Today I want to talk about the novel “American Psycho” which was published in 1991. It was written by the acclaimed Bret Easton Ellis who is said to be “Catcher in the Rye for the MTV Generation”. In 2000 the book was turned into a movie starring Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman.
The diary-like written story follows the life of Patrick Bateman, a handsome and succesful young man. That’s what he appears to be on the surface. Throughout the book we learn that he is nothing less than a psychopath. He reports how he kills several women and homeless people, how he maltreat animals.
As you can see there is not much of a story here. This is my first problem. There doesn’t seem to be a plot that moves forward, no climax, there simply is no point. I guess the comparison with “Catcher int he Rye” fits really
well. Moreover, I don’t get along with Bret Easton Ellis’ style. For example whenever Bateman meets somebody he gives very detailed information about what the person wears. I am aware that this is supposed to show how shallow the protagonist is but for the reader it’s just extremely frustrating. If Bateman encounters a group of people, you get a page of clothing description. Sometimes it feels like half of the book is nothing but a list of designer clothing.
However, another point is the extreme violence pictured throughout the novel. These descriptions are just as detailed as the others. Before you read the book you should be aware that very disgusting and violent things will be described. My problem here is that all of these very sick chapters seems to have no point. When you read a crime story there is sense in giving details about the crime itself and there is a moving forward in the story (it gets solved). But here it appears completely useless as there is no real plotline, no real middle, beginning or end. It’s just violence for violence’s sake.
A few months back I read another book by Bret Easton Ellis and wasn’t to fond of it either. I guess I’ll just never be friends with his writing style.