Set in Manhattan during the Wall Street boom of the late 1980s, American Psycho is about the daily life of wealthy young investment banker Patrick Bateman. Bateman, in his late 20s when the story begins, narrates his everyday activities, from his recreational life among the Wall Street elite of New York to his forays into murder by nightfall. Through present tense stream-of-consciousness narrative, Bateman describes his daily life, ranging from a series of Friday nights spent at nightclubs with his colleagues — where they snort cocaine, critique fellow club-goers’ clothing, trade fashion advice, and question one another on proper etiquette — to his loveless engagement to fellow yuppie Evelyn and his contentious relationship with his brother and senile mother. Bateman’s stream of consciousness is occasionally broken up by chapters in which he directly addresses the reader in order to critique the work of 1980s Pop music artists. The novel maintains a high level of ambiguity through such devices as mistaken identity, and contradictions which introduce the possibility that Bateman is an unreliable narrator. Characters are consistently introduced as other people, people argue over the identities of others they can see in restaurants or at parties. Whether any of the crimes depicted in the novel actually happened, or were simply the fantasies of a delusional psychotic, is deliberately left open.
Bateman comes from a privileged background; he works as a vice president at a Wall Street investment company and lives in an expensive Manhattan apartment on the Upper West Side, where he embodies the 1980s yuppie culture. As Bateman describes his day-to-day activities, the mundane details become interspersed with descriptions of brutal murders he carries out in secret. After killing one of his colleagues, Paul Owen, one evening, Bateman appropriates his apartment as a place to kill and store more victims. In addition to describing his daily life, Bateman also details his sexual relationships. He is dating a fellow yuppie named Evelyn, though he possesses no deep feelings for her. He frequently solicits sex with attractive women, whom he refers to as “hardbodies.” Bateman also documents his interactions with his estranged family, specifically his mother and his brother, Sean Bateman, who is a main character in Ellis’s The Rules of Attraction.
Bateman’s control over his violent urges deteriorates. The description of his murders become increasingly sadistic and complex, progressing from stabbings to drawn out sequences of torture, rape, mutilation, cannibalism, and necrophilia, and the separation between his two lives begins to blur. He introduces stories about serial killers into casual conversations, and on several occasions openly confesses his murderous activities to his co-workers, who never take him seriously, do not hear what he says, or misunderstand him completely, hearing the words “murders and executions” as “mergers and acquisitions”, for example. Bateman begins to experience bizarre hallucinations such as seeing a Cheerio interviewed on a talk show, being stalked by an anthropomorphic park bench, and finding a bone in his Dove Bar. These incidents culminate in a shooting spree during which he kills several random people in the street resulting in a SWAT team being dispatched in a helicopter. Bateman flees on foot and hides in his office, where he phones his attorney, Harold Carnes, and confesses all of his crimes to the answering machine.
Later, Bateman confronts Carnes about the message only to find Carnes is amused at what he considers to be a good joke. Carnes tells Bateman that he is too much of a coward to have committed such acts and claims that he had dinner in London with Paul Owen a few days previously. Bateman re-visits the murdered Paul Owen’s apartment, where he had killed and mutilated two prostitutes. Bateman enters the perfectly clean, refurbished apartment which shows no trace of decomposing bodies, but is filled with strong-smelling flowers, as though meant to hide a bad odor. He runs into a real estate agent showing the apartment to prospective buyers, and who appears suspicious of Bateman.
The book ends as it began, with Bateman and his colleagues in a club on a Friday night, engaging in mundane conversation. Bateman comes to the conclusion that he is proud of who he is, but fails when he attempts to articulate why.
The above taken from Wikipedia
I rate this book, on a scale of 1-10, a 5/10. The way Ellis describes Bateman’s murders is so in depth and disturbing, but that is not why I ranked this book so low. The only time I was genuinely interested in the book was when he was killing someone. I don’t like this book because of how boring the majority of the book is. I understand that it is supposed to show that everyone looks the same and a upper class man like Bateman could get away with murder so easily, but i learned that in the first couple of chapters. Ellis didn’t need to make so many chapters about what they did on this night and with who. In short I felt like screaming, “Kill somebody already!!!!”. But then again a lot of people liked the book and this is only my opinion, but it is an opinion I fell very strong about.
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