Tag Archives: american psycho

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (unabridged audiobook read by Pablo Schreiber; 16.5 hrs on 14 discs): Patrick Bateman is a Wall Street yuppie in the late 1980s. He is also a brutal serial killer. There are several recurring themes here (and when I say recurring, I mean it is mentioned at least thirty times): returning video tapes, the Patty Winters Show, deciding where to have dinner, cocaine, all yuppie men are interchangeable and everyone is constantly mistaken for everybody else, women are clueless and needy, tanning, going to the gym, alcohol, decaffeinated espresso (I know – what?), excessive luxury, and brand names, brand names, brand names. I cannot stress that last one enough: Bateman describes every single person’s outfit by brand name and sometimes even the department store where it was purchased. There are scenes of extremely graphic sex, usually followed by scenes of extremely graphic violence. I’m not a very sensitive person, but there were a few times when I was seriously worried about losing my lunch. Now, there are some amusing bits. I kind of liked the overly dramatic business card comparison. The random chapters of musical critique (Whitney Houston, Huey Lewis & the News, and Genesis) were interesting but I haven’t a clue why they were included (though in the movie they are used as lectures while killing people, which is actually kind of funny). My main issue with this book is that absolutely nothing happens. Seriously: the same thing happens chapter after chapter after chapter and there is no progression of plot, no change in any of the characters. This could have been a short story and still gotten its point across. A waste of time.

A note on the audio: Schreiber was excellent. The book, not so much. I’ve never wished I could skim an audiobook more than this one.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

American Psycho

American Psycho (unrated version): This movie was described to me as a film that you laugh at, then feel bad for laughing. The story is carried entirely by Christian Bale, a 1980s executive with homicidal tendencies. His over-the-top pretension and metrosexuality are funny, as are his absurdly detailed lectures about popular music, which are only spouted just before he brutally murders someone.

Did I laugh? In parts, though not as much as my fellow audience members. Bale pulled off the psycho yuppie role well. Unfortunately, every one else in the cast was pretty uninteresting, just so much scenery. Which may have been how it was meant, but I still felt a nagging disappointment in the underuse of people like Willem Dafoe as the detective. To top it all off, the ending leaves you with a “what in God’s name just happened here?” feeling, which I personally find unsatisfying. I don’t mind being confused throughout the story, but if things don’t get tied up at the end I leave with a lingering doubt, wondering if I just wasted two hours of my life.

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