Author: Bret Easton Ellis
Genre: Adult Horror, Psychological Thriller
I was a little at war with myself about this book. One of my main problems with it was the lack of substantial secondary characters but when I looked up interviews with the author, he mentioned that he purposefully wrote those characters like that because he didn’t want people to become attached to them, to warn us about the apathy consumerism has created of us. Now what should I think? The rest of my reading was basically like this.
The plot (not that there is much of one) follows a successful businessman named Pat Bateman. He’s kind of your quintessential wealthy bachelor. On the outside, he’s obsessed with materialism, constantly streaming out what people are eating or wearing; he hates women and homosexuals. As you continue reading, obviously, you realize on the inside, he’s a psycho, killing off people in detailed, graphic precision. The author attempts to convey the dangers of consumerism, how it makes us lack empathy for our fellow humans and how the oversaturation of this consumerism leads to lack of substantial emotional connection.
There are questions everyone asks when they see or hear about this book.
Is there really that much violence?
One scene involves a woman, a nail gun, a rat, Hailrail tube. And no, they were not separate murders.
I think one of the killing scenes lasted about 2 pages. 2 pages of graphic, violent mutilations. It makes me wonder, was that much violence necessary? I got your point in the first murder scene, no need to give me 5 more scenes of graphic violence that’s oh so shocking *sarcasm*
Is the book misogynistic?
Mmmm…up for debate but I really have to wonder what really is the point of making your main character misogynistic. What does that have to do with the story? The author tells me he kills women so graphically because it fascinates him but the deaths are also meaningless to him. If it’s so meaningless, why are only women killed?
Is it funny?
Actually yeah..it’s a dark kind of humor that’s hard to explain but it’s there.
Ultimately, I gave it a 2 stars because I felt like it wasn’t as nuanced as it thought it was. And the themes that the author tried to convey to me did not have to be repeated to me over and over and over again. I felt like he could have written in a way that had more impact since he clearly wanted to get something across. The writing followed the same pattern of listing off materials people were consuming
When you ask someone who has read this book what they got out of it, I feel like the first thing they would say is the violent scenes and that’s a shame because I felt like this book would have had a lot to offer had it not had so much fun repeating itself to me which ultimately made it kind of boring in fact. Maybe it would have been better off as a short story.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?