American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis



So far on this blog I’ve only reviewed books I thought were quite good. This is the first book review I am doing of a book I really didn’t like at all. I had initially stopped reading it after 80 pages or so, the reason being there was too much racism, sexism, homophobia,narcissism and of course violence, for me to handle. It was just a mess.

However, I really dislike leaving a book unfinished so after some consideration and some gentle nudging from a Goodreads friend, I decided to finish reading the book. After reading the remaining chapters, my opinion hasn’t changed; I still dislike the book. Yes, the title does clearly suggests psychotic events will be found in the book but I wasn’t ready for the extreme graphic descriptions of brutality depicted. They are honestly the most brutal I have ever read, and as I am a very squeamish person, there was no way I was ever going to enjoy this book.

I also got bored by the repetitive descriptions of food and fashion. I understand why the author felt compelled to put them  there as a sort of parody of American culture in the 80s, but it got annoying after a while.

What I did like were the few chapters that discussed 1980s music icons, Whitney Houston and Genesis in particular. I love 80s music and so I enjoyed those chapters a lot.

I am proud of myself for placing myself outside of my reading comfort-zone at least, but I’m not sure whether finishing the book was helpful in any way, apart from the fact that it made me think of reasons why I disliked the book, and it counts towards my personal banned book challenge.


12 thoughts on “American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

  1. Wow! I must say I was surprised when I saw the title of this book pop up. Definitely way out of your reading norm. I’ve never read the book but I did see the movie of course. I enjoyed it but then again I like the gruesome stuff.

  2. I feel a bit surprised about this phrase “outside my comfort zone” popping up so often everywhere, and particularly in the education area. This advice to “think outside the box” and “go outside your comfort zone” I find quite useless and , in fact, rather patronizing. As if “being *in* your comfort zone” could be a bad thing, and as if you needed someone else to tell you when to go “outside”. Everyone knows exactly when (and if) one can/is able to/wants to go outside their comfort zone, and when it happens, the very process of “going outside” becomes a part of the comfort zone too.
    As for “to think outside the box”, I find it patronizing too : I feel it implies we generally “think inside the box” and need to be told to think “outside”. Well, willingly and forcefully trying hard to “think outside the box” makes the effort artificial and empty, I reckon.
    To me, reading is meeting someone. Either the author or the person who recommended the book to you. If the arguments as to why you should read the book were good enough for you, you won’t ask yourself whether or not the book belongs to your”comfort zone”.

    1. Hi Alice,

      I understand what you’re saying and I agree to a certain extent. I feel it’s human nature to exert oneself and try doing things you’re not comfortable with. When my friends heard that I was reading American Psycho they were surprised because this is not the type of book I normally read and they know how prone I am to nightmares. However, in this case I perhaps should have stuck with the genres I’m more comfortable with as I don’t think reading this book enriched my life in any way.

      Yes, “think outside the box” does sound slightly patronizing, I agree. There are plenty of people who are already doing so.

      Anyway, you’ve given me a lot of food for thought. Thanks Alice 🙂

  3. I…can’t bring myself to read anything by BEE. I really don’t like him much as a person (I followed him on Twitter for a bit and had to unfollow him–I couldn’t take it anymore), which has really turned me off from his books. It’s good to know that I’m not really missing anything.

    1. I read The Laws of Attraction when I was a lot younger and found it okay so I thought I’d give BEE another shot. Safe to say this is the last book of his I plan on reading! I heard about his awful behaviour on Twitter, especially regarding the author who passed away whose name I can’t recall.

      1. David Foster Wallace. He’s always putting down DFW (who is one of my favorites), and it comes across as bitter jealousy. It’s ridiculous. He’s such a whiner.

      2. Yes, DFW. I’ve heard great things about him and I plan on reading his essays and one of his novels this Summer. BEE’s writing style is all about shock value, I don’t see any brilliance in it whatsoever.

  4. You are right, Rowena, it’s only human to try things one is not comfortable with : my point is “why make a public announcement of it ? and moreover, why are there so many people telling us to do so, that is my question.
    I forgot to say that I Iike your writing style very much : it’s precise, elegant and simple.

  5. Ha! When I did the 30-day Book challenge two years back, this was one of my “Books that made me sick”. I could not finish it either. I admire you for attempting it again and finishing it. Because I won’t. 😛

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