”…there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I am simply not there.”
I have no idea how to verbalise the fact that this has become a new favourite book of mine, because I absolutely love it, but I don’t want people to think I’m a maniac… I wasn’t expecting to not love this, I mean the film is one of my favourites, so I was really looking forward to giving this a read, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I do! I feel all kinds of wrong being so amazed by this book but I can’t help it. It’s funny, it’s dark, it’s brutal, it’s shocking and it’s eye opening.
So, Patrick Bateman, our one and only POV of this story. Batemen is a young, middle class, good looking, sophisticated and intelligent stockbroker. He’s charming and arrogant, but he’s also an ax and knife and nail gun wielding mad man.
But he’s also a total goofy dork! – ”I’m clam, I mean calm,” I say, breathing in hard, trying to smile” . Bateman can’t get a grip on himself at all. Not only does he have moments where he’s running around Manhattan screaming like a banshee, sweating profusely, and having, what can only be described as, a mental breakdown, but he’s also just a mess at all times. He’s constantly getting himself in a tizz, experiencing panic attacks all over the place. I mean he started talking about the ozone layer and then instantly told a couple of knock knock jokes, that’s not smooth Bateman. This constant goofiness of Bateman is what makes this book so funny for me. Ellis is excellent at adding this clumsy human characteristic to an otherwise robotic man.
Bateman is troubled, in more ways than one. Not only is he a serial killer but he’s also an outsider and he knows it. ”Because,” I say, staring directly at her, “I… want… to… fit…. in.” This is why he’s always trying so hard to impress people, and why he’s obsessed with being the best.
Normally I hate when there are long paragraphs in books that simply list things about what a person is doing or wearing, for example in Maestra I couldn’t care less, but this excessive listing of things, unimportant materialist things, is such an important element of this book. These tiresome, obsessive lists give us such a clear insight, right from the start of the novel, into the incredibly paranoid, jealous and demented mind of Bateman. When we near the end of the novel Ellis does something absolutely mind blowing; he changes to third person. This sudden change on narrative has such a strong impact on the reader and is the perfect, perfect way of representing Patrick’s detachment to life.
Please, please, please do not read this book if you’re faint hearted or you’ve gone through some terrible things in your life. I don’t think this book needs specific trigger warnings, but in case you haven’t already guessed it, this book includes some very, very graphic and grotesque descriptions of torture, murder and rape. I think it’s quite hard to shock me, but this book made me wince and gasp quite often. I even had to put the book down briefly after reading some of the descriptions, breathe, and then get back to reading. It can be really tough on your imagination, that’s for sure. The rat scene… I mean I thought the scene with Bethany was bad but I had a whole other thing coming! It seriously worries me how well Ellis can describe this brutal torture. I could actually feel the bile rising in my throat when I was reading about the things Bateman did to Tiffany.
I’m not going to go in depth on the claim that this is a misogynistic book, all you need to know is that I don’t agree with that statement in the slightest. It’s a ridiculous notion, let’s not even think about how stupid it is, OK?
This book is definitely a new favourite of mine and I can feel it becoming one of those books I read over and over again. I’m so happy I finally sat down and read this, I don’t regret a moment of it, plus I got it for only £2.99. Thank you Ellis for this wonderful piece of literature, I hope your other novels bring me the same joy as this did.
P.S. Isn’t it funny how Donald Trump is mentioned in this book over and over and over… because Trump is the greatest example of everything this book represents.