Ooph, this one was a doozy!
Most of you have probably heard of this book because of the movie adaptation starring Christian Bale.
The other half might be confusing it with the Hitchcock film, Psycho. They are not the same thing. Do not make the same mistake I did.
Like a lot of books I have reviewed so far, the only reason I read this particular novel was because of a class I took at undergrad. The class was called Contemporary Extremes, and I gobbled this book up. I finished it in two days, prompting my lecturer to stare at me as if I was some sort of alien. He told me he’d never met anybody who could stomach reading this book so quickly.
What he doesn’t know is that I don’t actually have a stomach of steel. I just pushed all the queasy feelings away because I was so into the book.
Warning: this book is not for the faint of heart. Do not read this book while eating.
So Patrick Bateman is this Wall Street business man who has his own office, only wears the best clothes and only does the best blow in the classiest clubs in New York. Patrick lives the perfect life.
Patrick is also a psychopath if there ever was one.
Holy shit Patrick is insane. He has no concept of what it means to be considerate to other’s feelings (so I guess that also makes him a sociopath?). He goes on regular killing sprees where he just straight up murders random people in such a methodical and professional way, the guy could make a living as a hit man. He’s obsessed with everything being perfect and clean, and he boasts and incredible eye for detail. So much detail that he can tell you exactly what anyone is wearing – how much it cost, where they got it from, when it was in fashion, and how relevant it is at that particular moment.
The problem is that the way Patrick talks about clothes and material objects – cars, cigars, CDs, wine, business cards – is actually a dead give away to his mental disorder. Patrick doesn’t understand that everyone else around him is just as real as he is. He’s so entrenched in a material world that his entire reality seems fabricated, like he could very well be the only person existing and everyone around him simply exists to satisfy his needs (read up on Solipsism if you have no idea what I’m talking about). Patrick murders people because, to him, they’re not even real enough to deserve being alive. They’re just occupying an empty spot in his brain, one that he can very easily replace.
So how does nobody else around him realize that he’s actually certifiably insane?
Because everybody else around him is just as bad.
Patrick is part of an upper class society where the only thing that matters is material objects. Patrick frequently forgets his colleagues names, mixing them up for each other, and they do the same to him. Patrick frequently pays attention to just his colleagues clothes and how much money they spent on lunch, rather than what they actually look like. And when Patrick kills somebody, nobody actually really notices, because they’re not even sure who everyone around them is.
At risk of spoiling the novel, it’s actually a really surprisingly, philosophically provoking read. It puts you in the mindset of a person who is questioning his reality, and has no way of escaping a hell he’s put himself in. As far as he knows, he’s not real, and nothing around him is either, but he has no way of getting out of it.
All in all, this book is a stunningly amazing read which, I emphasize again, should not be read while eating. I can’t wait to read more by Ellis, and I can’t wait to reread this book. Even if I can’t eat lasagna without wanting to heave a little bit anymore.
Final rating: 5 stars for the psychotic young millionaire.
Quotes I Liked: