentioned within its pages wanted to be dissociated with it. A decade after its release, it was turned into a movie and has pretty much been forgotten about since, after than a few articles on its 25th anniversary.
The story takes place sometime in the 1980’s, although when, I’m not sure. So many clues allude to 1988 or 1989, but his reference to new things, skew the timeframe, especially because our narrator is obsessed with going with the crowd, material possession and what is the “in” thing is. He’s successful, or so he claims and he moonlights as a psychotic killer. Very interesting narrator indeed. If I were to sum this up, it would be Seinfeld meets Psycho in reverse. You see, our narrator is unreliable, much like Humbert in Lolita. You get 100 or so pages in and he describes killing a homeless man, which is so over the top, you wouldn’t even need to read a rudimentary criminality book to know he is full of shit and his bullshitting doesn’t let up from there, until the end, of a lying, banal, but witty, narcissistic, vain and dull shell of a person. Bateman is just going through the motions and you can get an understanding of why and I can completely why the author has expressed it as how he felt during the decade. There is nothing of substance in this book, not even the prose, but it still does so much with so little.
By now, most people know it is a satire, a critique on the 1980’s and its culture of material wealth, meaningless existence and just dialing it in.
If you’re aware enough, you’ll pick up on all the clues around you, that people are self-absorbed, narcissistic, blow-hards with little to no substance. If anything, now with the addition to Millennials, into the world and this is more poignant that ever and could still describe our world today, even if it is a bit dated.
The worst part of this book, is that Patrick is actually a “normal” human, who isn’t actually insane, albeit, slightly OCD, which causes his weird thoughts and obsessions. Add in the fact he is an MBTI Guardian type and that fills in quite a bit of his personality code as to why he is the way he is. One could argue that the stress Batemen is going through is causing his auxiliary to kick in, giving him the odd and inferior intuitive aspects he exhibits.
If this character was written today, there is no doubt that he would be an Incel type, bitching online and expressing himself as vulgarly as he can and probably be leading a cult, resulting in his untimely death.
This book is still relevant, the movie does a piss poor job at recreating what is so good about this book. The beats are all still funny, the prose is a character in and of itself and if you get it, you’ll love this book as I have.
5 stars out of 5