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American Psycho

Neelam Sharma
Author: Bret Easton Ellis


Welcome to our in-depth book review of “American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis. This cult classic novel, published in 1991, takes readers on a dark and unsettling journey through the twisted mind of Patrick Bateman, a wealthy investment banker and psychopathic killer.

Book Summary

“American Psycho” follows the life of Patrick Bateman, an outwardly successful and handsome Wall Street investment banker. Beneath his polished facade, however, lies a deeply disturbed individual whose perverse desires and sadistic fantasies drive him to commit heinous acts of violence against those around him. Set in the materialistic and superficial world of 1980s Manhattan, the novel examines the excesses of consumer culture, exploring themes of identity, narcissism, and the dehumanizing effects of capitalism.


Bret Easton Ellis’s “American Psycho” is a shocking and unsettling exploration of the dark side of human nature, wrapped within the glossy veneer of the American Dream. From the opening pages, Ellis immerses readers in a world saturated with wealth, power, and superficiality, creating a chilling backdrop against which Patrick Bateman’s descent into madness unfolds.

One of the most captivating aspects of “American Psycho” is Ellis’s writing style, which deftly blends dark humour and graphic violence. His prose is sharp, detailed, and unapologetically graphic, leaving little to the imagination. Through this vivid and often disturbing imagery, Ellis forces readers to confront the brutal reality that lies beneath the polished surface of society. The juxtaposition of gruesome violence with Bateman’s meticulous descriptions of fashion, music, and popular culture creates an unsettling dissonance, reflecting the emptiness and moral decay that permeate his world.

The character of Patrick Bateman is a chilling embodiment of the psychopathic tendencies that can lurk beneath even the most charismatic and seemingly successful individuals. Bateman’s obsessive attention to physical appearance, status symbols, and meticulous grooming routines highlights the shallow nature of his existence. However, beneath the mask of a successful businessman, Bateman’s sadistic urges and violent fantasies emerge, blurring the line between reality and his own disturbed imagination.

Ellis delves deep into the psyche of his protagonist, exploring the root causes of Bateman’s descent into madness. By portraying Bateman’s childhood, relationships, and inner turmoil, the author raises thought-provoking questions about the impact of societal pressures, materialism, and a culture that places immense value on appearance and status. The character’s inner monologues, filled with narcissism, self-obsession, and a complete lack of empathy, force readers to confront uncomfortable truths about the potential for evil that resides within all of us.

In addition to its exploration of the individual psyche, “American Psycho” offers a scathing critique of the excesses of 1980s consumer culture. Ellis’s meticulous descriptions of designer brands, trendy restaurants, and the obsessive pursuit of material possessions lay bare the hollowness of a society fixated on appearances. Through Bateman’s encounters with his equally shallow and amoral peers, the author exposes the moral bankruptcy that underpins the world of high finance, where human lives are reduced to commodities to be exploited or discarded.

“American Psycho” is not a book for the faint of heart or those easily disturbed by explicit violence. Ellis’s unflinching portrayal of Bateman’s sadistic acts is meant to shock and provoke, and it undoubtedly succeeds in doing so. However, beneath the graphic surface lies a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition and the corrupting influence of unchecked desire. The novel challenges readers to question their own complicity in a culture that prioritizes material wealth and self-gratification at the expense of genuine human connection and empathy.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

Bret Easton Ellis’s “American Psycho” is a harrowing journey into the heart of darkness, exploring the destructive forces of materialism, narcissism, and unchecked desire. With its sharp prose and unapologetic portrayal of violence, the novel forces readers to confront uncomfortable truths about society and themselves.

If you enjoyed the dark and unsettling nature of “American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis, here are some other books that explore similar themes of violence, psychological turmoil, and the dark underbelly of society:

  1. Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk: This cult classic delves into the world of an underground fight club and explores themes of masculinity, consumerism, and identity crisis, much like “American Psycho.”
  2. Less Than Zero” by Bret Easton Ellis: Written by the same author, this novel captures the decadence, apathy, and moral vacuum of the 1980s Los Angeles scene. It showcases a similar exploration of superficiality and nihilism.
  3. American Tabloid” by James Ellroy: Set against the backdrop of the Kennedy assassination, this gripping thriller delves into the dark underbelly of American politics, corruption, and violence, painting a portrait of a society on the brink of collapse.
  4. Invisible Monsters” by Chuck Palahniuk: This provocative and twisted novel follows a disfigured protagonist who becomes entangled in a chaotic world of fashion, identity, and self-destruction. It explores themes of image obsession and the masks we wear in society.
  5. Lunar Park” by Bret Easton Ellis: Blurring the lines between reality and fiction, this novel combines elements of horror and memoir. It follows a fictionalized version of Bret Easton Ellis himself, delving into themes of identity, celebrity, and the haunting consequences of past actions.
  6. American Gods” by Neil Gaiman: This dark fantasy novel combines mythology, Americana, and a deep exploration of the shifting nature of belief and the power of gods. It offers a thought-provoking examination of the clash between ancient deities and modern society.
  7. The Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris: A thrilling psychological horror novel featuring the iconic character of Dr Hannibal Lecter. It explores the cat-and-mouse relationship between a young FBI trainee and a brilliant but deranged cannibalistic psychiatrist.
  8. We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver: This gripping and unsettling novel revolves around the complex relationship between a mother and her troubled son. It explores themes of nature versus nurture, the limits of parental love, and the consequences of violence.

These books, like “American Psycho,” push boundaries, challenge societal norms, and invite readers into the dark recesses of the human mind. Prepare for intense, thought-provoking journeys that delve into the disturbing aspects of human nature and the complexities of contemporary society.

So, I hope you guys liked my book review of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

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