Sunday, February 24, 2013

Coffee Talk Feb 23rd 2013

I wanted to bring up the topic of American Psycho.  (which I covered the movie version here )
And basically, everything I said in that post about the movie, times that by 50 and you have what I think about the book.

You might remember back in early January, that I mentioned it was the selection for this month for book-movie club. One of the reasons it was chosen was because the movie has become a cult classic, even though the original book was said to be controversial.

I wanted to know what could have been in the book to make it so controversial?  Well, I've read the book, and now I know.

If you've seen the movie then you know it's packed with dark humour, the script is witty and the notes it hits are perfect to describe the metaphor of trying to keep up with the greed and shallowness that society hit back in the 1980s.  In the movie, the horror is there but it's not as in your face as it is in the book.
Not too mention, the movie can feel disjointed at times, but still flows in a way that makes sense. Although the movie is laid out in a slightly different order then the original book.

The book, is ten times more graphic in everything, from the sex scenes, to the murders, to the way the lead character describes everything his buddies and he are wearing. The grotesque and the mundane are equally important to the lead character. (like when he can not find a particular movie at the rental store then freaks out when he can not see what kind of shoes the sales person is wearing from where he is standing)
I'm actually left wondering if the character of Patrick Bateman is really a psycho killer or just a plan old junkie having drug induced nightmares?  You're witness to more then a few moments of pure madness, which seem to happen when his routine is disrupted (work out for two hours, watch his favourite show, pull money out of the bank machine, then go for dinner and drinks every day) or when he simply can not find something to keep him distracted. (Bateman and his buddies are constantly trying to score drugs) The sex and the drugs seem to keep him normal, and when they are removed he has a meltdown and goes on a killing spree.

There is a weird balance to this book as well.  Half this book is a strange nightmare induced horror story and half this book is like a memoir of a socialite.  Roughly the first 100 pages is filled with three (I think was what I counted) men who do nothing but talk about the women they are sleeping with, the food they are eating and the clothes they are wearing. It literally plays like a male version of Sex and the City for the first 100 pages, then the hard core stuff begins.

There is one chapter that I found particularly jarring.  And not because of any of the violence either, but from the simple fact the author goes from the first person to the third person for a few paragraphs. (I'm still not sure if that was a mistake no one's ever caught or if it was on purpose to really make you understand what the character is doing is "real" compared to the rest of the novel which is "all in his head" ?)
Like the movie version, you are left at the end wondering what the end really means. Did he do it all? Was it in his head?  Is he even really Patrick Bateman or one of the many guys people mistake him for through the book?

All in all, this is a good book. There were moments when I wondered how certain things got into print, but mostly it was brilliantly written.
For me, what I got out of it was the feeling of complete isolation, loneliness, insecurity, and boredom of the lead character.  A sort of backwards shot at feminism, and an unclouded fear of "they're not like us" that more then bordered on racism (which you could point out at times Dracula and Frankenstein both had)

If you are not easily offended, this is a book you should give a chance.

*Note- Yes the post date is 24th Feb, and the post title is the 23rd.  It took me nearly 45minutes to write the post*

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